Appalachian Trail hikers asked to not climb Katahdin on Labor Day weekend

Appalachian Trail hikers planning to end their long trek atop Katahdin on Labor Day weekend 2018 are being asked to change their plans by summiting early or delaying their hike until Tuesday. This request is being made by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in partnership with Baxter State Park so AT hikers don’t disturb a longstanding annual ceremony conducted by the Penobscot Indian Nation on the mountain from Sept. 1-3.

Each year, members of the Penobscot Nation participate in the Katahdin 100, a spiritual pilgrimage that spans about 100 miles, starting at Indian Island (just north of Bangor) and ending at Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain and a sacred place to the Penobscots. To facilitate this tradition, Baxter State Park has closed Katahdin Stream Campground to overnight guests Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2, so that the Penobscots can conduct their ceremonies at the campground without an audience. The campground is located at the base of the AT, which follows the Hunt Trail to end atop Katahdin.

This request for AT hikers to avoid summiting Katahdin during Labor Day weekend has been made in years past. The Birches, a satellite campground reserved for long-distance AT hikers, will remain open throughout the weekend, with space for 12 hikers each night but that “the area will be very busy” and “congestion will make it difficult for drivers coming to pick up hikers and for hikers seeking rides out of the park.”

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