Smyth County and Town Of Marion, Virginia Awarded Appalachian Trail Community Distinction

The Appalachian Trail Community™ program was created by the ATC to recognize communities that promote and care for the Appalachian Trail (A.T.).

Online PR News – 27-August-2013 – Marion, VA – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club (MRATC) and the Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers (PATH), invite the public to attend the official designation of Smyth County and the town of Marion, Virginia as the newest Appalachian Trail Community™ on September 12th, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. The ceremony will be held at the Marion Regional Farmers Market in Marion and is free and open to the public.

The Appalachian Trail Community™ program was created by the ATC to recognize communities that promote and care for the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Working with a growing network of trailside community partners, the program supports communities that play a role in advocating the A.T. as a significant local and national asset and as an international icon. The program assists communities by generating tourism and stimulating outdoor recreation while preserving and protecting the A.T.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to celebrate communities that are helping to protect and promote the Appalachian Trail,” said Julie Judkins, community program manager for the ATC. “These new partnerships will increase local stewardship of public lands, support community initiatives for sustainable economic development and conservation planning and support healthy lifestyles for community citizens.”

“The Town of Marion is very excited to partner with Smyth County to showcase our abundant natural resources and community spirit with the designation, and we look forward to the opportunities this brings,” said Ken Heath, executive director of community and economic development.

Honored guests and speakers at this event include Wendy Janssen, superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail; Steve Paradis, former executive director of the ATC; David Helms, mayor of Marion; Wade Blevins, county board chairman; Beth Merz, ranger at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests; Bill Hurlebaus, vice president of the MRATC; and Anne B. Crockett-Stark, member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The A.T. is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at approximately 2,180 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours of their time doing trail-related work each year, and about 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.

For more information about the A.T. Community™ program, visit

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is 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. For more information about the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, visit

Contact: Julie Judkins
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 828.254.3708 x11
Fax: 828.254.3754


For more information or to schedule an interview, please call Javier Folgar at 304.535.2200 x117 or e-mail