The Appalachian Trail Game Story
The Appalachian Trail Game was born on one of Mark's regular hikes between Max Patch and Hot Springs, NC after passing by Walnut Mountain shelter. It had been completely trashed, and after cleaning up the site and packing up the trash, he began envisioning a fun and engaging way to teach people abour responsible trail ethics. Mark transformed his idea into a board game, and two years later, thanks to a small grant awarded through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's (ATC) License Plate grant program, we were able to develop the prototype game. Originally called Thru Hike.
A small team of talented educators, artists, conservationists and backpackers formed to turn that prototype into a fully realized product, The Appalachian Trail Game. In August of 2O14, we launched the game on Kicktstarter and were overjoyed with the response. We achieved our goal in the first 48 hours, and by the end of the campaign, we were over-funded by almost 6OO%. Since that time, we have sold over 8,OOO copies and donated over 2OO games to non profit organizations, schools, and volunteer hiking clubs. The game has received rave reviews by teachers, hikers, A.T. volunteers, and players of all ages.
In 2O15, we built new partnerships with Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and the American Hiking Society to help create the new content for the Special Edition version of the game. We launched this game via a second successful Kickstarter campaign in August of that same year. We are proud to be part of the #ProtectYourTrail campaign that integrates various strategies to educate new hikers about Leave No Trace principles and ways to get involved with volunteer trail clubs.
Outdoor Edutainment, LLC is a small, two-person company based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC. Both educators, avid backpackers and hikers, our company was born out of a love for being out in wild nature and the desire to inspire and encourage others to explore the joy of being in nature! We design board games and educational resources that encourage people to not only get outside, but also to become a part of the growing movement of people stepping up to take care of and advocate for our most precious natural resources -- our trails, parks, forests, oceans, coral reefs, and open spaces.
Mark Hanf, our founder, is a middle school math and science teacher, eagle scout, and game designer whose home sits just over a mile from the A.T. in Madison County, NC. Kristin Peppel brings a background in conservation planning, trail community development, environmental education and coaching. Kristin worked closely with the ATC to design the current A.T. Community Program and has spent countless hours hiking on the A.T.
An important part of our business model is to give back to those organizations who work so tirelessly to protect and manage these national treasures. When you purchase one of our games, 5% of your purchase will go directly to these amazing groups.