Appalachian Trail Conservation Banner Brent McGuirt

A Strong Future

As guardians of the Appalachian Trail, our goal is to ensure it will be enjoyed for centuries to come.

Protection and Stewardship Icon

protection and stewardship

Our conservation work is focused on the protection and stewardship of land surrounding the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). This land base, spanning the Appalachian highland region from Georgia to Maine, connects significant state and federal lands. Running primarily along the ridgelines, Trail lands protect a migratory flywayand headwater streams for major East Coast watersheds. This protected area is one of the most significant greenways in the eastern United States.

Our conservation work is focused on identifying high priority tracts for permanent protection, working collaboratively with numerous conservation partners. We advocate funding for land protection and for best management practices to effectively steward these lands in perpetuity. We also play an important role as land managers, assisting with the natural resource management of corridor lands to ensure that the integrity of protected A.T. lands is upheld for future generations to experience and enjoy. We strive to base management decisions on sound science, and we work cooperatively with partners to develop our conservation approach. 


We care about protecting the experience we all have while hiking the A.T. Along with our partners, we are charged under the National Trails Systems Act to ensure that the scenic vistas and natural and cultural heritage of the Trail corridor is protected forever.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund benefits the A.T. – but could disappear

by Appalachian Trail Conservancy | Sep 09, 2015
<meta content="0;url=" /> <p style="text-align: left;">The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) &ndash; a long-standing, highly successful conservation program that has substantially helped in building the Appalachian Trail &ndash; is set to expire this year. Congressionally established more than five decades ago, LWCF must be <em>reauthorized</em> by Congress <em>before</em> September 30, 2018 to continue. Otherwise this vital program could tragically disappear.</p> <h1 class="homeheader" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 18px;"><a class=" btn outlineBlue" href="/home/conservation/advocacy/lwcf" target="_blank" style="font-size: 18px;">LEARN MORE</a></span></h1>


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  1. Tristan Chaulk | Jul 31, 2017
    If we are to continue to enjoy the amazing, scenic views that the world so graciously holds for us, we must keep acts in place to protect those views and the waters and land that surrounds them. There is no room for hesitation or pondering when it comes to protecting our Earth. Climate change has already left lasting impacts, and though I believe the Earth will come to heal itself, it is within our obligations to ensure that that process is an easy one. Conserve water, conserve land, and help bring pristine beauty back to our gorgeous Earth. 
  2. Melissa | Jun 28, 2017
    If they take away are lands and wildlife then really what have we as people become? I had a drug addiction when I was younger and a friend took me to the A.T and I found myself with a new and better addition problem. The only different was this one I could let everyone know what I was doing and felt good about myself and my new found love The Appalachian trail.So far I have hiked three of the states and half of the forth state .What and why would they put the only place you can still go to injoy the beautiful lands and wild life that the APPALACHIAN has to share .The Congress and the governor must not get out in the woods at all .They don't see the beautiful land as we the people do because they have all they want money and power.But no sense. They pay people to hunt for them so why should they have a say about the lands we take care of .And the government dose not owen the land that God gave to everyone.
  3. Heather Bondhus | Oct 16, 2016
    If they want to drill, they need to assist in environmental protection at the same time.

    We only get one planet.
  4. Sharon | Oct 07, 2016
    The LWCF was founded for a reason which still exists,  to a more extreme level currently than ever before. Sometimes doing the right thing is harder than not. Do the right thing , that is for the better good of ALL people, not just the few who want to exploit. Reauthorize the LWCF! It is what the people want!
  5. Maria Perez | Oct 04, 2016
    The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), signed into law in 1964 must be reauthorized!
    Preservation of our land is important so reauthorize LWCF.  

  6. John Shannahan | Sep 16, 2016
    If we want congress to listen to our concerns about America's natural resources and landscape we'd better stop spending time typing on our phones. Instead,we need to start acting like the NRA. 
    Te NRA gathers files on each member of congress, they wine and dine them, they know their likes and dislikes, they know their family members names,dates of birth, and criminal records, etc.... 

    The NRA plays hardball, and they get what they want. To get congress to listen, you have to speak the language they understand... Manipulation. 

