The area of Helen and White County recently was named an Appalachian Trail Community, a designation that honors the community for promoting the trail that stretches from North Georgia to Maine.
The community program was begun in 2010 by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, a nonprofit tasked with managing the trail. There will be a ceremony at 11 a.m. Nov. 30 at the Bandshell Amphitheater 100 feet north of the Chattahoochee River near Ga. 17/75 in downtown Helen.
“White County town officials, residents and businesses are all excited about the Appalachian Trail designation, and this new partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy,” said Steve Gibson, committee chairman of the Appalachian Trail Community Committee and manager of Habersham Winery. “We look forward to promoting the trail and recreational opportunities to local residents and visitors alike.”
The ceremony will feature Charles Aiken, a through-hiker and longtime volunteer with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, singing the national anthem. He recently developed a hiking program used in some North Georgia schools, where students can learn the history of the Appalachian Trail and experience the outdoors.
Other guests presenting at the ceremony include Mark Wenger, executive director and CEO of the ATC, Morgan Sommerville, Southern regional director of the ATC, Helen Mayor Judy Holloway and Tom Aderhold, former president of GATC and longtime volunteer.
“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 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.”