Page Gets AT Designation

County Recognized As Trail Community

Posted: May 13, 2013

Stanley resident Will Meade, who hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2012, speaks during the Appalachian Trail community designation ceremony in Luray. The town of Luray and Page County were officially granted the designation by trail officials. (Photos by Jason Lenhart)
Jim Northrop, superintendent of Shenandoah National Park talks during the Appalachian Trail community designation ceremony on Saturday in Luray. Northrop said the designation helps raise the profile of communities that receive it.

LURAY — Page County, the Cabin Capital of Virginia, can add another selling point to its outdoorsy resume.


The county and the town of Luray have earned the Appalachian Trail Community designation, becoming only the 30th place to get the distinction along the trail’s 2,180 miles.


Officials representing Page County and the towns of Luray, Shenandoah and Stanley — the county’s three incorporated towns — held a ceremony Saturday to mark the occasion along with representatives of the National Park Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and hikers.


The event was held in Ruffner Plaza in downtown Luray as part of the town’s Festival of Spring.


Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves, Stanley Mayor Doug Purdham and Shenandoah Mayor Clinton Lucas officially accepted the designation by signing a proclamation at the ceremony.


Awarded by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the designation recognizes communities for their efforts to promote the AT.


The Journey


The designation aims to increase local stewardship and to support sustainable economic development and conservation planning, according to the conservancy.


“We will take that responsibility seriously,” Presgraves said. “We know it’s not given to every locality.”


Other communities in the region with the distinction include Harrisonburg, Buena Vista, and Front Royal and Warren County.


“This type of partnership and community engagement is a model,” said Wendy Janssen, superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.


Jim Northrop, superintendent of Shenandoah National Park, which the AT runs through, said the designation helps raise the profile of communities that receive it.


“There is both local pride and significant economic benefits,” he said.


Will Meade, 33, of Stanley, described his experience hiking the length of the trail last summer. The trail runs from Georgia to Maine.


He walked through “every kind of weather imaginable” and got battered and bruised along the way. But, he said, it was worth it.


Meade said it’s too difficult to summarize his experience or pick out any one moment after more than six months encountering wildlife, wildflowers, fall foliage and sunsets.


But one thing does elevate the journey, he said, and it may be a little unexpected.


“What makes the trail so special,” he said, “is the people.”


Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or

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