With Partying and Foot Traffic Raging Out Of Control, Officials Threaten To Move Appalachian Trail Out Of Maine
Officials claim the increase in hikers has led to more debris, excessive noise and and constant rules violations and that it needs to stop immediately.
For more than 80 years, Mount Katahdin has served as the finale point of the 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail that begins in Georgia. And for almost all of those 80 years, Baxter State Park officials haven't had an issue with rules, excessive partying, or noise complaints. But lately things have begun to get out of control and those officials want it to stop immediately.
As the New York Times reports, officials were dismayed by the party like atmosphere exhibited by Scott Jurek, an ultra-marathon runner who broke the speed record for the Appalachian Trail. He celebrated at the peak of Katahdin with a large group of people, including reporters, and sprayed champagne in celebration. Park Rangers then cited Jurek for breaking several of the trail's rules, including having a group of over 12 people and littering (spraying champagne on the Peak).
That led to a Facebook battle between Mr. Jurek and the director of Baxter State Park, Jensen Bissell over whether or not Baxter was being petty and overreactive. You can read some of those posts here in the New York Times story.
Baxter State Park officials and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are set to meet several times in the next few months to come to an agreement on how to better educate hikers of the rules and how to better limit damaging Baxter and Mount Katahdin. Asked if he thought the finale of the Appalachian Trail would be moved out of Maine, Jensen Bissell answered, "unlikely".