Matthew Bateman, local expert with Stay And Play In The Smokies, recently presented Bill Van Horn, volunteer representative with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, a check in the amount of $327.
The donation was generated via social media platform, Facebook, and was designed to highlight and raise awareness of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.), as well as Franklin’s new designation as an official A.T. Gateway Community. Franklin is now one of only fourteen cities designated as A.T. Communities at this time.
Bill Van Horn, is a member of the Nantahala Hiking Club, the local Appalachian Trail maintaining club. The funds will be used by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the thirty-one clubs who also help to maintain the Trail.
Bateman wished to express his opinion that western North Carolina (particularly Jackson, Macon & Swain Cos.) is “an outdoor lover’s dream.” He also feels having the designation can be of positive benefit to both those who utilize the Trail and local area businesses.
Stay And Play In The Smokies was able to garner many supporters through their website and proficient utilization of social media as a unique way to interact with visitors planning a trip to see the ‘quieter side of the Smokies’ and local residents.