Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain Reopens After 10-Month Closure

A section of the Appalachian Trail in New York’s Bear Mountain State Park reopened to the public on Memorial Day weekend, ten months after a severe storm forced the park to close it.

On July 9, 2023, a massive storm dropped approximately 10 inches of rain on Bear Mountain, damaging the park’s infrastructure, water supply, and trail systems and forcing the park to close for two months during the summer season. The Appalachian Trail remained closed from the summit of Bear Mountain to the Bear Mountain Inn long after the rest of the park had reopened.

According to a New York State press release, nearly every trail in the park’s 42-mile system received some level of damage, in some cases forcing complete reconstruction. Approximately $40 million was spent to fully reopen the park for the 2024 season.

The AT reopened to the public this past weekend thanks to support, guidance, and expertise from the NY-NJ Trail Conference, volunteer labor from West Point and elsewhere, and funding from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC).

PIPC Executive Director Joshua Laird said that “the closure of the Appalachian Trail in Bear Mountain State Park following significant damage caused by last July’s major storm event has been painful for both the park and our hiking community. PIPC is thrilled that needed repairs to the AT have been completed in time for the 2024 season.

“We are grateful that Governor Hochul and our colleagues at New York State Parks are investing needed resources to ensure our recovery from the storm and look forward to re-opening the rest of Bear Mountain’s trail network in the months ahead. The New York/New Jersey Trail Conference has been an invaluable partner in this effort as well.”

The Bear Mountain section of the AT is famous for being the first section of the historic footpath to be completed in 1925.

Featured image: A hiker ascends the Appalachian Trail toward the Bear Mountain summit in 2022. Pinky and the Brain photo

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