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Applications available for special plate
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The design has been selected, now the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is looking for 1,000 to apply for Georgia’s Appalachian Trail specialty license plate.

Each applicant must submit a special interest/commemorative license plate application and a $25 manufacturing fee to Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that oversees the trail.

The conservancy has about two years — until April 14, 2011 — to get 1,000 paid applications before the special interest plate will be manufactured.

If that doesn’t happen, the plate won’t be made and all applications fees will be returned to applicants.

But once the conservancy does get the 1,000 required, the group will submit one check in the amount of $25,000 to cover all manufacturing fees and all applications for the proposed license plate to the state. This will initiate production.

The effort to get an Appalachian Trail license plate in Georgia was started by a group of hiking enthusiasts, mostly members of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club.

The 2,175-mile foot path, commonly called the “A.T.” by hikers, begins at Springer Mountain, near Amicalola Falls in neighboring Dawson County, and ends at Mount Katahdin in Maine.

North Carolina already has an Appalachian Trail license plate available. Tennessee and Virginia are in the process of getting approval for theirs.

The trail is part of the National Park Service and was designated 40 years ago as the first national scenic trail.

Maintained by volunteers, the trail could use some financial help. Proceeds collected from the Georgia plate will go to the 75 miles of the trail in Georgia.

Under a proposed agreement, $10 of that fee would be returned to the conservancy.

The money would be used on trail projects, including trail and facilities maintenance, scenic easements and view preservation, environmental monitoring, increased public information, and education and outreach to Georgia residents.