Volgenau Foundation

Grant a Win for A.T.

Landscape Protection

View from the Pinnacle on the A.T. in Pennsylvania – part of 10 Priority Focus Areas within the A.T. Landscape Photo by Raymond Salini III

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) landscape conservation program was given a significant boost with the announcement that the Volgenau Foundation has awarded the ATC its largest ever foundation grant. The Virginia-based Foundation has pledged $3 million to the ATC over the next three years to support the A.T. Landscape Partnership campaign. Half of the grant will cover campaign expenses, and the other $1.5 million will help to fund land purchases along the A.T. in our Priority Focus Areas. “This is by far the largest funding commitment from one donor in the ATC’s history,” says retiring president and CEO, Ron Tipton. “A successful program to advance conservation of this national treasure for future generations requires both targeted land acquisition and a sustainable campaign. The Volgenau Foundation grant just moved us one giant step closer to achieving our goals.” The ATC, in partnership with the National Park Service, has launched a comprehensive strategic Landscape Conservation Initiative to permanently protect highly valued areas within the A.T. landscape. The Appalachian Trail and its surrounding lands are widely regarded as the most critically important ecological and cultural landscape in the eastern United States. The A.T. corridor connects rural communities, pristine watersheds, working farms and forests, squeezes through rapidly developing regions, and provides the foundation for world-class outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities. The Volgenau Foundation grant will provide financial support and leverage for major land protection projects in partnership with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, state and local agencies, and key private conservation partners. The ATC and its coalition of partners have identified 10 Priority Focus Areas within the A.T. Landscape. Each of these focus areas feature a diversity of conservation value, as well as threats to the integrity of these landscapes, and opportunities and partnerships to protect these special places. The grant will also support the ATC’s leadership and staffing to organize and coordinate the work of the A.T. Landscape Partnership. This campaign is designed to leverage the commitment of those who hike the Trail, the public and private partners who manage the Trail, and surrounding communities and key conservation partners working together to protect high-priority ecosystems, watersheds, and scenic vistas throughout the A.T. landscape.