ATC Community Grant Advances Outdoor Recreation Economy in Giles County, Virginia
April 28, 2023
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is proud to support the tourism and outdoor recreation-based economies in southwestern Virginia, through the creation of the Giles County Trail Center. The ATC awarded a $300,000 community grant to Giles County, Va. for the development of the Center, for which a groundbreaking will be held on Friday, April 28, 2023. The ATC is the largest private funder of the project, which also received public support through an Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant.
The Center will be an information hub for trails and amenities in Giles County and serve as a gateway to access the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). It will also provide access to a new trail to Bald Knob – the highest point in the county. The Trail Center will provide parking, restrooms, and changing facilities for visitors from around the region seeking to take advantage of the many outdoor recreation opportunities available in the Blue Ridge Highlands.
“We are pleased to partner with Friends of Southwest Virginia, Giles County, and the Mountain Lake Conservancy and Lodge in supporting the development of the Giles County Trail Center,” said Sandi Marra, CEO and President of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “The ATC is dedicated to supporting recreation-based economies along the A.T., and is honored to be a part of this exciting project. The new trails and improved access to public lands will allow more people to experience all this area has to offer.”
Funding for this project was provided by the ATC Community Impact Grant program, made possible by the voluntary stewardship agreement between the ATC, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, and the Conservation Fund. This agreement provides up to $19.5 million in funds to advance the ATC’s work to manage and protect the A.T., secure critical conservation lands to enhance the Trail experience and support recreation-focused community development. The ATC has to date spent approximately $10 million to protect land around the A.T. and ensure healthy and resilient communities in Virginia and West Virginia.
Other community grant projects in the local area include funds to develop recreation facilities in the community of Newport, the support for tourism in Monroe County, WV and funding to permanently protect the Little Bluestone Community Forest in Summers County, WV.
For more information about the ATC’s land conservation work, please visit appalachiantrail.org/landscape.