Appalachian Trail reopens to day-trippers but urges thru-hikers to stay home

Back in mid-March, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail started shutting down sections and services to hikers of all ambitions. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), which oversees the 2,193-mile route, implored day hikers and “thru-hikers” to temporarily hang up their hiking boots. Last month, the organization revised its message and released guidelines that coincide with the steady reopening of the trail.

The ATC, which is based in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., teamed up with trail management partners and experts in the outdoor recreation and medical fields to assemble tips for day and overnight hikers. The group is still urging thru-hikers — adventurers who complete the months-long 14-state trek in one go —to hold off on plans for now.

“Day hikers can mitigate exposure,” said Sandra Marra, the ATC’s president and chief executive, “but thru-hikers have greater challenges because they are coming into contact with people from all over and then going in and out of trailside communities.”

Although the majority of the trail is back, many of the facilities and services overnight and long-distance hikers use are still shuttered. As of early June, the majority of overnight shelters and privies remain closed, with the number exceeding 200.

“Treat your hike like a true backcountry experience that is not reliant on A.T. facilities you would otherwise use,” the ATC states in its guidelines.

Learn more here…


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