Statement from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Statement by Ron Tipton, Executive Director/CEO
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is deeply concerned about how the federal government shutdown will impact the protection and enjoyment of the Appalachian Trail.
The ATC has been working closely with the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service to understand how this shutdown will affect the use of the Trail by hikers as well as by the 31 trail clubs and the thousands of volunteers maintain the A.T. on a day-to-day basis. An extended shutdown would result in a significant reduction in the volunteer and governmental activities necessary to keep the Trail safe and open for the estimated 2.5 million annual hikers.
The Appalachian Trail is now officially closed across the approximately 700 miles managed by the National Park Service. Because of the shutdown, all National Park Service – Volunteers In Parks (VIP) and USDA Forest Service - Volunteer In Forests (VIF) volunteer programs will be terminated. Therefore, for the duration of the shutdown, the ATC will not be able to engage with volunteers in activities on the Trail, Trail facilities, or Trail lands. We also are required to close our visitor center in Boiling Springs, PA.
The Appalachian Trail 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 well over 6,000 volunteers donating 220,000 hours of work each year.
We will continue to work with 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.
For further information, contact Ron Tipton (304-535-6331, ext. 116), or Laura Belleville, Director of Conservation (540-449-1138).
To download the Department of Interior Contingency Plan fact sheet CLICK HERE.