Proactive Protection Icon

proactive protection

ATC advocates for broader protection of the natural and cultural resources within the A.T. corridor and adjacent landscapes.

I. Outcome: Priority adjacent landscapes are identified and plans to protect them are developed and implemented.

Strategies:

  1. Identify and prioritize by region adjacent landscapes along the Trail where ATC will focus on landscape conservation and create media and public education campaigns to support landscape‐level protection strategies.
  2. Seek additional funding for landscape conservation strategies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other sources.
  3. Forge new partnerships with land conservation organizations and government agencies that share our vision for protected A.T. landscapes.

II. Outcome:
High priority threats to the natural and cultural resources along the A.T. and within the A.T. corridor and adjacent landscapes are effectively mitigated or prevented.

Strategies:

  1. ATC, APPA, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation coordinate efforts with state historic preservation offices to consider and evaluate National Register designation for the Trail to enhance protection of cultural resources and cultural landscapes.
  2. ATC uses its environmental research and monitoring programs as the basis for protecting biodiversity and improving the effectiveness of natural resource management for the Trail.
  3. ATC and its key partners identify specific priority Trail protection campaigns in each of its four regions to address major resource threats from proposed energy projects, new or expanded transmission line corridors, communication infrastructure, commercial or residential development, highway construction and hiker use of the Trail.
  4. ATC collaborates with key partners to leverage available corridor science data to achieve a better understanding of climate change impacts along the Trail corridor and to support the development of more effective national policies that address climate change.
  5. ATC works closely with the Partnership for the National Trails System to address major threats to the A.T. and to advocate for Land and Water Conservation Fund money to expand protection of the existing Trail corridor.


Accomplishments in 2015

In 2015, the ATC scaled up landscape conservation for the Trail. We hired a director of landscape conservation and hosted the first annual A.T. Landscape Conservation workshop — nearly 70 participants attended, representing large and small conservation organizations, and federal and state agencies.

The ATC, the National Park Service, and its partners are working on important conservation issues across the landscape from Georgia to Maine. We are creating leverage by building a bigger umbrella for our partners to operate under, fostering more collaboration and funding to secure lands and work with communities surrounding the Trail. This network — working under the A.T. Landscape initiative — will be supported by the ATC to expand successful landscape protection in priority areas.

Natural Resource management efforts continued to grow. invasive species management increased by way of many club projects, four visits from the traveling National Park Service Exotic Plant Management Teams, and the A.T. Garlic Mustard Challenge which engaged over 170 volunteers and 19 clubs and partner organizations. Protection of Rare, Threatened and Endangered (RTE) species along the Trail continued to be a priority, with 88 populations visited and monitored by volunteers. Four new restoration projects were initiated and two were continued this past year in order to restore and preserve critical RTE habitats. In addition, we managed 343 acres of grasslands/early successional areas that offer unique recreational value as well as important habitat for significant species such as golden winged warblers, bobolinks, and other bird species of concern.

Conservation staff spent a good deal of time reviewing and engaging with proposed energy infrastructure projects. Our primary concern with natural gas pipelines, expanded transmission lines, and industrial wind development are the habitat fragmentation caused by these large projects, and the potential visual impacts from viewpoints along the Trail. We are tracking 10 pipelines and have submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on four proposed pipelines. In addition, we supported an updated wind energy law in Maine that would afford more protection to scenic resources of the Trail.

The ATC’s advocacy work also included lobbying for Land and Water Conservation Fund projects. Approximately $1.2 million was appropriated in the 2016 federal budget to secure a 163-acre A.T. tract in North Carolina.​