April 30, 2021
Trailway News: It’s Gonna Be May
Happy last day of April! The days are getting longer, and there is positive news about the COVID-19 pandemic and outdoor recreation. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated mask guidance for outdoor activities: folks (vaccinated or not) no longer need to wear masks when they “walk, run, or bike outdoors with members of your household,” and small groups of both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people can meet outdoors safely.
Visitors to the Appalachian Trail should still be prepared to wear a mask outdoors in crowded or confined spaces when social distancing isn’t possible — examples include shelters, crowded trailheads and vistas, riding in shuttles/vehicles, and indoors when in town. Because of this, we still recommend that hikers always bring a personal shelter for overnight camping trips. See our tips for camping on the A.T. during the pandemic by clicking here.
Hike safely, everyone!
Emergency Trail Closure
Wildfire Closes A.T. Near Dragon’s Tooth in Virginia
UPDATE: This section of the Trail officially reopened on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Our thanks go to the dedicated firefighters who worked nonstop to get the fire contained!
ORIGINAL MESSAGE: Due to an active wildfire (the Mason Cove Fire), there is a 7.4-mile closure on the A.T. between SR 621/Upper Craig Creek (NOBO mile 689.3) and SR 620/ Miller Cove Road (NOBO mile 696.7), just south of Dragon’s Tooth in the Brush Mountain East Wilderness. Please avoid this area for your safety and to allow firefighters to do their work safely and efficiently. We will post more information and updates when available at appalachiantrail.org/updates.
Nominations Open for ATC Board of Directors
Nominations are now open for positions on the ATC’s Board of Directors! We’re looking for candidates who bring professional/experiential knowledge in key areas including land trust operations, conservation and/or climate change policy advocacy, and cooperative management systems. Nominations are accepted until June 11, 2021. Elections and certifications for open director positions will take place during the 2021 annual membership meeting. The date for this meeting will be announced in the Spring/Summer 2021 issue of A.T. Journeys magazine.
For more information and to submit your nomination today, click below or visit appalachiantrail.org/board2021.
Hike Safely on the A.T.
As many of us plan for spring and summertime hikes, it’s important to be prepared beyond having appropriate gear. While the A.T. is a relatively safe place to visit, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t hazards or dangers that could impact your safety and the safety of others. Here are four key tips for hikes of any length:
- Stay alert: Pay attention to your surroundings and people you may encounter. If you feel uneasy, trust your instincts and get away from the situation.
- Report dangerous situations or suspicious behavior: Call 911 if there is an emergency. If you witness suspicious behavior, have a bad feeling about someone, observe vandalism or resource damage on the A.T., experience bear activity, or just feel like something should be reported, use one of the methods found at appalachiantrail.org/incidents to submit a report. If you see something, say something — this will help keep the A.T. as safe as possible for all visitors.
- Let someone know your plans: Provide details on where you will be and when you plan to return to a family member or friend off the Trail.
- Carry a current map/guide and know how to use it: If you require emergency assistance or need to leave the Trail, maps can help tell you where the nearest trailhead, road, or town is located.
For more information, visit appalachiantrail.org/safety.
Photo by Horizonline Pictures
National Volunteer Month
Thank You, A.T. Volunteers!
Today isn’t only the last day of April: it also closes out National Volunteer Month! No matter what month it is, the ATC is thankful for and proud of the dedicated volunteers who help keep the dream of the A.T. alive.
In Other News…
Transit to Trails Act Reintroduced
On April 29, U.S. Congressman Jimmy Gomez and U.S. Senator Cory Booker reintroduced the Transit to Trails Act, which promotes equitable access to parks, green spaces, and public lands and waters. The ATC is proud to support this legislation, which will help connect critically underserved communities, both rural and urban, to public lands. Having a public land user and volunteer base reflecting all of America is a critical goal for the ATC.