The Appalachian Trail is a beloved American icon, but the trail faces continual threats and needs constant attention to conserve its beautiful vistas, cultural landmarks, and rare and endangered species for future generations. Georgia Appalachian Trail Club participates in the following conservation initiatives to help preserve the trail for generations to come.
Public Participation in Proposed Actions
Georgia Appalachian Trail Club systematically monitors proposed Forest Service projects and Special Use Permits issues to determine if they will impact any of the followings areas of concern. All responses submitted to the Forest Service are maintained on file for future reference.
- The Appalachian Trail or any recognized and maintained side trails
- The Appalachian Trail experience
- Other hiking trails and areas in the national forest that GATC members may frequent
- Issues of general concern to the hiking community’s use of the national forest.
Monitoring Incompatible Uses
The Appalachian Trail in Georgia is a hiking only trail. Activities such as bicycling, horseback riding and off road vehicle operation on the trail are prohibited. These incompatible activities do occur from time to time. Section overseers are asked to be observant of incompatible uses, or the evidence of those. If seen, they are asked to report findings, which are passed on to the Forest Service who has the only legal authority in these matters.
With the onset of hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA) infestation in areas through which the AT in Georgia passes, GATC has undertaken two associated environmental projects to monitor the effects of these aphid-like invasive insects.
Several GATC members are monitoring selected hemlocks for the spread of the HWA infestation, and the effects of biological and chemical suppression efforts. This is in cooperation with the Forest Service and Clemson University. Results are reported back to Clemson who uses them to advise the Forest service on their suppression treatment strategy.
Water Quality Monitoring
GATC has established sites on each of Chester and Stover Creeks flowing through an HWA infested hemlock forests to monitor water biological, chemical and physical quality in accordance with Georgia Adopt A Stream (AAS) protocol. The Goal is to establish a baseline of data and observe the impact of HWA infestation on the streams. Data collected is posted at Georgia Adopt-a-Stream.
The water quality and HWA monitoring qualifies GATC as a partner in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s MEGA Transect program.