Part I: Background info on organization

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) provokes a sense of wonder and adventure for millions of people each year. This 2,190 miles long footpath is the longest of its kind in the world, passes through 14 east coast states, and is protected, maintained and cared for by our client, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC).

The A.T. plays host to millions of visitors each year, offering natural, scenic and recreational opportunities, and contributing to cultural, historic and community-oriented values of the surrounding areas. To ensure those important attributes are protected, the Appalachian Trail Landscape Partnership was founded in 2015, fostering the idea of collaborative conservation with nearly 100 partners who have a stake in the Trail.

Part I: The challenge they were facing

As you may imagine, it takes a herculean effort to coordinate the stewardship of this valuable realm of wonder and beauty. The ATC leads and coordinates efforts with local, state, and federal partners including the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, dozens of state agencies and 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs. They needed a central platform to unite all Trail oriented groups and efforts under one banner that fully encompasses all aspects of Trail conservation, protection, education, maintenance, and care.

Wild East was the solution; a new movement spearheaded by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy uniting many aspects of the Appalachian Trail under one banner and amplifying their mission to throughout the USA and the world. Next, they needed a platform to unify the efforts and messages of the ATC and its partners to adventurers, friends, and supporters of the Trail.  

Part III: Our solution

We worked with the ATC to create wildeast.org, a virtual representation of the Wild East with the A.T. as the centerpiece.

The phased microsite is used in conjunction with an integrated marketing campaign including grassroots, digital and partnerships bringing greater attention to the A.T. and the lands surrounding its 2,192-mile length from Maine to Georgia.

The initiative also brings greater focus to the threats to the Trail and its surrounding ecology including urban sprawl, poorly-planned infrastructure projects and the impacts of climate change. We created a section of the website specifically dedicated to rallying support, action, and mobilization on behalf of the Wild East.

Part IV: The Results

On January 23, 2019, the ATC officially announced Wild East and received a strong reception. The website we created saw a substantial amount of traffic and continues to serve as a key platform in spreading the news of Wild East. The campaign is still in the early stages of the process so results are still being tracked but the site has created a very firm foundation for future growth.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy hired Cross & Crown and then, immediately, gave them the assignment to help us introduce our very important Wild East branding campaign. The turnaround was, quite frankly, ridiculous to meet our tight delivery.  Nevertheless, Cross & Crown came through on deadline with spot-on strategy and beautiful and compelling design. We launched our new campaign at wildeast.org. People noticed…and the compliments continue! My team and I chalk this up to Cross & Crown and can enthusiastically recommend their expertise. We continue to work with them to expand on the Wild East site and rethink the ATC website.

– Lynn Davis, Vice President Strategic Communications

We look forward to seeing how this site furthers the message of the ATC and unites past, current, and future Trail lovers in mission and purpose for years to come.

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