Helen and White County Celebrates!

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Helen and White County Leaders Celebrate A.T. Community Designation
Photo courtesy Charles Ernst

Town leaders, county officials, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club (GATC) volunteers, ATC, US Forest Service and others making up around 75 people were in Helen, GA on Fri Nov 30th celebrating the newest A.T. Community. After a beautiful national anthem played by GATC volunteer and lead in getting the application processed, Charles Aiken, the event kicked off with a welcome from the emcee and A.T. Community Committee chair, Steve Gibson.

Forest Supervisor of Chattahoochee National Forest, Randy Warbington
Photo courtesy Charles Ernst
Tom Aderhold
Photo Courtesy Charles Ernst

Tom Aderhold, a GATC past president and Park Service 50 Year of Service Awardee, spoke about some of the Club’s early trials with the southern terminus and the significance of the Club’s work on the Trail’s development and protection.  After excited remarks from the Mayor, the Forest Supervisor, GATC president, ATC’s Executive Director and a proclamation signing with the county commission chairman and Mayor, the crowd  walked up the road to an old lodge steeped in history, relevant to GATC and the Trail. Around the ceremony were historic pictures of early GATC meetings that took place at the Greear Lodge.  David Greear, the grandson of the GATC member who gathered the club at his abode, currently lives at the lodge and invited the public back there for a reception and recreation of one of the early photos.

David Greear describes the 1930’s photo and invites everyone back for the reception
Photo courtesy Charles Ernst
Recreation of the 1930’s GATC meeting and photo
Photo courtesy Charles Ernst
1931 GATC meeting
Photo courtesy David Greear

For more pictures of the ceremony and reception:

More on White County:

With its rich cultural heritage – dating back to the Gold Rush of the 1820s – White County has always invested in the community’s history. With money and resources devoted to cultural centers such as the Sautee Nachoochee Center and the Folk Pottery Museum, White County displays an unwavering commitment to preserving and protecting the county’s diverse background, while also educating tourists and residents on the historical events that took place here, none of which are any less significant than the start of the Appalachian Trail!

Hikers who begin the A.T. in the foothills of White County are surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty – nestled among winding vineyards and scenic state parks. Wildlife, waterfalls and covered bridges find their home in White County, and it’s no wonder that so many choose to start the hike of a lifetime here.

Others flock to the area to enjoy the famous Babyland General, home to the timeless Cabbage Patch Dolls. With festivals held year-round – from Helen’s Oktoberfest to Unicoi State Park’s Festival of Trees – White County offers something for every season – and everyone.

For more information on White County, visit: