Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

  • Harpers Ferry, WV
  • http://www.appalachiantrail.org

Mission Statement

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.

Main Programs

  1. ATConservation
  2. ATCommunities
  3. ATCitizens
  4. ATClassroom
  5. ATCauses
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The Appalachian Trail traverses 14 states: GA, NC, TN, VA, WV, MD, PA, NJ, NY, MA, CT, VT, NH, ME. Four million annual visitors worldwide.

ruling year

1950

Principal Officer since 2012

Self-reported

Mr. Mark J. Wenger

Keywords

Self-reported

conservation, community, Appalachian Trail, volunteer, appalachian, trail, mountain, volunteer development, ATC, hiking, A.T.

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EIN

52-6046689

 Number

2360759158

Physical Address

799 Washington Street

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425 0807

Also Known As

ATC

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

The Appalachian Trail is the most significant conservation corridor east of the Mississippi River.  With headquarters in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and four regional offices (Asheville, NC, Blacksburg, VA, Boiling Springs, PA, S. Egremont, MA), ATC manages a 280,000-acre land base that has been documented as one of the most biologically diverse units of our National Park Service.  Each year, more than 6100 volunteers contribute over 210,000 hours toward maintenance, environmental monitoring, community outreach, visitor services, and other trail-related activities.  The Appalachian Trail is not only an internationally recognized recreational resource, but is also an important avian flyway and migratory corridor for wildlife.  Trail lands contain and protect the source waters for approximately one third of the East Coast's drinking water.  In 2006, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy launched the AT MEGA-Transect project, an ongoing large-scale environmental monitoring program that pairs teams of volunteer citizen scientists with professional research institutions in tracking the environmental health of the Appalachian Range over the long term. In 2009, ATC launched A.T. Communities, a certification program for neighboring jurisdictions intended to promote sustainable business development for outdoor recreation and tourism, awareness of natural resources protected by the Trail corridor, youth involvement in volunteer conservation activities and service-learning, and land use planning that takes the biodiversity of the Trail and its scenic vistas into consideration. In 2010, ATC launched Appalachian Trail Communities, a certification program to help neighboring communities with sustainable tourism/recreation-based business development and conservation-friendly land use development that would help conserve priority conservation landscapes adjacent to the Trail.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

ATConservation

ATConservation continues ATC's land acquisition and easement work, backed by science-based evidence from environmental monitoring partnerships with universities, peer nonprofits, government agencies at all levels, and others.  Examples from the ATConservation portfolio include:

The A.T. MEGA-Transect, a long-term environmental monitoring program that pairs teams of volunteer citizen scientists with professional research institutions in measuring the environmental health of the Appalachian Range;


Acquisition of lands that directly protect the Trail corridor, either through ATC's own land trust or through consortiums with other nonprofits and government agencies;


Outreach that encourages neighboring communities to support conservation efforts that protect the Appalachian Trail's signature views and adjacent landscapes.

Category

Environment

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

$3,536,481.00

Program 2

ATCommunities

ATCommunities informs the general public and neighboring communities about the Trail, its resources, and the challenges they face…heightening support for Trail-related conservation while realizing local benefits: open space, sustainable development, tourism, outdoor recreation, and residential health and fitness.  ATCommunities includes the Appalachian Trail Community program, launched 2010.  Inspired by participation in several regional “green infrastructure” assessments and planning projects along the Trail, the Appalachian Trail Community program is intended to stimulate Trail-friendly business development and zoning in gateway communities, many of which are in need of economic stimulus to replace defunct extractive industries while controlling the effects of sprawl incited by ex-urban migration to their scenic locations. 
 
Communities qualify for the program by undertaking at least two of the following four activities: 1) Form an Appalachian Trail Community steering committee; 2) Sponsor a trail festival or public event; 3) Sponsor a service-learning or education project for students; 4) include Trail-friendly language in planning documents.

Category

Environment

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

Program 3

ATCitizens

ATCitizens extends ATC's ability to conserve and sustain the footpath, its system of shelters, and other facilities; engage volunteers and other organizations in our work; and promote healthful low-impact recreation along the Trail.  Components of ATCitizens include coordination of our 31 affiliated Trail Clubs, each of which oversees maintenance and other activities along a designated stretch of trail; ATC Ridgerunners and Caretakers, seasonal staff who live and work along high-use sections of the Trail, greeting visitors and teaching low-impact and backcountry ethics; Volunteer Trail Crews, week-long volunteer "SWAT" teams that address major construction and maintenance projects.  Volunteers may find volunteer opportunities online at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/get-involved/volunteer.

