Celebrating Trail Communities

A.T. Community Spotlight: Round Hill, Virginia

Round Hill, Virginia officially became a designated Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Community™ in 2018. In the five years since then, Round Hill has remained committed to its mission despite challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. As an A.T. Community™, Round Hill aims is to encourage people of all ages to get outdoors, instill awe and appreciation for the beautiful natural resource that surrounds the community, and inspire environmental stewardship. This A.T. Community™ Spotlight highlights Round Hill’s resilience and creativity as it continues fostering a love for the outdoors among members of the fast-growing community.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Round Hill, like countless other communities, faced the challenge of delayed festivals and community hikes. However, Round Hill remained committed to its mission and continued providing educational opportunities to the community, sharing the importance of the outdoors even when gathering together was impossible.

Round Hill encouraged “screen-free” days and weekends for local young people and created community gardens to foster a sense of togetherness even in isolating times. When group activities became safe again, town representatives developed and promoted a series of community hikes, which increased access to the A.T. and brought more awareness to the physical, mental, and social benefits the Trail can provide for members of the community.

Round Hill residents enjoy the 2022 A.T. Festival. Photo by Dan Innamorato

Over the past several years, Round Hill’s population has bloomed as more people leave larger cities in search of communities where they can be closer to outdoor recreation areas. With more residents and more interest in the outdoors, Round Hill’s events and festivals have also drawn increasingly large numbers of attendees.

The annual Appalachian Trail Festival, an event with the aim of inspiring and educating visitors and community members about Trail stewardship, has grown significantly since Round Hill became a designated A.T. Community™. Round Hill’s Appalachian Trail Festival now welcomes over 1,000 visitors who gather to celebrate the A.T., Round Hill’s green spaces, and the organizations that support them.

Round Hill residents enjoy the Art Festival

Photo by Dan Innamorato

Student poses for a photo next to original artwork

Photo by Jody Brady

Round Hill also hosts the Appalachian Trail Art Show, an event where artists of all ages and skill levels can submit works of art influenced by the A.T. and their time in the outdoors. As part of the Art Show, Round Hill partners with the local elementary and high schools with art and education initiatives, planting the seeds of stewardship and activism among younger community members.

In the next decade, Round Hill hopes to inspire even more volunteers, trail clubs, families, and young people to spend time outdoors and care for the Trail. Town representatives also hope to encourage surrounding communities to participate in the effort as well, inspiring others through their dedication to environmental stewardship. Prioritizing conservation and stewardship offers protection and preservation of outdoor spaces for generations to come, and communities like Round Hill can be leaders in instilling a conservation ethic among residents.

The A.T. Community™ Program is proud to feature Round Hill, Virginia, and is grateful for its vision, dedication, and hard work over the past five years. We can all support them by giving Round Hill a visit and a shout-out on social media. Also, be sure to visit Round Hill’s website and learn more about their community, programs, and events.

Learn more about the A.T. Community™ program.

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