AT Hikers Reminded to Report Uncomfortable Encounters on Trail

As thru-hikers embark on their annual trek from Georgia to Maine, the memory of a fellow hiker killed last year resonates on trail.

And hikers are reminded that reporting an uncomfortable encounter is the first step to ensuring everyone’s safety.

“As we look forward to another year of #AppalachianTrail adventures, remember to keep an eye on your surroundings and to report any situation that could be dangerous to you or others — if you see something, say something,” the Appalachian Trail Conservancy said on its Facebook page in late February.

This year some hikers have posted on Facebook about another hiker who is making them uncomfortable, similar to last year when they kept track of a hiker who at times reportedly threatened them at campsites and shelters. That hiker, who has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial, was charged with killing Ronald “Stronghold” Sanchez Jr., 43, and brutally attacking a woman hiker on May 11 in Virginia.

After that attack the ATC redesigned its safety reporting page with a red 911 link that hikers can press to call in case of an emergency, a highlighted number to call the National Park Service to report suspicious activity, an email link if hikers are unable to call, and an online incident form.

The page was redesigned with mobile phone users in mind.

To find the safety reporting page on a phone, click on Explore on the ATC home page, then click on Thru-Hiking, and scroll midway down the page to the Report An Incident tab. Or, for a faster result, google “ATC report an incident.”

The ATC emphasizes that hikers should always submit a report “for any suspicious or potentially dangerous situations, even if it turns out to be nothing. These reports help our law-enforcement partners identify problem areas requiring more attention.”

Feature photo courtesy Maggie Slepian.

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Comments 3

  • Avatar
    Kevin Love : Mar 12th

    It wasn’t a “hiker” who threatened and then killed them. It was a homeless meth addict who was on the trail by a road/town. The trail reads like we need to be scared of each other. Every violent incident on the AT (and there have been quite a few) have not been committed by thru-hikers, or even hikers at all, but just rather “civilians” who for one reason or another found themselves on the trail by a road/town.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Kevin Love : Mar 12th

      My bad. I was thinking of another incident. You are absolutely right as it was another hiker. Feel free to delete my comment to cleanup the page.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Kevin Love : Mar 12th

    My bad. I was thinking of another incident. You are absolutely right as it was another hiker. Feel free to delete my comment to cleanup the page.

    Reply

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