Overmountain Shelter on AT Closed Because It’s No Longer Safe
Overmountain Shelter on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, a popular spot for countless thru-hikers and others, has been closed because it is considered no longer safe for overnight stays.
“People from all over have loved camping inside this old barn, but now there’s a real risk of it collapsing,” said District Ranger Richard Thornburgh of the Appalachian District Range for Pisgah National Forest.
Thornburgh said in a post on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s website that a support beam broke under the large upper loft where people sleep, the wood posts are rotting, and heavy winter snow has caused additional stress.
“The elements have just taken their toll to the extent that, despite efforts to maintain it, the Overmountain Shelter has reached the point where it’s not safe to be inside the building,” Thornburgh added.
The US Forest Service says it will consider what to do with the property.
The fields around the shelter will remain open for tent camping, although Thornbugh advises not to camp within 40 feet of the shelter in case it collapses.
The ATC says the Stan Murray Shelter two miles south of Overmountain is a good alternative shelter option for hikers.
Comments poured in to The Trek’s Appalachian Trail Facebook page, from suggestions to raising money to restore the shelter to hikers remembering their stays while thru-hiking.
“A special fund should be started to contribute to the expense of the repairs. I am sure past, present and future hikers would contribute,” Kathy Van Buren posted.
Tom Roof said: “Something needs to be done to save this barn. It truly is a historic and iconic structure on the AT. A true destination. Work needs to at least be done to keep it standing.”
The Forest Service acquired the Overmountain Shelter and the farm it was located on in 1979, and together they became part of Pisgah National Forest.
The Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club maintained the barn after converting it to a shelter.
“TEHCC supports the closure in the interest of public safety,” said Vic Hassler, club AT committee chair.
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