Round Hill Appalachian Trail Committee
Round Hill is perfectly located between two Appalachian Trail visitor centers. Bears Den is located five miles to the west and the Blackburn Center is located five miles to the north. If a visitor wanted to visit both places on the same day, they would have to drive through Round Hill’s Central Commercial District. Bears Den provides a gateway connecting people to the infamous “roller coaster” section of the Appalachian Trail. Bears Den Lodge and Hostel is located in a historic stone mansion, on 66 acres of land, 150 yards from the Appalachian Trail. At 1,350 feet, the Bears Den Rocks provide a panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The westward-looking view provides a prime spot for the sunset. In 2014, about 1,900 people visited Bears Den.
The Blackburn Center is primarily designed to support: long distance hikers, trail crews, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club planning meetings, and training seminars. It is also used as a venue for special events such as weddings. Located on 150-acres of land and backing up to the Appalachian Trail, the Blackburn Center can accommodate up to 80 plus people for a day event and has indoor lodging space for 30 people with at least 30 more using tent spaces and the adjoining campground. In 2014, about 1,000 people visited the Blackburn Center. Visitors include: day hikers, thru hikers, section hikers, boy scouts, girl scouts, and private groups.
Round Hill considers the Appalachian Trail as one of its most unique assets and views the trail as an excellent opportunity to boost the local economy. The 2017 Comprehensive Plan set forth the goal to promote environmental stewardship as a mechanism to increase community viability, economic health, and sense of place in Round Hill.
The Town Council wants to increase connections between Round Hill and the Appalachian Trail to promote community awareness and increase knowledge of the trail as a local asset. The following is the Town of Round Hill’s Strategy to become a member of the Appalachian Trail Community™ national designation network.
1. Establish a Round Hill Appalachian Trail Advisory Committee made up of local Appalachian Trail volunteers and supporters.
2. Include the Appalachian Trail in Town marketing and provide educational materials at the Town Office.
3. Increase dialogue with county officials about the importance of the Appalachian Trail to Round Hill.
4. Encourage local residents to volunteer at the Bears Den and Blackburn Trail Centers.
5. Educate residents on the benefits of membership in the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
6. Maintain a partnership with Round Hill Elementary School to encourage teachers and students to take part in Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC)
7. Incorporate Outdoors & Nature Tourism as well as Environmental Stewardship into the Town Marketing & Economic Development Programs
The Appalachian Trail Community™ program is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Towns along the A.T.’s corridor are considered assets by all that use the A.T., and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. The program serves to assist communities with sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation while preserving and protecting the A.T.
The Town hosted two kick-off meetings to form the Round Hill Appalachian Trail Committee. This Committee will work together to submit the application to become an Appalachian Trail Community and develop future A.T. programs/projects.
- July 20 – 9 am Appalachian Trail Community Kick-off Meeting
- July 27 – 6:30 pm Appalachian Trail Community Kick-off Meeting
The application to become an Appalachian Trail Community is due March 1, 2018. The Round Hill Appalachian Trail Committee plans to submit their final draft of their application to the Town Council by February 1, 2018 for their approval and resolution of support.
The next Appalachian Trail Committee Meeting is September 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm at 23 Main Street (Town Office).