The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is now accepting applications for its Conservation Assistance Mini-Grant Program. The purpose of the program is to help local municipalities and partnering nonprofits preserve and promote community character, sense of place, and local natural and cultural assets within the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) landscape in Pennsylvania. Eligible projects must be located within counties and municipalities that lie along the A.T. This year, $40,000 in grants will be awarded with a required 20 percent local match. Additional funding may be available for exemplary projects. Application deadlines are rolling until December 31, 2016.
Priority will be given to proposals within the A.T. landscape (includes Kittatinny Ridge & Corridor and South Mountain Landscapes) for development or enhancement of planning documents, zoning and subdivision/land developed ordinance amendments, and municipal capacity-building. However, eligible projects can align with broader goals of successful conservation and Trail-related awareness campaigns or planning and protection strategies, which are designed to protect trail values. These can include ecologic and natural resources; scenic forested, agricultural, or open area viewsheds; and heritage or cultural resources. Funding cannot be used for land acquisition projects or trail connections to the A.T. Additional favorable consideration is given to projects involving collaboration between multiple partners; location within the Lehigh Gap Region; designation as or relation to an A.T. Community™ and/or participating Trail to Every Classroom School; and formation or enhancement of a municipal Environment Advisory Council (eacnetwork.org).
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mini-grant program emphasizes proactive protection of large landscape through development of planning and zoning tools that promote smart growth in the Appalachian Trail landscape”, said Brooks Mountcastle, the ATC’s environmental planner. “With this funding, the ATC desires to foster local stewardship and promotion of these assets, as well as encourage sustained public/private collaborations.”
The Kittatinny Ridge & Corridor is a large landscape identified for preservation and supported by a DCNR-funded conservation project co-led by the ATC and Audubon Pennsylvania. The project co-leads are joined by a partner group to build capacity and help accomplish share goals. The partner group is known as the Kittatinny Coalition – an alliance of organizations, agencies, and academic institutions working together to conserve the natural, scenic, cultural, and aesthetic resources of the Kittatinny Ridge in Pennsylvania. The Coalition’s key role is to be a facilitator and leader in projects that preserve and promote the region’s natural and cultural assets. Learn more about and engage with the Kittatinny Ridge and Corridor at www.kittatinnyridge.org.
Funds for the ATC Conservation Assistance Mini-Grant Program come from the National Park Service’s Appalachian Trail Park Office and are provided to the ATC through a cooperative agreement.
To download an application packet, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/PAact24. Contact Brooks Mountcastle at 717-258-5771 with any questions.