Sunday, February 12, 2017

Appalachian Trail Conservancy Challenges Baxter State Park 2017 A.T. Hiker Cap Due to Lack of Research and Analysis

The following is a statement from Ron Tipton, Executive Director/CEO of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy:

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) does not agree with Baxter State Park’s (BSP) new Appalachian Trail Long Distance Hiker Permit System, which limits the number of long distance Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hikers that can access the northern terminus of the Trail on Katahdin each year.

This new policy imposes a cap on the number of long distance A.T. hikers who are allowed to climb Katahdin that is 15% higher than 2016 A.T. Katahdin hiker numbers. In our view this policy is not based on best practices, sufficient research or analysis of the current impact of A.T. hikers on park resources and the hiking experience.

Last year the ATC made significant progress in improving hiker awareness and compliance with BSP rules by increasing education and outreach to the hiking community, particularly in the Monson, Maine A.T. Visitor Center.

While we share the Park’s desire to protect the fragile alpine ecosystems on Katahdin, the ATC believes in a science-based, adaptive management approach to increased use at popular sites on the A.T. We will continue to work with BSP to provide an opportunity for long-distance A.T. hikers to climb Katahdin and complete their incredible journeys."


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