AT license plates fund mini trail grants

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy will hand out mini-grants for projects in the region that benefit the long-distance hiking trail.

Grants can include trail work, conservation projects and trail promotion and education. Past projects have included:

• Efforts by the Nantahala Hiking Club to help the town of Franklin become an official “Trail Town.”

• Construction of a trail on the grounds of Cartoogechaye Elementary School in Franklin.

• Construction of a trail on the grounds of Summit Charter School in Cashiers.

• Trail maintenance and improvements to trail shelters.

• Bear cables at backcountry trail shelters.

• Controlling invasive, exotic plant species.

• Eforts to keep the bald on Roan Mountain from growing up, including a roving goat herd.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy will give out $25,000 in grants, not to exceed $5,000 per grant. The grants are funded through proceeds from the specialty AT license plates, which raised $116,000 last year for the AT Conservancy.

Applications are due by March 5. Go to www.appalachiantrail.org/ncgrant.

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