The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has been paying close attention to how demographic changes will impact the recreational use and preservation of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,190-mile footpath that extends along the US East Coast, from Georgia to Maine.
They asked us to partner with them on a research and strategy project to:
Support their 5-Year Broader Relevancy Goal and strategic vision
Audit and synthesize existing programs, research, and their internal organization
Identify opportunities to engage with a younger and more diverse audience, with the goal of protecting the trail for future generations
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is fortunate to work with a very dedicated and talented team. They needed our help to process the work that had already been done, facilitate conversation between the organization and its partners, highlight opportunities, and make recommendations for their next steps forward. We did this through:
Audit of Existing Materials & Research
We dug into secondary research materials provided by the ATC team, its partners and peer organizations related to demographics and diversity in the outdoors. This set a foundation for our primary research, which focused more closely on the Appalachian Trail and its internal team.
Interviews & Surveys
Our team reached out to program partners, expert advisors in the field, and members of their organization spanning 14 states along the Appalachian Trail.
We facilitated a workshop with over 50 elementary school teachers enrolled in the Trails to Every Classroom Institute (TTEC), who were looking for tools, training and resources to engage their students (our future generations), in place-based service learning on the Appalachian Trail and local community.
Our work was shared with the ATC through a series of presentations to the staff and board, and resulted in the following: