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May 18, 2021


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Partners from the entire network of A.T. Communities™, Georgia to Maine, are invited to join us for a virtual lunchtime meeting to share resources, discuss trends, and catch up with all things A.T. Click the link below to register and receive the Zoom link via email.

  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Updates: Youth Summit, equity maps, upcoming designations
  3. Donny Leadbetter, National Parks Service: Tourism Trends 
  4. Jessica Schottanes: A.T. Communities Masters Thesis
  5. General Q&A 

Our Speakers:

Donald Leadbetter

Donald Leadbetter is the Tourism Program Manager for the National Park Service (NPS), where he coordinates engagement with the travel and tourism sector and facilitates collaboration in support of destination management and responsible tourism that benefits parks, visitors, and communities. In addition to providing external coordination and representation of the NPS at tourism industry forums, trade shows, and meetings, he collaborates with program areas throughout the agency to support tourism-related planning and management in alignment with the mission of the NPS.

Prior to joining the NPS, Donald spent a decade working on the front lines of the travel and tourism sector, from guiding small group camping trips around the country to crewing on expedition cruise ships around the world. Donald earned a master’s degree in tourism administration from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Memphis. His favorite site in the national park system is Virgin Islands National Park.

Jessica Schottanes

Mountains have been a recurrent thread throughout Jessica Schottanes’s life, even more, the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) throughout her graduate career. On September 2nd, 2018, she trekked up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Mount Washington’s peak, and just six months later, Schottanes found herself studying the A.T.’s regional planning roots for her master’s thesis. She recently graduated from Yestermorrow Design/Build School in December 2020 and from the University of Massachusetts (UMass), Amherst, with a Dual Master of Science in Geography and Master of Regional Planning degree in May 2021. She hopes to continue growing as a mountain cartographer, designer, and planner as she enters the professional world!