(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
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
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.
Application For Tag | The
CONTACT: Brian King, Director of Public Affairs
(304) 535-6331, extension 111; firstname.lastname@example.org