September 17, 2021

Trailway News: Protecting the A.T. Hiking Experience

What would the Appalachian Trail be without its visitors? Millions step onto the A.T. each year to find adventures, spend time with family and friends, and gain a closer connection with nature. One of the key roles of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is protecting the A.T. hiking experience, which we accomplish through effective visitor use management. Through this work, we help ensure these experiences continue to be available for future generations of A.T. visitors — and that the Trail itself continues to be conserved and maintained.

In this week’s featured article, we explore some facets of the ATC’s visitor use management program and how it helps protect the A.T. hiking experience forever.



Photo by Harold Wetzler

The A.T. Returns Home at Lehigh Gap, Pennsylvania

The A.T. is returning to its original route along the North Trail in Pennsylvania! Starting in mid-October, the Keystone Trails Association will change the North Trail’s blue blazes to white blazes and hikers will once again take in the incredible views of Lehigh Gorge on their A.T. hike.


This reroute is part of a multi-year Trail-relocation project, which will help ensure this section of the A.T. is built to modern trail sustainability standards, and preserve some of Pennsylvania’s best views for future A.T. hikers.


Celebrating the Vision for the Trail

October 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of Benton MacKaye’s “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning,” which sparked the construction of the footpath we know and love. Join us as we explore how MacKaye’s vision (and the Trail itself) have positively impacted our lives over the last hundred years — and how the A.T. will continue to be, as MacKaye put it, “a new approach to the problem of living.”


And stay tuned — we have more to share in the coming weeks as we celebrate MacKaye’s groundbreaking article and the history of the Trail!


Photo by Lukas Chin

629 Acres of A.T. Landscape Conserved in Vermont

A key stretch of land buffering the A.T. near Killington, Vermont, has been conserved! These lands provide critical habitat for various wildlife, including black bears and migratory birds. This success was accomplished through the joint efforts of The Conservation Fund, the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Thank you!



Outdoor Jobs: No Desk Required

Make the Trail your office as a 2022 ridgerunner! Applications are now being accepted for ridgerunner positions in Georgia and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ridgerunners are field-based seasonal positions that help educate visitors and hikers on Trail stewardship, minimizing impact to the A.T. and the surrounding landscape, and volunteerism. The deadline to apply is October 26, 2021.

Apply Now


Happenings Along the Trail


Camping Closure Lifted Along the A.T. on NC/TN Border

On September 16, the USFS lifted a temporary A.T. camping closure between Grassy Fork Road (NOBO mile 245) and Max Patch Road (NOBO mile 253). This section was originally closed after multiple reports of black bear encounters in the area. Note: the two-year camping closure at Max Patch is still in place until June 30, 2023.



Register for the 2021 Virtual National Trails Workshop

The Partnership for the National Trails System is hosting its 2021 Virtual National Trails Workshop November 1-4, 2021! Join volunteers, partners and trail enthusiasts to learn, discuss and work through topics like trail land protection, collaboration and engagement, and more.

Register Now

Community Spotlight

Want to be featured in our community spotlight? Follow us on Instagram at @appalachiantrail and use #atcspotlight in your post!

Happy Trails!

Please donate today to ensure the A.T. we all love benefits us today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.