Volunteers key to making Appalachian Trail a success

The millions of people who enjoy the Appalachian Trail each year might not realize just what it takes to make its incredible recreational opportunities available to them.

Though it features countless wonders of nature, the trail itself did not come about naturally. It took years of effort to achieve its completion, and in the nearly 80 years since then, it’s required even more work to keep it in the proper condition for people to enjoy it.

The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service have a management role, but a significant portion of the work on the 2,200-mile trail from Maine to Georgia is done by volunteers.

According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which oversees these efforts, more than 6,000 volunteers contribute more than 250,000 hours each year to keep the trail available for all to use. That includes basic maintenance as well as major projects such as building bridges and shelters. And that’s not to mention the emergency personnel in towns near the trail who are often called upon to assist in some seriously challenging situations.

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