Category

Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Budget

Program 4

ATClassroom

ATClassroom prepares today’s youth for tomorrow’s stewardship of the Trail by instilling a conservation ethic and comfort with natural spaces.  ATClassroom's primary program at this time is A Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC). Formally endorsed by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, TTEC is a year-round professional development program that trains K-12 teachers to use the Appalachian Trail as a multidisciplinary educational resource. By inviting teams of teachers and community partners from Trail communities to participate, TTEC promotes healthy lifestyles, service-learning, and a strong conservation ethic among a Trail-wide community of educators and students. The program also connects educators from underserved rural and urban areas to a 14-state network of teachers, ATC-affiliated trail club volunteers, and agency partners, including several National Park units, for curriculum support. At present, this popular program has a considerable wait list.
Each year fifty educators attend two three-day regional workshops and a week-long summer institute for the entire TTEC “class” at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Mini-grants for curriculum implementation, a designated website and blog, and alumni fellowships support this lively network. Testimonials abound from teachers who have imaginatively infused Trail-based natural history and science into every subject from special education to English. TTEC projects have been enormously varied, ranging from MEGA-Transect field studies or trail maintenance projects to students forming outdoor clubs, getting their families out on the Trail, or even developing bilingual “quests,” scavenger hunts to engage Spanish-speaking neighbors in Trail activities. Results of TTEC’s annual independent evaluation are posted at the Place-Based Education Evaluation Collaboration website (www.peecworks. org).

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

Program 5

ATCauses

ATCauses protects the Trail by educating the public and government decision makers about its importance to the region’s human and environmental health. Advocacy along the Trail is a never-ending challenge, and the importance of our regional offices in identifying and mitigating local threats remains constant. At any given time, ATC is engaged in as many as 40 issues involving potential adverse affects on trail lands, ranging from highway expansions to second-home and commercial development, wireless-communications facilities, poorly placed wind-energy projects, electric- and gas-transmission corridors, etc. 
ATC continues to participate in review and comment on a range of federal and state regulatory issues and legislation related to energy, off-road-vehicle use, air and water quality, land conservation, and other issues. Advocacy is conservation’s vital other half and without it, the trail and its associated lands and resources would be slowly nibbled to death. In establishing and enforcing policies to protect the Trail, advocacy is our most efficient means for educating the public and decision makers about those concerns.

Category

Environment

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The Appalachian Trail traverses 14 states: GA, NC, TN, VA, WV, MD, PA, NJ, NY, MA, CT, VT, NH, ME. Four million annual visitors worldwide.

photos




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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

APPALACHIAN TRAIL CONSERVANCY
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Mr. Mark J. Wenger

BIO

Mark was named Executive Director/CEO of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in 2012. He previously worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, holding a variety of leadership positions over 32 years. Mark graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a Bachelor of Architecture degree and received a Master in Architectural History from the University of Virginia.  He is very active in the Appalachian Trail community. Prior to the ATC, he held a variety of leadership positions for the Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club. In addition, he also volunteered his time at the local community level and has spent over 22 years volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America. Mark enjoys leading an extensive number of outdoor trips such as backpacking, canoeing, cycling, and whitewater rafting. He also is an avid hiker who completed section hiking the A.T. over the course of 8 years.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Joint Statement from Dave Startzell, Executive Director and Board Chair, Bob Almand, edited excerpts from 2009 annual report:While many changes have affected the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in its 85-year history, our mission remains essentially the same. But our goals, objectives, and even more so our strategies, continue to evolve as circumstances affecting the trail, its visitors, and the volunteers who support it change. One example of this adaptation is our approach to land conservation along the A.T. For 30-plus years, ATC has been the principal advocate in securing congressionally appropriated funds through the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to support land-acquisition programs of the National Park Service and USDA Forest Service in establishing a permanent protective corridor or “greenway” around the legendary footpath. In 2009, ATC helped to secure $9.8 million in new appropriated funds for trail-protection projects in New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee that will add nearly 20,000 acres of newly conserved lands along the A.T. In each case, ATC worked with strong private-sector partners such as The Conservation Fund, garnering additional private financial support for a partial match or for pre-acquisition work surveys and appraisals.
In 2010, ATC launched the Appalachian Trail Community program, complete with a new community designation logo and signage. Although that program appears to be mostly a community-recognition program, ATC’s ultimate aims are to promote community awareness of the A.T. and its visitors as important local assets, to aid communities in conserving lands bordering the A.T., and to support other “green infrastructure” contributing to each community’s unique character. ATC is developing a web-based forum where communities can share their experiences and best practices. The Appalachian Trail Community program is an important grassroots strategy in broadening ATC’s long-term conservation goals."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Robert Almand

Retired, Bank of America

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?