ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Registration is now open for the 2013 Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Biennial conference, scheduled for July 19-26, at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. The event is hosted by the five southern Appalachian Trail (A.T.) maintaining clubs and convenes Trail managers, hikers, and fans to celebrate and conserve the iconic National Scenic Trail.
The program includes 137 organized hikes, 70 workshops, live music, dancing, and trips to some of the region’s best activities.
Hikes are planned on the A.T. and other regional trails. Workshop topics cover hiking, trail maintenance, natural wonders, cultural history, and volunteer leadership development. Activities include rafting, zip-lining, touring Asheville’s booming art scene, and visiting the Carl Sandburg Home and the Biltmore Estate.
“This event is only held in the southeast once every eight years, so the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited to bring this informative and entertaining event to North Carolina to showcase the Appalachian Trail and the surrounding beauty,” Morgan Sommerville, regional director of the ATC.
Organizers expect 1,000 participants of all ages for the celebration of the A.T. The Biennial also serves as the general business meeting of the ATC’s membership; this meeting will take place on Saturday evening, July 20.
Contra dancing, music from Southern Exposure and Buncombe Turnpike, presentations about hiking long trails, and a Cherokee storyteller make up the rest of the evening entertainment scheduled Sunday through Thursday. Evening activities are open to the public with a $7 nightly ticket.
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. About 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
For more about the conference or to register, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/2013biennial.