Protecting the Most Famous Trail: Q&A with Ron Tipton

7:08 a.m. on October 17, 2013 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "Protecting the Most Famous Trail: Q&A with Ron Tipton"

We talk with Ron Tipton, executive director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and learn what it's like to protect and maintain "the world’s most famous long-distance hiking trail."

Full article at http://www.trailspace.com/blog/2013/10/17/qa-ron-tipton-atc.html

10:23 a.m. on October 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Alicia,

Thanks for the post. I used to hike the AT in the 60s and early 70s. At that time is was easy to stay away from people. We would be the only party in the lean-tos hiking in the shoulder seasons.

At some point, all famous outdoor attractions have enough visitor use to change the experience of the partcipants. Is there a permit system on the AT? How does it work?

It frustrates me sometimes when people want to come to the West for a backcountry experience, but all they want to consider are the most famous trails with permit systems like the John Muir Trail. There are a whole world of possibilities out there. Maybe people from the East are used to seeing lots of other hikers each day and think it is normal. I would encourage all backpackers and backcountry users to try an experience when there is no one else around. It changes everything.

12:11 p.m. on October 17, 2013 (EDT)
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On my last southbound AT hike - I saw about 15 people over 2.5 months!

To my knowledge, none of the AT requires a permit, but camping and specific activities are restricted in some places.

As an easterner who got out west later in life, I can verify your conjecture ppine - many of us are used to seeing a lot of people! My first backpacking trip out west was certainly an eye-opener! I like the social experience of the AT, and have grown to love the solitary vistas of the west too!

3:28 p.m. on October 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Seth,

Thanks. Come to think of it, I met some PCT thru hikers recently. They had trail names and talked about the trail angels, and the social network on the trail. For a week, it is great to get away from everyone. But for a long trip it is rewarding to talk with some other people once in awhile.

3:58 p.m. on October 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Seth said:

To my knowledge, none of the AT requires a permit, but camping and specific activities are restricted in some places.

 Starting this year, Smoky Mountains National Park began requiring a thru-hiking permit on the AT. It's $20, and you have 8 days to get through the park or you have to get a second permit.

9:58 a.m. on October 31, 2013 (EDT)
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I vividly remember hiking with Ron Tipton in the early 1970's when the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club had just acquired a new piece of AT property.

7:38 p.m. on November 1, 2013 (EDT)
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That's amazing Ron! Was that the area north of Harper's Ferry? You've done quite a lot to protect trails in America, Ron, thanks for all you do!

September 22, 2014
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