On July 23, 2020, National Park Trust donated 239 acres of land in one of the most popular areas of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) to the National Park Service. The project began in the fall of 2018, when the Park Trust volunteered to be temporary owner of the tract in Hogan Hollow, Virginia. It was necessary because the landowner wanted to sell it before the National Park Service was ready to accept it. In June 2019, the Park Trust accepted the deed to the property, holding it for the next 13 months. The ATC used a grant from the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to buy the property, with technical assistance from The Conservation Fund.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy gives its sincere thanks to the National Park Trust for making the preservation of Hogan Hollow a reality,” said Sandra Marra, President and CEO of the ATC. “This acquisition will help preserve the views from McAfee Knob, one of the most beloved locations on the entire Appalachian Trail, and ensures that the area’s natural beauty and ecologically important lands are preserved for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations.”

Wendy Janssen, superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, said about the acquisition, “This acquisition highlights the power of partnership in preserving and protecting the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The National Park Service thanks all those involved for their commitment and support to secure the Hogan Hollow property and this critical viewshed for the enjoyment and benefit of all.”

View of Hogan Hollow from McAfee Knob. Image courtesy of Christin Healey.

Thousands of hikers see Hogan Hollow from McAfee Knob each year. The 3,197-foot overlook is thought to be one of the most scenic views on the A.T. It’s been said that more pictures are taken there than any other place on the trail. This view could dramatically change if the property was developed or the trees cut, which happened on neighboring land. This project also protects a section of the trail which runs through the property.

National Park Trust’s Executive Director Grace Lee stated, “We are delighted to provide our assistance and expertise to benefit the preservation of our national park sites, and are pleased to be able to assist the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in preserving this land for park visitors to enjoy in perpetuity.”

Hogan Hollow is the Park Trust’s fourth completed project to acquire land for the A.T. In conjunction with conservation partners, 1.5 acres at South Mountain, MD in 1996, 219 acres near Pawling, NY were added in 2018, and 1,494 acres at Bald Mountain Pond, ME in 2019. Read the press release.

Project Details:

Project Years: 2019-2020 

Parcel Size: 239 acres 

Project Cost: $320,000

Park Trust Role: Hold title temporarily for NPS

Long Term Significance of the Acquisition:
  • Ensures protection of views from McAfee Knob and other viewpoints along the trail.
  • Increases protection of the trail corridor from additional development.
  • Addition replaces narrower trail easement with wider area on that section of the trail as a better buffer from other land uses.
Value to the Park and Public:
  • Preserves visitor enjoyment of the natural views along the trail.
  • Fee ownership gives better management control of acreage.
  • Wider trail buffer helps keep sights and sounds from impacting hiking experience there.