by Sara Haxby, ATC Volunteer Program Manager

Updates from the Spring 2023 Stewardship Council Meeting

Start here to learn more about the Stewardship Council, if this is the first time you’ve heard about it.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan

National Park Service staff presented the P3 or Preliminary Project Planning in regards to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail’s Comprehensive Plan. P3 is a scoping exercise to determine whether the Comprehensive Plan requires updating, and if so, what parts should be updated or added. The P3 will take place in 2023 and the process will yield a document, which could be used to apply for funds to begin an update process for the Comprehensive Plan in a few years.  

Read the Comprehensive Plan.

Policy and Guidance Updates from Council Committees

The Partnership Coordinating Committee submitted the Standards of Care policy for a council vote. The Council approved the policy, which was presented to the Board of Directors for final approval. The policy relies on partner organizations (ATC and A.T. Clubs) to have their own Code of Conduct pertaining to volunteer conduct. Referenced in the policy and previously approved by Stewardship Council is the guidance document for partners to establish their own code of conduct. The ATC finalized its code of conduct for ATC-managed volunteers this year as a commitment to a clearly-communicated approach for inclusive program operations. The Standards of Care Policy affirms volunteer rights and responsibilities and provides avenues for grievance reporting. The next step is for the ATC’s Board of Directors to review the policy. 

The Trail Management Committee presented updates to the Overnight Site Planning and Design Guidance, and the related assessment tool. The Council approved the guidance, which applies when there is a major action needed at an overnight site or shelter, an opportunity to look at best practices of siting and design and prompt evaluation of the site before making a major investment. The assessment tool being developed will complement the guidance document, aiming to facilitate evaluation and discussion among partners.