Forest Service apologizes for damage to Appalachian Trail during patrols of pipeline protests

The U.S. Forest Service apologized for damaging the Appalachian Trail with all-terrain vehicles during its patrols of a pipeline protest.

In a news release, the agency admitted that its law enforcement officers used the ATVs from April 11 to April 30 on a short stretch of the scenic footpath that follows the ridgeline of Peters Mountain in the Jefferson National Forest of Virginia.

“We are still evaluating the damage, but this is clearly our mistake and I apologize that it happened,” Michael Donaldson, a special agent in charge of law enforcement for the agency’s Southern region, said in the news release.

Motorized traffic along the 2,200-mile trail from Georgia to Maine is generally prohibited.

Four-wheeling on the trail left tire tracks, muddy ruts and a swath of bare land six to eight feet wide, according to photographs provided by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The improper use came as the Forest Service monitored two ongoing protests of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which will cut through the national forest and under the Appalachian Trail as it transports natural gas from northern West Virginia through the New River and Roanoke valleys.

Cite…

 

Ed. note: Imagine the damage done by the pipeline itself.

 

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