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Arts & Entertainment A.T. community designation focus of LWV program

The Appalachian Trail is marked by painted white blazes along the path to guide hikers on their way. Pictured is the portion of the trail that crosses Wayah Bald in Macon County.On Thursday, April 11, the League of Women Voters of Macon County will sponsor a program on Franklin as an Appalachian Trail Community. Corresponding with the Macon County Public Library’s Walking with Spring series and the Town of Franklin’s April Fools’ Day Trail Day Festival, the League would like to recognize the importance of the trail in Macon County and to promote the use, enjoyment, benefits, and conservation of the trail.

The Appalachian Trail Community program is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Towns, counties, and communities along the A.T.’s corridor are considered assets by A.T. hikers and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. The program serves to assist communities with sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation, while preserving and protecting the A.T.

Macon County has been a longtime supporter of the A.T. More than 70 years ago, Dr. Rufus Morgan began doing maintenance on the trail with local Boy Scout troops. In 1968, The Nantahala Hiking Club was formed and became a member of the A.T. Conservancy. In 2009, the Town of Franklin, working with the Nantahala Hiking Club and the A.T. Conservancy, applied for Appalachian Trail Community status, receiving it in 2010. Franklin has developed a guide to the town for hikers, to help them find the services they need and inform them about local businesses serving hikers, as well as to engage them in local cultural activities.

During Thursday’s program, Julie Judkins of the A.T. Conservancy and David Lippy, president of the Nantahala Hiking Club, will talk about the history and management of the trail, about the benefits of the A.T. Community program to hikers and to the community, and about ways to promote and enhance use of the trail and interaction with the town. Mary Bennett, local A.T. Community Ambassador, will highlight the opportunities the A.T. provides for environmental education and to Macon County schools, and other local activities around the trail.

The meeting will be held at Tartan Hall at noon. Participants are welcome to bring a bag lunch. The public is invited.

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that encourages citizen participation in government and other civic activities.


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