    Contact, by phone, your state congressional offices and demand some answers.  
    You can make a difference and enact change when you take local action, but comments on websites accomplish nothing  (this one excluded) :)
  7. Kathy Burkwald | Sep 02, 2016
    The importance of renewing this funding is grossly understated and needs to be a priority.  Future generations depend on it.  We have lost many species/trees.   Gone forever due to lack of government funding to prevent these tree die offs and preservation of wildlife.  Let's not squander what God has given to us.  Please renew the LWCF.  
  8. Mike Waas | Aug 19, 2016
    President Obama has made a number of Executive Orders, this would be one that I would actually agree with. 

    Congress, don't make it come to that.  Do the right thing here and think of more than just the here and now, think of the future.  The beauty of our natural resources and the lives of people and animals that depend on its wellbeing are depending on you to take action. 

    Reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund now.
  9. Johnette Halpin | Apr 07, 2016
    The Land and Water Conservation Fund is essential to the continuation of nature appreciation in American life. Our National Parks are landmarks where millions of memories are made and where people of all ages go to commune with nature, test their physical and emotional strength, and learn about why we are here. You must reauthorize the LWCF immediately to prevent our country's greatest assest, it's earth, from being irreparably damaged. Conservation is surely at least one thing that Congress and the House can agree on.  
  10. Frank Wyatt | Mar 30, 2016
    The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), signed into law in 1964 must be reauthorized!
  11. Lauren Brewer | Mar 28, 2016
    As we move into the future as a nation, we need to look at what we have done right and what we have done wrong within our past. One thing I know we have done correctly is to protect our natural resources and conserve a wilderness that is appreciated by many in our country. This wilderness  is a part of what makes this land so great. By taking away the Land and  Water Conservation Fund, we are putting beautiful and pristine places at risk. As someone who frequents and loves the outdoors of her nation, I implore you to bring this funding back. Not only for me, but for the future generations to enjoy. 
  12. Anne Murray | Mar 21, 2016
    Preserving our national treasures is a must.  The AT is an epic natural adventure that is needed to help humanity have an means to connect with nature. 
  13. Matthew | Mar 05, 2016
    Funding for National Treasures is beneficial for everyone.
  14. Christian Osmond | Mar 02, 2016
    Nature has been a huge part of who we are and who I am, and without help to maintain this land and it's resources, life will not be sustainable. 
  15. Timothy Couvillion | Feb 21, 2016
    i am a service provider to oil field related work in The northern part of the Gulf of Mexico. I am also intrigued by the challenges and rewards nature has to offer. I have not seen the details of the LWCF, but believe if it is financially possible, saving out natural resources in parks are worth it. 

    Timothy Couvillion
  16. Sonja Eady | Feb 08, 2016
     The reauthorization of the LWCF is important!
  17. Jason Bostic | Jan 26, 2016
    What are they thinking?! The land, wildlife, parks, the wild period! is the most important national treasure that we have. Why would Congress not partake in trying to save as much of nature as they can? LWCF has to be reauthorized and mother nature needs to be protected for enjoyment by future generations, once they put their game consoles away and realize what is out there for them to cherish and discover.
  18. Laura Eberly | Jan 03, 2016
    Please reconsider your voting stance on the LWCF. The national parks and trails were meant to be around for future generations to enjoy. They are an important part of history and identity as a nation. My vote will support those who understand that stewardship is part of our responsibility as responsible citizens.
  19. Allison Halgren | Dec 31, 2015
    The planet, people's habitat,  depends on conservation. The voters want to preserve nature and our future depends on it. 
  20. Allison Halgren | Dec 31, 2015
    Now, more than ever, we need to conserve our peoples habitat. Voters want conservation. The future depends on it.
  21. Margaret Krist | Dec 25, 2015
    Please reconsider and pass legislation to fund the LWCF.  If we, as citizens, don't protect our natural resources for our children and their children, like the very special AT, who will?
  22. Mary Moynihan | Dec 23, 2015
    Without the beauty and solace found while walking the Appalachian Trail, we would have far many more people suffering from depression, obesity and other mental illness. All issues the 2016 Campaign is trying to address. The trail is an answer and cure for many ailments. Protect the Appalachian Trail!
  23. Carter M Scheffler | Dec 13, 2015
    Please reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  America's national parks are one of the most integral part of what makes it so great.
  24. John Travis Wagner | Nov 08, 2015
    This is a important piece of American History.  It's impairitive that fun f ING continues.
  25. CC | Oct 24, 2015
    Consider, would you, waking to a world with no birds, no crickets, nothing but machines.  Feel that ache in your soul?  Do the right thing. Fund wild places. 
  26. John Morse &quot;toe&quot; | Oct 21, 2015
    Please, please, please,,,think of our kids and our kids kids, protect our water and while we still can
  27. pamela jenkins | Oct 17, 2015
    I'm a 60 yr old human being whose primary concern for our survival is the health of our planet. we need to do all we can with every available resource ....REAUTHORIZE THE LWCF!
  28. Carrie Carter | Oct 05, 2015
    In this day and age when our children are growing up immersed in technology and staying plugged in 24/7 (and encouraged to do so through college), we are in greater need than ever to protect our natural resources to allow a chance to reconnect with the real world around us.  This is our last outlet of decompression and connection.  Through scouting we help our children learn to help preserve the last of an important resource that is dwindling at an incredible rate. 
    Through the increased prices on oil and gas the general public is actually funding this important conservation.  As large corporations continue to plunder our natural resources a portion of these proceeds must continue to support what their accidents destroy.  I urge you to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation fund.
  29. Claire Speredelozzi | Sep 17, 2015
    I believe the LWCF should continue because of the importance of it. Protection of land and water has should always be a first priority. Think of Teddy Roosevelt who kickstarted the national parks; we should continue helping the environment as he started it. 

