Statement from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Executive Director/CEO Ron Tipton regarding the Baxter State Park permit system for long-distance hikers:
“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy understands that the increasing number of long-distance Appalachian Trail hikers presents a management challenge for Baxter State Park officials. We will continue to work cooperatively with Baxter State Park by informing and educating long-distance hikers about proper hiker behavior.
To assist in the growing number of Appalachian Trail users and to help educate long-distance hikers about the new permit system Baxter State Park is implementing in 2016, the ATC will have a seasonal staff person in Monson, Maine beginning in the summer. A presence in Monson demonstrates the ATC’s commitment to a comprehensive and proactive stewardship plan that will further our ability to work with our partners in protecting a high-quality hiking experience.
Long-distance hiking on the Appalachian Trail has steadily increased during the past two decades and, in Baxter State Park alone, Appalachian Trail hiker numbers have nearly doubled in the last 10 years. Overall, there are an estimated 3 million visitors on some portion of the Appalachian Trail each year. The ATC has existed for more than 90 years to preserve and manage the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail, and with a growing interest in this world-famous Trail, the mission of the ATC remains just as relevant and important today.”