Harpers Ferry, WV (PressExposure) March 04, 2013 -- The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has selected Janet Hensley and Rob Martin to serve as the volunteer ambassadors to the designated Appalachian Trail Community of Unicoi County, Tennessee. Both will serve as a community liaison to the ATC and the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club to encourage volunteerism and stewardship of the Trail at the local level. This year there are 16 ambassadors serving 14 different communities along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.).
"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited about building its volunteer base by providing A.T. Ambassadors to designated A.T. Communities to help increase local stewardship of public lands and support healthy lifestyles for community citizens," stated Julie Judkins, Community Program Manager of the ATC.
Hensley has been involved with the A.T. in Unicoi County for a number of years as the owner of one of the town's hiker hostels and as the coordinator of A.T. Summit Seminars, meant to generate greater understanding and positive relationships between hikers and the local business community. This is Hensley's second year serving as a Unicoi County A.T. Ambassador.
"I am very interested in being able to work more closely with my community here in Unicoi County to promote the Appalachian Trail and to encourage others to get involved," said Hensley. "I have always felt that we have some great resources in the people of this area and it is very rewarding to be part of a program designed to get them involved."
Martin graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Master's Degree in Computer Science. He is an ATC member and a Life Scout in Boy Scouts of America. As an A.T. Community Ambassador, he plans to volunteer his time maintaining the Trail and providing support to hikers. As an avid outdoorsman, Martin frequently hikes along the A.T. and kayaks in the Nolichucky River.
The Appalachian Trail Community program is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the A.T. Towns, counties, and communities along the A.T.'s corridor are considered assets by A.T. hikers and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. The program serves to assist communities with local initiatives such as sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation, while preserving and protecting the A.T. Since the program's inception in 2010, 28 communities have been designated with 5-10 communities expected to be entered into the program in 2013.
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The A.T. is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at approximately 2,180 miles in length. It is the longest hiking- only footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours of their time doing trail-related work each year, and about 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's mission is 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. For more information please visit http://www.appalachiantrail.org.