Baxter State Park is about to change their policy for long distance hikers for the first time in their history. According to WMUR, the Baxter State Park Authority will implement an Appalachian Trail permit card system for all long distance hikers for 2016. The permits must be obtained in person and are required for hikers looking to complete their Appalachian Trail hike at Mount Katahdin.

The reasoning behind the new permit system is the drastic increase in the amount of hikers visiting Baxter State Park. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the group responsible for looking over the well-being of the park, says the number of hikers and visitors to the park has doubled in the last decade. All other hikers are required to grab a permit with the exception of long distance hikers and that will officially change in 2016.

Staff members will have an increased presence this summer to ensure the permit requirement is being followed. Additionally, there will be a new permit required to stay at the Birches at the Katahdin Stream Campground.

All required permits for long distance hikers are free and there is no limit to how many permits will be issued.

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