On March 17, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will celebrate the official designation
of Waynesboro as the newest Appalachian Trail Community™ at the Dominion Pavilion at Constitution Park beginning at 10:00 AM. The city will celebrating the ribbon cutting of the newly completed greenway, and will host speakers including the ATC’s new executive director, Mark Wenger, as well as local leaders including Mayor Frank Lucente.
“Waynesboro volunteers, businesses and organizations have long been committed to connecting A.T. hikers with the necessary resources while in Waynesboro. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s community designation for Waynesboro strengthens the City’s effort in becoming a premier outdoor recreation destination,” stated Katie McElroy, Waynesboro Tourism Director. “We are thrilled to continue these efforts in working together for a stronger partnership.”
The Appalachian Trail Community™ designation is a new program of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the nonprofit responsible for management and protection of the estimated 2,180-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Launched in 2010, this program recognizes communities for their part in promoting awareness of the Appalachian Trail as an important local and national asset.
Waynesboro’s designation day will include a chance to walk on the new greenway and speak with local groups such as the Virginia Department of Forestry, the South River Science Team, and representatives from the two local volunteer A.T. maintaining clubs - Old Dominion A.T. Club and Potomac A.T. Club.
“The opening of the first phase of the South River Greenway is key to Waynesboro’s commitment to the outdoors. Promoting trails and their benefits to the public from an overall health aspect as well as a tourist destination is a natural fit to our overall mission,” explains C. Dwayne Jones, Director of Waynesboro Parks and Recreation. “Being recognized as an Appalachian Trail Community solidifies our connection to the A.T. and its countless users.”
Designation as an Appalachian Trail Community™ and participation in the program is aimed to:
• Engage community residents, Trail visitors, and stewards
• Thank communities for their decades of service to hikers
• Act as a catalyst for sustainable economic development
• Aid municipalities and regional areas with local conservation and planning efforts
• Promote the Trail as a community resource and asset
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to celebrate communities that are helping to protect and promote the Appalachian Trail,” states Julie Judkins, Community Program Manager for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “These new partnerships will increase local stewardship of public lands, support community initiatives for sustainable economic development and conservation planning as well as support healthy lifestyles for community citizens.”