Appalachian Angels


Grey Gowder


Appalachian Trail in Georgia and North Carolina



Grey made this short film as an homage to the teams of volunteers who maintain the Appalachian Trail. These dedicated stewards are known as Trail Angels and this is just part of their story. This short film was intended as a proof of concept to make a feature-length film or series on the trail and its guardian Trail Angels.

The story of the iconic Appalachian Trail and the dedicated volunteers who partner with the National Parks Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to maintain and preserve it for future generations.


50 years after it was first established, the iconic Appalachian Trail still attracts thousands of through hikers and weekend adventurers, first timers and trail veterans. The trail calls to the adventurous spirit, whether pulled by a love of the natural world like John Muir or by a desire for meaning like Bill Bryson. The trail is more than a series of white blazes through the backcountry of Appalachia. It is something iconically American and deeply human, a connection not only to the natural world but to our inner world.

The Project

Grey believes that our public lands and our parks are as essential to our identities as a nation as the Constitution and that it takes the will of the people to protect and preserve these lands for future generations. This film will show this in action by exploring partnership between volunteers, nonprofits, and the National Parks service to maintain and preserve the iconic Appalachian Trail. The main conflict is between national interest and engagement with public lands and the effects of time and natural processes in making these spaces disappear. Ultimately, the goal of the film is for the audience to feel inspired by the work of these volunteers to go out and to make a difference in their communities and to understand that the future of our national historic trails, parks, and landmarks depends as much upon the community volunteer as it does the nonprofit or the federal and state government.

The Volunteers

For 50 years, the trail has endured thanks to the legacy of generations of volunteers in partnership with the National Parks Service and the National Forest Service, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Today, the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club is one of several organizations along the trail working to preserve it for future generations while instilling the philosophies of good stewardship and “Leave No Trace” to local communities. As a new season of through hiking begins in the 50th year of its existence, the GATC ventures onto the trail to prepare the way.