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proactive protection

ATC advocates for broader protection of the natural and cultural resources within the A.T. corridor and adjacent landscapes.

I. Outcome: Priority adjacent landscapes are identified and plans to protect them are developed and implemented.


  1. 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.
  2. Seek additional funding for landscape conservation strategies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other sources.
  3. Forge new partnerships with land conservation organizations and government agencies that share our vision for protected A.T. landscapes.

II. Outcome:
High priority threats to the natural and cultural resources along the A.T. and within the A.T. corridor and adjacent landscapes are effectively mitigated or prevented.


  1. ATC, APPA, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation coordinate efforts with state historic preservation offices to consider and evaluate National Register designation for the Trail to enhance protection of cultural resources and cultural landscapes.
  2. ATC uses its environmental research and monitoring programs as the basis for protecting biodiversity and improving the effectiveness of natural resource management for the Trail.
  3. ATC and its key partners identify specific priority Trail protection campaigns in each of its four regions to address major resource threats from proposed energy projects, new or expanded transmission line corridors, communication infrastructure, commercial or residential development, highway construction and hiker use of the Trail.
  4. ATC collaborates with key partners to leverage available corridor science data to achieve a better understanding of climate change impacts along the Trail corridor and to support the development of more effective national policies that address climate change.
  5. ATC works closely with the Partnership for the National Trails System to address major threats to the A.T. and to advocate for Land and Water Conservation Fund money to expand protection of the existing Trail corridor.


ATC and the National Park Service (NPS) continued to advance the work of the A.T. Landscape Partnership in 2017. Last year members of the partnership secured 11 projects along the A.T. These projects conserved more than 5000 acres important to the Trail and the A.T. experience. A diversity of funding sources allowed for these acquisitions to be completed – Land and Water Conservation Funds, Forest Legacy, State Open Space programs, private foundations, and individual contributions. ATC and NPS hosted and organized the 3rd Annual Meeting of the A.T. Landscape Partnership

Our focus in 2018 is to build a more comprehensive and active communication system that amplifies the work of ATC and our A.T. Landscape partners. Our coalition continues to strengthen and grow. More effective and efficient internal and external communication will position the campaign to secure additional funding and champion major land protection projects.

We will also implement projects and work with conservation partners to ensure that the A.T. landscape provides ecosystem function and represents the rich cultural history of the Appalachian region. Multiple threats from invasive species and forest pests, incompatible development, and climate change, challenge the integrity of protected lands. In 2018 we will implement projects to curtail the spread of the emerald ash borer, an invasive forest pest that is decimating populations of ash trees, and focus on expanding habitat for the golden-winged warbler and pollinators such as monarch butterflies and bees. Much of our resource management work takes place in early successional areas where natural ecosystem processes (fire, grazing) have been lost.

We also intend to strengthen management partnerships across the A.T. landscape by co-hosting a science and stewardship symposium with NPS in 2019.

As a functional land trust, ATC will continue to comply with Land Trust Alliance standards for the 60 easements and 27 fee tracts we hold.

Knowing that we need greater Congressional awareness of and support for A.T. landscape issues, we worked with House leadership to launch an A.T. caucus in 2017. This year we will focus on growing that caucus to at least 30 members and use the caucus to strategically support the landscape initiative for land protection funding and supportive policies. Our staff will continue to work with many D.C. based conservation partners to identify and address policy issues that threaten landscape conservation, while also identifying opportunities such as the Pipeline Fairness and Transparency Act. This legislation was introduced by Senators Kaine and Warner, with a parallel bill in the House introduced by Congressmen Griffith and Goodlatte after working closely with ATC. (See: Pipeline Fairness and Transparency Act).


2018 Benchmarks:

  • 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.