April 9, 2021

Trailway News: Think of the Bears

Happy National Wildlife Week! As many of us celebrate the warmer weather by heading to the great outdoors, remember that we are sharing places like the Appalachian Trail with the plants and animals that call them home. Always follow Leave No Trace Principles to ensure they stay healthy — and, in the case of black bears on the A.T., that hikers and bears alike stay safe.

Unfortunately, as the popularity of the Trail has grown, black bears have become increasingly aware of hikers as a source of food. Earlier this week, Cosby Knob Shelter (NOBO mile 231.1) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was closed until further notice due to bear activity. Three other bear incidents were reported recently in North Carolina around Groundhog Creek Shelter (NOBO mile 248.7).

Take extra care to store your food and scented items properly — this will help wildlife avoid associating campsites and shelter areas with an easy meal, and potentially prevent a dangerous situation.

For tips on staying safe from bears and storing food properly, or to report a bear encounter on the A.T., click the button below or visit appalachiantrail.org/bears.



Featured Article

A Climate-Resilient A.T. Depends on Effective Federal Policy

In the next entry of our series examining the effects of climate change on the A.T., we discuss how engaging in federal policy creation not only helps protect the lands we love — it is one of the most effective tools to help mitigate the impacts of climate change on the Trail (and beyond).



Press Release

A.T. Viewshed Protected on Virginia’s North Mountain

Earlier this week, our partners at The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Forest Service announced the protection of 237 acres on North Mountain in Virginia, which will be added to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Directly supported by the ATC through its Wild East Action Fund, this project will help preserve the irreplaceable views from the A.T. on McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs, provide additional recreational opportunities for visitors, and help reinforce the area’s recreation economy.



In the News

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine Visits Future Site of Damascus Trail Center

The ATC sends a big thank you to U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who met with representatives from the ATC, Mount Rogers A.T. Club, the Town of Damascus, and other area trails at the site of the upcoming Damascus Trail Center! We had a great discussion on opportunities for improving the conservation of nearby trails, the growing recreation economy, and the need for engaging with new stewards.

The Damascus Trail Center will serve as a regional conservation and stewardship hub for nearby public lands, equipping visitors with recreation information and providing hands-on training for volunteers. The Damascus Trail Center is currently slated to open later this year. For more information and future updates, click below or visit appalachiantrail.org/dtc.


Photo Contest

Capturing the Trail’s Natural Beauty

Throughout this spring and summer, we will be celebrating the natural beauty of the A.T. and its surrounding landscape — and we hope you will join us!

Through Friday, April 30, 2021, we are accepting submissions for our next photo series, “Natural Beauty: 14 States, Unlimited Inspiration.” From the grandest of views to the tiniest plants and insects, we’re looking for photos that capture the natural elements that inspire awe in millions of A.T. visitors each year.

If your photo is selected for the series, you will receive a Hydro Flask® Journey 10L Hydration Pack for your next A.T. adventure! Only those with a United States mailing address are eligible for this prize.

For photo categories, terms and conditions, and to submit your photos today, click below or visit appalachiantrail.org/natural-beauty-contest.


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.