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Thread: ATC working on how to re-open the trail to thru hikers

  1. #1
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    ATC working on how to re-open the trail to thru hikers

    https://thetrek.co/atc-begins-planni...lachian-trail/

    Interesting article, in that they want something science-based to see how to re-open the trail.

    As a side note, I was hiking on Tunxis Trail in Connecticut yesterday, and hiked past a shelter with signs from the State's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection clearly stating the shelter was closed, and still there was a fire going, and a hammock stretched out. I don't have a sense if anyone is thru-hiking the AT right now, but I suspect more than a few are and are just doing it on the down-low.

    Brian

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    Just like during the government shutdowns, ATC can only make recommendations for closures of the parts of the AT that are on NPS lands, the NPS actually does the closure of their owned lands. Currently they also seem to call the shots in non NPS owned federal lands but that could change with the Buckeye pipeline project appeal currently in front of the Supreme Court. Some of the AT is on state owned lands and only exists as a permanent easement. The states control these easement lands and can close them but the ATC or the NPS cannot. Franconia Notch state park is an example.

    This was also a point of contention a few years ago when the BSP director sent correspondence to the ATC and MATC that the ATs continued presence through BSP was in doubt unless the ATC and MATC stepped up to prevent documented impacts of a surplus of thru hikers entering the park. BSP contended they had the right to close access via the AT. There were various behind the scenes negotiations but the net result is that thruhikers must get a free permit to enter via the AT, once 3500 permits are issued, the AT is closed and any thruhiker will have to enter via the Togue Pond gate using the regular guest policies which require reservations. Luckily the 3500 number has not yet been reached but I expect some legal clashes if it does with respect to if BSP has the right.

    BTW since I am an "employee" of the NPS as I am AT volunteer, to date I have not been informed not to work on the AT like I was during shutdowns.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 05-04-2020 at 08:30 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B the Hiker View Post
    https://thetrek.co/atc-begins-planni...lachian-trail/

    I don't have a sense if anyone is thru-hiking the AT right now, but I suspect more than a few are and are just doing it on the down-low.

    Brian
    There are a few thru-hikers still, though many/most ended their thru-hike. In a sense, it's 'lucky' when the shutdown happened because the vast majority hadn't gotten very far. I imagine if the shutdown occurred when the bubble was already in New England, many would have chosen to finish up instead.
    "People hardly ever make use of the freedom which they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation."
    --Soren Kierkegaard, 1838

  4. #4
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    https://www.outsideonline.com/241272...ng-coronavirus "The Appalachian Trail Hostels That Will Not Close: In the South, a series of hostels have welcomed hikers, defying trail closures and guidelines. They say they're acting on behalf of their communities."

    I thought I posted this article last week, but now I don't see, so maybe I didn't. Interesting read about a couple of AT hostels that are open to thru-hikers.

    From their accounts, they've had about 160 thru-hikers already, and the estimate is that there are about 300 on the trail at the moment.

    Brian

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