Campfire Chat: Appalachian Trail Progress (with Andrew Downs)

Our Campfire Chat with Andrew Downs, regional director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), discusses what makes the Roanoke Region’s trail section so special. Thanks to stunning vistas, easy access, and proximity to our metro area, the Roanoke Region boast one of the most popular destinations along trail. We also discuss ongoing efforts to protect viewsheds and improve the crowded and dangerous trailhead near the popular McAfee Knob.

Virginia has the most mileage of the Appalachian Trail (AT) of any of the states it passes through, with 544 miles of AT out of the 2190 miles right here in the state. That’s 24% of the iconic trail. McAfee Knob in Roanoke County is known as the most photographed spot on the entire trail network, making it therefore one of the most recognizable spots as well.

Julia Boas, marketing director for the Roanoke Regional Partnership, spoke with Andrew about moving to Roanoke from North Carolina and how quickly he and his family embedded themselves in the outdoor culture here. Andrew also highlights the consistent effort required to protect public lands and essential pieces of trail currently on private property.

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