Appalachian Trail Conservancy

We are the guardians of the A.T.

aka ATC   |   Harpers Ferry, WV   |  http://www.appalachiantrail.org

Mission

To preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.

Ruling year info

1950

President & CEO

Sandra Marra

Main address

799 Washington Street PO Box 807

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Appalachian Trail Conference

EIN

52-6046689

NTEE code info

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy works to nurture and protect the vast natural beauty and priceless cultural history of the Appalachian Trail through education and inspiration. We strive to create an ever-expanding community of doers and dreamers, and work to ensure that tomorrow’s generations will experience the same mesmerizing beauty we behold today.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

ATConservation

Our conservation work is focused on the protection and stewardship of land surrounding the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). This land base, spanning the Appalachian highland region from Georgia to Maine, connects significant state and federal lands. Running primarily along the ridgelines, Trail lands protect a migratory flyway and headwater streams for major East Coast watersheds. This protected area is one of the most significant greenways in the eastern United States.

Our conservation work is focused on identifying high priority tracts for permanent protection, working collaboratively with numerous conservation partners. We advocate funding for land protection and for best management practices to effectively steward these lands in perpetuity. We also play an important role as land managers, assisting with the natural resource management of corridor lands to ensure that the integrity of protected A.T. lands is upheld for future generations to experience and enjoy. We strive to base management decisions on sound science, and we work cooperatively with partners to develop our conservation approach.

Population(s) Served

ATCommunities informs the general public and neighboring communities about the Trail, its resources, and the challenges they face…heightening support for Trail-related conservation while realizing local benefits: open space, sustainable development, tourism, outdoor recreation, and residential health and fitness.  ATCommunities includes the Appalachian Trail Community program, launched 2010.  Inspired by participation in several regional "green infrastructure” assessments and planning projects along the Trail, the Appalachian Trail Community program is intended to stimulate Trail-friendly business development and zoning in gateway communities, many of which are in need of economic stimulus to replace defunct extractive industries while controlling the effects of sprawl incited by ex-urban migration to their scenic locations. 
 
Communities qualify for the program by undertaking at least two of the following four activities: 1) Form an Appalachian Trail Community steering committee; 2) Sponsor a trail festival or public event; 3) Sponsor a service-learning or education project for students; 4) include Trail-friendly language in planning documents.

Population(s) Served

ATCitizens extends ATC's ability to conserve and sustain the footpath, its system of shelters, and other facilities; engage volunteers and other organizations in our work; and promote healthful low-impact recreation along the Trail.  Components of ATCitizens include coordination of our 31 affiliated Trail Clubs, each of which oversees maintenance and other activities along a designated stretch of trail; ATC Ridgerunners and Caretakers, seasonal staff who live and work along high-use sections of the Trail, greeting visitors and teaching low-impact and backcountry ethics; Volunteer Trail Crews, week-long volunteer "SWAT" teams that address major construction and maintenance projects.  Volunteers may find volunteer opportunities online at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/get-involved/volunteer.

Population(s) Served

ATClassroom prepares today’s youth for tomorrow’s stewardship of the Trail by instilling a conservation ethic and comfort with natural spaces.  ATClassroom's primary program at this time is A Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC). Formally endorsed by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, TTEC is a year-round professional development program that trains K-12 teachers to use the Appalachian Trail as a multidisciplinary educational resource. By inviting teams of teachers and community partners from Trail communities to participate, TTEC promotes healthy lifestyles, service-learning, and a strong conservation ethic among a Trail-wide community of educators and students. The program also connects educators from underserved rural and urban areas to a 14-state network of teachers, ATC-affiliated trail club volunteers, and agency partners, including several National Park units, for curriculum support. At present, this popular program has a considerable wait list.
Each year fifty educators attend two three-day regional workshops and a week-long summer institute for the entire TTEC "class” at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Mini-grants for curriculum implementation, a designated website and blog, and alumni fellowships support this lively network. Testimonials abound from teachers who have imaginatively infused Trail-based natural history and science into every subject from special education to English. TTEC projects have been enormously varied, ranging from MEGA-Transect field studies or trail maintenance projects to students forming outdoor clubs, getting their families out on the Trail, or even developing bilingual "quests,” scavenger hunts to engage Spanish-speaking neighbors in Trail activities. Results of TTEC’s annual independent evaluation are posted at the Place-Based Education Evaluation Collaboration website (www.peecworks. org).

Population(s) Served

ATCauses protects the Trail by educating the public and government decision makers about its importance to the region’s human and environmental health. Advocacy along the Trail is a never-ending challenge, and the importance of our regional offices in identifying and mitigating local threats remains constant. At any given time, ATC is engaged in as many as 40 issues involving potential adverse affects on trail lands, ranging from highway expansions to second-home and commercial development, wireless-communications facilities, poorly placed wind-energy projects, electric- and gas-transmission corridors, etc. 
ATC continues to participate in review and comment on a range of federal and state regulatory issues and legislation related to energy, off-road-vehicle use, air and water quality, land conservation, and other issues. Advocacy is conservation’s vital other half and without it, the trail and its associated lands and resources would be slowly nibbled to death. In establishing and enforcing policies to protect the Trail, advocacy is our most efficient means for educating the public and decision makers about those concerns.

Population(s) Served

Trail management encompasses the on–the-ground stewardship performed by volunteers and agency partners to maintain the Trail, its structures, and its natural and cultural resources. Management includes keeping the footpath clear of natural overgrowth and blowdowns; building and relocating sections of the footpath; building and repairing shelters and other structures; and caring for overnight sites. We coordinate this work, provide training, help set policy parameters, supply funding and other assistance to 31 Trail maintaining clubs, and recruit and manage volunteer Trail crews.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Kodak American Greenways Award 2008

Eastman Kodak, The Conservation Fund, National Geographic Society

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

ATConservation

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Trail Management

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Trail management encompasses the on–the-ground stewardship performed by volunteers to maintain the A.T., its structures, and its natural and cultural resources.

