Government shutdown limits access and use of Appalachian Trail during one of the busiest hiking weekends of the year

Date Published: Oct 11, 2013

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is deeply concerned about how the federal government shutdown has and will continue to impact the protection and enjoyment of the Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is officially closed across the approximately 700 miles managed by the National Park Service. As the A.T. crosses multiple federal and state jurisdictions, it has caused much confusion for visitors as far as what parts of the Trail and associated facilities are open or closed.

This Trail closure comes during one of the busiest hiking weekends of the year, which has and will continue to negatively impact the communities that rely on the economic benefits that the Trail provides.

In addition, all National Park Service – Volunteers In Parks (VIP) and USDA Forest Service - Volunteer In Forests (VIF) volunteer programs have been suspended. Therefore, for the duration of the shutdown, trail volunteers and our staff are not able to carry out normal trail maintenance and management activities on sections of the Trail on national park and national forest lands.. This has caused many volunteer trail projects to be cancelled or postponed. We have also been required to close our visitor center in Boiling Springs, PA, which services over 4,500 visitors a year.

The A.T. is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at approximately 2,180 miles in length. The ATC is funded by public as well as private contributions and has over 6,000 volunteers donating 220,000 hours of work each year.  

We will continue to work closely with the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, our agency partners and the 31 trail clubs responsible that help maintain and manage the A.T. to keep abreast of any further changes that may impact the Trail.

We urge Congress and the federal government to work together, in the best interests of the country, and to re-open the A.T. promptly.

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