Roanoke, VA (Jan. 22, 2015) – A record amount of funds generated from sales of the Virginia Appalachian Trail (A.T.) specialty license plate in 2014 have been applied to the protection and stewardship of the Trail in Virginia. The $45,000 generated enabled the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) to fund numerous projects including open area management in Shenandoah National Park, Trail construction projects with the Konnarock Trail Crew program, outreach to young people throughout the state, and the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club’s efforts to replace a critical bridge in Southwest Virginia.
“While it’s no silver bullet to the vast array of challenges facing the Appalachian Trail, license plate funds are a critical part of Trail stewardship and allow us to empower our volunteers and engage Virginia’s communities in protecting the Trail and the Trail experience,” said Andrew Downs, the ATC’s regional director. “Along with an Appalachian Trail Conservancy membership, owning an A.T. license plate is an excellent way to directly turn your contribution into improvements that can be seen first-hand on the Trail.”
“If you’d like to see license plate funds at work, visit the new sections of the Appalachian Trail at Thunder Ridge, or visit a meadow in Shenandoah National Park and see the great work the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is doing,” Downs continued.
Funds generated by the Virginia A.T. specialty license plate were applied to Trail projects by the ATC’s Regional Office in Roanoke in cooperation with a task force from the eight official Trail Maintaining Clubs designated in the state.
“The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club was quite delighted to receive funds that enabled the clearing of several large pastures that preserve the Appalachian Trail viewshed and that also assisted in reducing the spread of highly invasive vegetation,” said John Hedrick, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club president, emphasizing the critical support that the A.T. specialty license plate program provides to Trail maintaining clubs.
In addition to the A.T. specialty license plate in Virginia, plates are also available in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. Depending on the state, a portion of the cost of each plate (between $10 and $20) is returned to the ATC.
“I can’t overstate the importance of every hiker becoming a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and every member in Virginia proudly displaying an A.T. license plate,” said Downs. “This form of engagement will help ensure that the Appalachian Trail and its natural beauty will be around for our children to enjoy. It’s also a good-looking plate and a great way to make your support for the Trail visible—no wonder it’s gaining popularity!”
For more information about A.T. specialty license plates, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/plates.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park Service, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
Contact: Javier Folgar
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Email: [email protected]