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The Appalachian Trail Licence Plate

Download Application For Tag | The official site

(May 17, 2004)—The Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC) announced today that it has endorsed the final design for a new North Carolina special license plate that would help fund additional care for more than 300 miles of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and along its common border with Tennessee.

The design and detailed information can be viewed at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/trailnews/nc_plate.html

Last year, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation authorizing a new “Friends of the Appalachian Trail” license plate with lead support from Senator Joe Sam Queen, who represents the six counties where much of the state’s portion of the Appalachian Trail is located. North Carolina environmental attorney Clark Wright of New Bern generated the initial grass-roots support for the A.T. tag after hiking more than 1,200 miles on the Appalachian Trail in the summer of 2001.

According to the legislation, a minimum of 300 individuals with motor vehicles registered in the state must apply for the new A.T. tag before the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMW) will make it available to motorists. The additional cost for the special plate is $30, of which $20 will go to support the portions of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. The funds will be collected by the DMV and transmitted quarterly to the ATC, which will reserve them for projects supporting education, rare-species monitoring, footpath and shelter maintenance, and helping the USDA Forest Service acquire additional buffer lands for the trail right-of-way within the state.

The nonprofit ATC coordinates the volunteer-centered management of the trail and its related lands in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Forest Service. The ATC has about 33,000 members, more than 8 percent of whom call North Carolina home. Only Virginia and Pennsylvania have more ATC members.

North Carolina also has the second-largest segment of the 14 states crossed by the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail, which is in public ownership today for all but about 11 miles. About 1.5 of those unprotected miles are in North Carolina. Because of the high terrain, larger tracts than in some states need to be acquired to secure the scenic values federal and state legislation have sought to protect for more than 35 years. Because of escalating land prices and several years of reprogramming of money Congress appropriated for the Forest Service A.T.-protection program, recent progress has been slow. The special license-plate funding could assist with those purchases.

Although headquartered in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., the ATC has a regional office in Asheville, North Carolina, for closer liaison to volunteers and agency partners in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.

The volunteers who work on the trail in North Carolina primarily come from four autonomous local hiking clubs within the ATC confederation: the Nantahala Hiking Club based in Franklin; the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, Knoxville, Tenn.; the Carolina Mountain Club, Asheville; and the Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club, based in Kingsport, Tenn. A fifth North Carolina club, the Piedmont A.T. Hikers, based in Greensboro, is responsible for a section of the A.T. in southwestern Virginia.

Further information regarding the North Carolina license tag can be found on the ATC’s Web site at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/trailnews/nc_plate.html. The ATC is evaluating two different color schemes for the new tag; a final color selection will be made as soon as 300 valid applications are received. ATC urged North Carolinians interested in helping support the Appalachian Trail by displaying one of the beautiful A.T. plates to apply by either accessing the ATC’s Web site or writing to Appalachian Trail Conference, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-0807, for an application.

Download Application For Tag | The official site

CONTACT: Brian King, Director of Public Affairs
(304) 535-6331, extension 111; bking@appalachiantrail.org

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