Honoring Senator Susan Collins, Senator Mark Udall, & Retired Appalachian Trail Superintendent Pamela UnderhillWASHINGTON, April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will recognize leaders in conservation during their fourth-annual Awards Gala in Washington, DC on May 15, 2013. This year's honorees include Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, and Pamela Underhill, retired Superintendent of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Awards will be presented by Jim Cantore, the Weather Channel's Meteorologist and Storm Tracker. All proceeds will benefit the ATC. Senator Collins and Senator Udall have been nominated to receive the ATC's Congressional Leadership Award. Senator Collins is being honored for her long history of supporting efforts to protect and preserve America's parks, greenways, and forests, through her support of the Forest Legacy Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Senator Udall is being honored for spearheading numerous programs and legislative initiatives designed to protect our precious landscapes across the U.S. He is a strong supporter of the LWCF, National Park Service (NPS), and the U.S. Forest Service. Underhill is being honored with the Vanguard Award for acquiring hundreds of land tracts to protect the A.T., creating a lasting legacy of land conservation and a cooperative management system that will steward the lands acquired for generations to come. "Over the past few decades the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, along with countless agencies and partners, have worked hard to protect the Appalachian Trail. This would not be possible without the dedication and cooperation of such leaders as Senator Udall, Senator Collins, and Pam Underhill," stated Mark Wenger, Executive Director/CEO of the ATC. Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs for this event. Terry L. Lierman and Goodloe E. Byron Jr. will serve as Co-Chairs of the Host Committee. The A.T. is a unit of the National Park System, ranging from Maine to Georgia, at approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. This event is sponsored by the Bavarian Inn, ENO, Expedia Inc., Patton Boggs LLP, Summit Global Ventures, Toyota North America Inc., and Walmart.