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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."
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    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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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    A friend who was up the last couple of days reports the front of the NoBo thru-hikers are reaching the Whites and complaining that they wanted to stay at a hostel or motel in New Hampshire just across from Vermont and they were closed.

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    There has been at least one thruhiker that has finished at BSP. He sneaked in. I have seen folks claim that they are northbounders in the last three weeks in the whites. Some folks regard the closure as a way of making their elected way of spending 4 to 5 months in the woods more special. Thru hikers prior to the big ramp up in number corresponding with the pbulication of the A Walk in the Woods and the year 2000 probably had equivalent accommodations or services.

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I saw one last weekend on the Twinway.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I have seen folks claim that they are northbounders in the last three weeks in the whites. Some folks regard the closure as a way of making their elected way of spending 4 to 5 months in the woods more special. Thru hikers prior to the big ramp up in number corresponding with the pbulication of the A Walk in the Woods and the year 2000 probably had equivalent accommodations or services.
    In some ways, yes, this would be the ideal year to thru-hike, at least in terms of not having a huge bubble of hikers to deal with. Then again, that's what attracts some of them. (Not me, in case you couldn't tell.)

    There were a handful of thru-hikers in PA when I was out a week or two ago. However, Pennsylvania has official closed all of its shelters to overnight use. It's a bit of a wink-wink system, and I passed a few in a shelter who were obviously overnighting there. One caretaker I spoke with in Michaux State Park said that they would normally have forty overnighters that time of year (thru hikers and others), and instead just had a couple every few nights.
    "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

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    I sectioned the AT over a period of years and tried to avoid the Nobo bubble. I caught the front end of the bubble down south in 2002 in VA, crowds of hikers descending on a shelter right around dark with entitlement issues. Hiking away from the bubble most of the time we ended up with near empty shelters as most of the AT is only really used by thru hikers outside of the national parks and New England. The trade off with hiking in the fall down south was dry springs as most of the AT is on the ridgeline.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Probably no data available. But it would be interesting to know what the number of thru hikers are that had to get off the trail after contracting Covid 19. After or before heeding the warnings. Did ignoring the warnings actually work out to be OK? Also how many asymptomatic carriers are there out on the trail moving the virus up and down the Appalachia. Then when they finish they will be potentially taking back home with them. Probably questions that will never be answered. But I won't personally be giving just a wink any time too soon.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I have two now-retired (JEALOUS) former colleagues who are now riding their bicycles across the country from Virginia to Washington and they are running into many closed facilities (food, lodging) that have sprung up along that route, much like the ones along the AT. There is thought to be one other group out their at the same time, so far, far fewer than in non-Covid-19 times. FWIW.

    Tim
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    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    I have two now-retired (JEALOUS) former colleagues who are now riding their bicycles across the country from Virginia to Washington and they are running into many closed facilities (food, lodging) that have sprung up along that route, much like the ones along the AT.
    Yeah, I'm amazed at the folks taking them in and helping them out. Trail magic works on bikes as well, but I wonder at what volume of people it breaks down.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    ""I just didn’t think about that stuff. I was so focused on mileage goals to get it done in four months or less," said one hiker. That "stuff" would be the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, his own role in potentially spreading the virus from town to town, and that fact that his hike was breaking laws in several states."

    "“By hiking now, you have created a narrative that says, ‘My personal needs and desires outweigh a greater societal mission. At the end of the day, what’s really important is what I want,’” says Sandi Marra, the ATC’s president and CEO."


    The Thru-Hikers Who Finished the AT During the Pandemic

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    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Do you want the AT removed from Baxter, Lana? Because that's how you get the AT removed from Baxter.

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    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B the Hiker View Post
    ""I just didn’t think about that stuff. I was so focused on mileage goals to get it done in four months or less," said one hiker. That "stuff" would be the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, his own role in potentially spreading the virus from town to town, and that fact that his hike was breaking laws in several states."

    "“By hiking now, you have created a narrative that says, ‘My personal needs and desires outweigh a greater societal mission. At the end of the day, what’s really important is what I want,’” says Sandi Marra, the ATC’s president and CEO."


    The Thru-Hikers Who Finished the AT During the Pandemic
    Wow. Just...wow.

    NB: from the article:

    In New Hampshire’s White Mountains, [Underwood's] pace slowed to one mile per hour as he broke new trail through thigh-deep snow."

    Dude -- you weren't breaking trail, you were postholing on already-broken trail.

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