The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) announced yesterday this year’s recipients of Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Specialty License Plate grants for projects that enhance the Trail in North Carolina. This spring, $35,000 was granted to 11 partner organizations, including A.T. maintaining clubs, schools, botanists, ecologists and environmental and conservation groups. This year’s recipients include the Carolina Mountain Club, Friends of the Smokies, Nantahala Hiking Club, North Buncombe High School Adventure Club, Hot Springs Tourism Association, Southern Appalachian Raptor Research, Tennessee Eastman Hiking & Canoeing Club and The Wilderness Society’s Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards.
The grant funds will also support additional ATC programs and projects in North Carolina, including a school-wide Trails To Every Classroom immersion program for Summit Charter School in Cashiers; Wilderness First Aid courses for A.T. club volunteers; the Roan Mountain Ridgerunner program; and a workshop to construct a pollinator garden and monitor Monarch butterflies at the Wesser Nantahala Outdoor Center.
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited to grant these funds to our partner organizations to support a number of projects that preserve and protect the Appalachian Trail,” said Morgan Sommerville, ATC regional director. “The projects represent a broad range of work that will enhance the Trail in North Carolina.”
The A.T. Specialty License Plate grant program is funded by drivers who purchase or renew their North Carolina A.T. license plates. Twenty dollars from each license plate purchase is given to the ATC to support its work in the state. In addition to funding the grant program, the money is used for A.T. greenway acquisition and to help support the work of the ATC’s Southern Regional Office in Asheville. Overall, A.T. specialty license plate sales in North Carolina bring the ATC about $120,000 each year.
A.T. specialty license plates are currently offered in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia and are a way to support the ATC in its work to sustain the Trail into the future.
For more information about the ATC license tag program, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/plates.
Hiking in the Smokies