Grants Awarded to Support A.T. Community Projects
March 12, 2021
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Announces Recipients of $493,100 in Community Impact Grants
HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (March 12, 2021) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) today announced eight recipients as part of its Community Impact Grant program, distributing a total of $493,100 to help nonprofits promote environmental education, expand outdoor engagement and support economic viability throughout Southwestern Virginia and Southeastern West Virginia. These organizations will utilize the awarded funds to reinforce local conservation and recreational tourism efforts, introduce underserved youth to outdoor recreation and conservation opportunities, and expand educational programs covering the science, history and culture of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), its surrounding landscapes and Trailside communities.
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to support these organizations in the inspiring work they will accomplish,” said Sandra Marra, president and CEO of the ATC. “Programs like these are essential in connecting people to nature and the various values and benefits found outdoors. They introduce new audiences to the benefits of outdoor recreation and help recruit a new generation of nature lovers and conservationists dedicated to protecting our public lands.”
The Community Impact Grant program will support the following organizations and programs:
- Giles County ($300,000): Funds will be used to develop the Giles County Trail Center near Mountain Lake, providing an information source for local trails, designated parking and restroom facilities, and access to the A.T., Mountain Lake trails and Bald Knob, the tallest point in Giles County.
- Friends of Monroe County ($43,100): Funds will lead to the development and publication of a Monroe County visitor’s guide, and the hiring of two AmeriCorps interns who will assist in historic preservation, capacity building and cultural heritage tourism, which will help boost local outdoor recreation economies.
- Roanoke Parks and Recreation ($20,000): Funds will support a year-long Outdoor Adventure Club for underserved urban youth, introducing them to hiking, camping, rock climbing, caving, paddling, skiing and conservation projects; and will provide the bikes, helmets, mobile features and maintenance supplies needed to continue a mountain bike education program for the next five years.
- The Humble Hustle Company, Inc ($40,000): Funds will create a new part-time position that will support the Company’s mission to empower black youth and connect diverse communities, engaging youth in the greater Roanoke area in environmental education, activism and environment-based service opportunities.
- Wonder Universe: A Children’s Museum ($40,000): Funds will assist in educating children on the flora and fauna found on the Trail, and introduce signage and markers for responsible exploration, A.T. history and lore, and environmental stewardship on the A.T.
- Mountain Lake Biological Station ($11,000): Funds will design and construct a publicly accessible, ADA-compliant, all-age appropriate interpretive trail and native plant restoration plot, which will highlight the natural history, land-use history, scientific research, and land management and conservation challenges of the area.
- Mountain Castles Soil & Water Conservation District ($16,000): Funds will be used to implement the Plant and Animal Relatives of the Blue Ridge Curriculum Project, which will help teachers demonstrate to students the interconnected web of ecological relationships and to foster a strong connection to place, including on the ancestral lands of the Monacan.
- The Mayapple School ($23,000): Funds will expand summer camp programming for 100-120 campers ages 3 to 15, including one overnight backpacking adventure on a section of the A.T.
The ATC Community Impact Grant program is made possible by the voluntary conservation agreement between the ATC, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC and The Conservation Fund. This agreement will provide up to $19.5 million in funds to advance the ATC’s work to manage and protect the A.T., help The Conservation Fund secure additional conservation lands for public use, and enhance Trail-related community economic development. To date, $10 million has been disbursed to further these goals, over $2 million of which has been utilized for the Community Impact Grant program and landscape protection efforts, including the permanent protection of iconic views from the Trail at McAfee Knob.
Additional grant recipients will be announced in the near future. For more information about the Community Impact Grant program and its recipients, visit appalachiantrail.org/community-impact-grants.
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 System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is 2,193.1 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. For more information, please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.