Ramble On

Monday, May 20, 2013

Luray-Page County - an Appalachian Trail Community!

This is the Appalachian Trail Conservancy logo
for trail communities.

Hawksbill Cabin is located in Page County, close to Luray and Stanley, Virginia, and to Shenandoah National Park.  One of the treats for me about this location is being so close to a charming, lovely, thriving small community – and the access it provides as a gateway to the park, not to mention that my hikes based out of here frequently include Appalachian Trail (AT) sections.

A couple of years ago I was talking with Howard Thompson in Appalachian Outdoors Adventures in Luray and he told me that the community was beginning the application process to become an AT Trail Town.  It’s a hard won distinction that the Appalachian Trail Conservancy awards to recognize communities that promote and protect the AT.  Here’s more from the AT Conservancy’s web site:

"…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.Designation as an Appalachian Trail Community™ and participation in the program is aimed to:
  • Engage community citizens, Trail visitors and stewards
  • Recognize and thank communities for their service to the Trail and hikers
  • Act as a catalyst for enhancing sustainable economic development
  • Aid local municipalities and regional areas with conservation planning
  • Help local community members see the Trail as a resource and asset"

The Festival of Spring a few weeks ago included a celebration of this honor, and it was covered in the Page News and Courier.  Rereading that article now, I see where the Stanley Mayor Doug Purdham has suggested that Ed Goode Park might one day have a connection up to the trail – “It’s a big dream, and years into the future, but it’s possible.”  It sounds like a worthwhile goal, to me. 

Howard is quoted in the piece as saying, about the hikers that visit the area from the AT, "They stay in our hotels, visit our shops, eat in our restaurants - hikers have an economic impact."  He added that between 200 and 300 AT hikers visit the store during the hiking season.

Here’s to all the AT enthusiasts in our community who were part of this effort.  I’m proud of y’all.

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