ATC Updates Planning for Return to Appalachian Trail, Reminds Hikers to Stay Home
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy issued an update on its work to provide a safe return for hikers to the Appalachian Trail, while reminding them they should stay off the trail until then.
In an announcement on May 11, the ATC said that a task force it has formed is considering the “safety and health of not only hikers, but volunteers, staff and nearby communities (including their search and rescue teams). They are also considering guidance from trail-managing partners, nearby communities, health experts and the various statewide and AT closures currently in place.”
The ATC announced the formation of the task force here.
The ATC acknowledged that hikers are considering a return to the trail for a thru-hike, section hike, or day hikes as many states begin lifting restriction because of COVID-19.
“Before deciding whether you will resume your journey on the AT, it is important to understand the many obstacles to hiking right now (and for the foreseeable future),” the ATC said. “There are restrictions in place in almost all of the 14 states the trail passes through, including 14-day mandatory quarantines in multiple states and official closures affecting almost 1,000 miles of the trail. More than 100 shelters on the trail are closed; those that are open are locations where COVID-19 could potentially be contracted on contaminated surfaces or spread due to inadequate physical distancing. In addition, we continue to receive reports that resupply options and transportation to and from the trail are exceptionally challenging and—in some areas—almost impossible. For day and overnight hikers, crowds at popular areas make practicing social distancing difficult, increasing the chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19.”
Feature image courtesy Clay Bonnyman Evans
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