Harpers Ferry, WV (September 02, 2011) – Due to the recent damages from hurricane Irene, the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) issued a closure of the Forest on September 1st. The closure encompasses the Appalachian Trail across the entire state of Vermont and will last for days or potentially weeks due to the extensive damage caused by the storm. This closure prohibits the public from going into or being upon any part of the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF), until further notice.
Hurricane Irene inundated New England states with heavy rain and high winds at the end of August, leaving unsafe conditions on the A.T. in her wake.
Hazards in GMNF are abundant. Many river and stream crossings are unsafe and roads, bridges and trail sections are washed out.
“We are working diligently to assess conditions across the Forest and moving to recovery to get the Forest open as safely and quickly as we can,” says Colleen Madrid, Forest Supervisor for GMNF.
Forest Service crews will be working through the holiday weekend to clear roads and trails and to assess the condition of bridges and facilities that have been damaged by the storm. According the Forest Service, it is in hikers’ best interest to leave or stay off the Forest not only for personal safety, but also to avoid stress on an over-taxed EMS system in Vermont. There is no certainty when the closure may be lifted.
Laurie Potteiger, Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) Information Services Manager, stresses that A.T. thru-hikers should not be concerned about losing their 2,000-miler status if they need bypass Vermont due to the GMNF closure. “In the event of a trail closure or serious safety hazard, hikers may take an alternate route, including by vehicle, and still receive official 2,000-miler recognition,” she says. “This is definitely one of those situations.”
For the most current information on the status of the closure order and the U.S. Forest Service’s progress on restoring access to bridges, roads, trails, and recreational facilities on the GMNF, please visit their website: www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/greenmountain/htm/greenmountain/g_home.htm
For information regarding other states warnings and closures visit www.appalachiantrail.org/updates.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
Contact: Laurie Potteiger
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.535.2200 x128
Email: [email protected]