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    land protection

    Protecting land along the A.T. has been a priority for Trail managers ever since the Trail was established. We have worked with state and federal agencies since 1982 to protect the lands surrounding the A.T., resulting in one of the most significant and successful land acquisition programs in the United States. Today there is a 250,000 acre greenway around the Trail that connects significant public lands in the eastern United States.

    Boundary Corridor Lands by Brent McQuirt Appalachian Trail Conservancy 

    ​Boundary and Corridor Lands

    Our Boundary Program protects the public's investment in the lands that surround the A.T. Volunteers from A.T. Maintaining Clubs work with us to monitor and maintain more than 1,500 miles of the Trail corridor's exterior boundary.

    Natural and Cultural Resource Management Appalachian Trail Conservancy 

    ​Natural and Cultural Resource Management

    The A.T. is about more than hiking. Trail lands protect headwater streams for major East Coast watersheds and also host hundreds of rare species. We work cooperatively with our partners to understand and monitor these resources.

    trail management

    Trail management encompasses the on–the-ground stewardship performed by volunteers and agency partners to maintain the Trail, its structures, and its natural and cultural resources. Management includes keeping the footpath clear of natural overgrowth and blowdowns; building and relocating sections of the footpath; building and repairing shelters and other structures; and caring for overnight sites. We coordinate this work, provide training, help set policy parameters, supply funding and other assistance to 31 Trail maintaining clubs, and recruit and manage volunteer Trail crews.

    Appalachian Trail Crew Flexing Muscles

    ​Trail Crews

    Our Trail Crews tackle large-scale projects like relocations and rehabilitation as well as bridge and shelter construction. The work is hard, but it's a great way to give back to the Trail that changed your life.

    RidgeRunners and Caretakers by Laurie Potteiger

    ​Ridgerunners & Caretakers

    More than 30 ridgerunners and caretakers help us promote a quality A.T. experience by educating hikers on how to minimize impact on the Trail.

    Trail Management Policies AT Boundary Marker by Vincent Juarez

    ​Trail Management Policies

    If you're an A.T. manager, here are links to Trail policies, planning guidance, and other volunteer management resources.

    AT Community Program Logo

    the appalachian trail community program

    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 all that use the A.T. 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.

    Youth and Community Engagement Appalachian Trail Conservancy

    youth engagement

    The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s vision is to connect the human spirit with nature – preserving the delicate majesty of the Trail as a haven for all to enjoy. In order to realize that vision, we strive to incorporate groups that are underrepresented among ATC staff, A.T. visitors, and ATC constituents. We hope to create an ever-expanding community of doers and dreamers, and work to ensure that tomorrow’s generations will experience the same mesmerizing beauty we behold today.