Acres of land that gain formal protection status

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

ATConservation

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of youth receiving services (e.g., groups, skills and job training, etc.) with youths living in their community

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

ATClassroom

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Effective Stewardship - Ensure A.T. and associated facilities are in topnotch shape for a high-quality recreation experience and natural and physical resource protection.

Proactive Protection - Advocate for broader protection of the natural and cultural resources within the A.T. corridor and adjacent landscapes.

Broader Relevancy - Engage and connect to a younger more inclusive audience and broaden the understanding of the physical and mental benefits provided by the Trail, cultivating the next generation of people who value and steward the Trail.

Engaged Partners - Engage and maintain a network of partners that reinforces ATC’s goals for the A.T. and its programs.

Effective Stewardship:
•Annually assess the A.T. treadway, open areas, boundary line conditions, and improve related data management systems
•Work collaboratively with Clubs, the National Park Service’s Appalachian Trail Park Office (APPA), the U.S. Forest Service and state agency partners to develop annual plans for Trail maintenance and land management priorities to effectively direct volunteer engagement and resource allocation
•Assess all ATC-owned parcels annually and address all easement violations
•Transfer or sell parcels to conservation partners, only retaining ownership of parcels that can be leveraged for greater conservation and education purposes and develop plans for these parcels
•Enlist and train volunteers to assist with annual monitoring of each ATC-owned parcel and train volunteers to support and maintain landowner relationships

Proactive Protection:
•Identify and prioritize by region adjacent landscapes along the Trail where ATC will focus on landscape conservation and create media and public education campaigns to support landscape-level protection strategies
•Seek additional funding for landscape conservation strategies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other sources
•Forge new partnerships with land conservation organizations and government agencies that share our vision for protected A.T. landscapes
•Coordinate efforts with APPA, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and state historic preservation offices
•Use environmental research and monitoring programs
•Identify specific priority Trail protection campaigns in each of its four regions
•Collaborates with key partners to leverage available corridor science data

Broader Relevancy:
•Collect research and engage educators and other partners.
•Assess existing programs and priorities to determine how they best fit with ATC diversity plans.
•Create partnerships with other organizations that have expertise in the field of physical and mental health.
•Collaborate with Trail communities and schools on opportunities for enhancing physical and mental well-being through hiking and volunteering along the A.T.
•Develop a plan to promote the physical and mental well-being benefits of A.T. hiking and promote the physical beauty of the Trail to non-hikers

Engaged Partners:
•Invest in volunteer-leadership development, strong and credible volunteer training, and volunteer recognition for Trail management
•Renew or implement management agreements with all primary federal, state, municipal, and private partners
•Further enhance ATC relationships with state and local agencies that have a significant role in A.T. management and protection
•Work closely with the established Appalachian Trail Communities to enhance the effectiveness of programs
•Broaden the base of the program by adding new communities.
•Work with ATC partner schools to engage teachers and students in Trail activities
•Stimulate the involvement of the Clubs and other partners

We work collaboratively with trail clubs, the National Park Service’s Appalachian Trail Park Office (APPA), the U.S. Forest Service, and state agency partners to develop annual plans for Trail maintenance and land management priorities and to effectively direct volunteer engagement and resource allocation.

Current strategic benchmarks:

Effective Stewardship:
•Increased annual funding for Trail improvement projects
•All priority Trail improvement projects are completed
•Priority visitor use management plans developed and implementation initiated
•Hire, train, and place at least 30 ridgerunners for priority high-use sites
•Increased (>85%) thru-hiker use of the A.T.Camp voluntary registration system
•Design and construction of the Damascus Trail Center is completed

Proactive Protection:
•Hire a contract employee to coordinate A.T. landscape related communications and improve communications products – website, email, social media, and coordination with communication partners
•ATC and landscape partners protect at least 2000 acres and expand capacity for conservation across all landscape focus areas
•Manage at least 250 acres of early-successional habitat for target species
•Develop agenda for 2019 Science and Stewardship Symposium
•Expand A.T. House caucus to at least 30 members
•Complete current condition reports and any necessary baseline documentation reports for at least 10 easements.
•Sell the Kellogg Conservation Center to a conservation partner.

Broader Relevancy:
•Host 3 youth summits – 2 in Maine, 1 in Massachusetts and scale the program for continued and expanded engagement
•Develop plan and funding to expand the Conservation Leadership Corps with Groundwork USA
•Create a campaign with Positive Tracks for youth to lead and share physical and mental benefits of the Trail
•Create and share MyATStory to highlight mental benefits of the Trail through a veteran story
•Connect with at least 5 volunteer affinity group leaders to foster connections to the Trail and ATC

Engaged Partners:
•At least 7 of 31 A.T. maintaining club’s.VSAs and MOUs are executed
•6,533 A.T. volunteers in 2018, a 10% increase in over 2017 volunteer participation
•Host 8 regional partnership committee meetings and 2 Stewardship Council meetings
•Host a Volunteer Leadership Meeting for at least 60 volunteers with representation from each of the 31 clubs
•At least 30 of 45 Communities will participate in Summits, and 9 of those attending summits will partner with A.T. clubs to host, promote, recruit, and participate in volunteer opportunities that highlight the 50th Anniversary of the ANST in 2018

Financials

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Board of directors
as of 3/30/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Colin Beasley

Greg Winchester

Edward Guyot

Beth Critton

Colin Beasley

Colleen Peterson

Daniel Howe

Grant Davies

James LaTorre

Norman Findley

Robert Hutchinson

Ruben Rosales

Thomas Gregg

Ambreen Tariq