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rural areas, national parks at risk from those trying to outrun the virus?

Posts: 7638
Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I'm really bummed that we, here in the Ozarks,, are becoming a destination for some trying to find a place to hang out until the virus 'blows over'.
It is stressing the local stores and putting folks who live here at

Where it is most telling at the moment is the Buffalo National River Parks and Trails.  People from other states are crowding in and camping, canoeing and hiking shoulder to shoulder.

Maybe over the summer things will be better but right now travelers are taxing the system that is already quite delicate.

..." there have been hundreds of cars parked at some trail heads, and the license plates indicate they've come from all over the country."

"It's not your typical tourists," said state Rep. Keith Slape, R-Compton. "They are from Nevada, New York and New Jersey. Looking for a place to hide out until it blows through. Locals can't get groceries for tourists buying it up. They are also concerned that the virus may be brought in to them."

This picture is from just a few days ago!  what are they thinking?

Judith Browning
Posts: 7638
Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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and so, having said all that, I wonder what is happening elsewhere in other rural areas?  

These folks aren't loading a truck with survival equipment and looking for a quiet spot in the woods somewhere...they are coming as tourists and acting as though it's a normal summertime in the Ozarks where they are able to go to town and buy everything they need.  Our local stores are only just now barely able to keep the shelves filled and in some parts of the state that has not even happened yet.  

Posts: 1738
Location: southern Illinois.
composting toilet food preservation homestead
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Oh Wow!

I havent bumped into this.   But I am off the beaten path ...including tourism.  It has been a topic of discussion between my wife, and I.  We are isolated enough that we could have major problems without anyone knowing.
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1953
Location: mountains of Tennessee
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee homestead ungarbage
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TN has closed all the roads into & through Smoky Mountain Nat'l park. They told people not to come to the nearby towns. The TN state park trails are open & people are encouraged to use only the one closest to their house & with due caution. Almost all the restrooms & public facilities are closed, with a few exceptions. Daytime use only, no camping of any sort. Best bet is stay home unless you are fortunate enough to have a very remote trail with a secret entrance near you.  
Mike Barkley
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1953
Location: mountains of Tennessee
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I was wondering about this a few days ago so here's some info from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.


Keep up-to-date with the latest conditions on the Trail.
Report Trail conditions: trailconditions@appalachiantrail.org
alerts and trailwide updates

Backcountry conditions change constantly. It is your responsibility
to be prepared for the unexpected.
(3/23/2020) To minimize the spread or contraction of COVID-19, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is urging all hikers to stay away from the Appalachian Trail, whether for a day-hike, section-hike or thru-hike. Hikers currently on the Trail are asked to leave. To learn more about why we are making this unprecedented request, read our blog post  Please Stay Off The Appalachian Trail.

Major closures and updates are listed below; a more comprehensive list of Trail-related closures, including parks, events, businesses and hiker support services can be found on this A.T. Closures List on our Responding to COVID-19 pages.

We are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 to ensure we are taking the appropriate actions, not only for hikers, our staff and volunteers, but for those living in trailside communities and our interconnected world during this pandemic at www.appalachiantrail.org/covid-19.

(3/31/2020) Trailhead facilities and other access points are temporarily shut down to prevent groups from congregating and to protect public health and safety. Click here for more information.

(3/30/2020) The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina, and the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee are temporarily shutting down trailhead facilities and other access points to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail starting 3/28/2020 to prevent groups from congregating and to protect public health and safety. Click here for more information.


(3/28/20) Effective immediately, the National Park Service is closing all overnight shelters (56 total) and privies (75 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office in the states of VA (11 shelters, 12 privies), MD (1 shelter, 2 privies), PA (8 shelters, 6 privies), NJ (1 shelter, 1 privy), NY (5 shelters, 5 privies), CT (7 shelters, 16 privies), MA (1 shelter, 4 privies), and ME (22 shelters, 29 privies). See www.appalachiantrail.org/covid-19 for more information.

(3/28/2020) See West Virginia section below for more information.

(3/27/2020) See Georgia section below for more information.

(3/26/2020) See Pennsylvania section below for more information.

(3/26/2020) See Shenandoah National Park section below for more information.

(3/26/2020) See Massachusetts section below for more information.

(3/24/2020) All park areas (except 2 roads that do not cross the A.T.) closed at noon on Tuesday, March 24 and will remain closed through Monday, April 6, in a continuing effort to support federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

(3/24/2020) See Shenandoah National Park section below for more info.

(3/23/2020) See "North Carolina (South of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park)" section below for more info.

(3/20/2020) See Pennsylvania section below for more info.

(3/20/20) See Maryland section below for more information.

(3/20/20) See New Jersey section below for more information.

Due to public health concerns, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, will be closed until further notice as we assess the best methods to ensure all visitors, staff members and volunteers are kept as safe and healthy as possible.

Due to public health concerns, the 6th Annual Flip Flop Festival has been canceled.

The ATC is actively monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 virus. Based on a desire to be a responsible partner in public health, ATC staff decided earlier this week that all Spring Regional Partnership Committee Meetings will be held online instead of in-person over the next two weekends. We will continue to respond to the virus guided by the best available information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization. As we continue to assess this risk, volunteers and visitors will find the most up-to-date information on this page.

(3/2/2019) The National Park Service released an update on the status of the Goodloe E. Byron Memorial Pedestrian Walkway (footbridge) across the Potomac River. Planning efforts are underway and NPS is currently considering options for a shuttle service that would transport hikers and visitors around the footbridge closure until repairs can be completed. Until this shuttle system is in place, A.T. visitors should still secure their own transportation across the Potomac River using the links found on appalachiantrail.org/transportation.

(12/21/19) The footbridge crossing the Potomac River in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is closed until further notice due to a train that occurred on Dec. 21, 2019. For more information, see the West Virginia section below.

(7/28/2019) A new forest order by the Green Mountain National Forest requires hikers to store food and refuse in a canister or hang it following prescribed specifications. See the Vermont section below for more information.

Improper food storage can lead to human/bear conflicts on the A.T.  Carry a bear-resistant personal food storage container to reduce negative human/bear interactions and keep you, your food, and bears safe when camping on the A.T. For more information, visit our black bear page. Please use the Bear Incident Report Form form to report any bear incidents. Your report will help reduce human/bear conflicts on the A.T.  

Current overnight site closures, warnings and cautions (See state-by-state sections below for more detail):

   Georgia (Multiple Campsite Caution)
   Southwest Virginia (Mt. Rogers High Country Warning)
   New York (Fingerboard Shelter Warning)
   Massachusetts (Sherman Brook Primitive Camping Caution)
   Vermont (Kid Gore, Story Spring, and Stratton Pond shelter Cautions)

To report incidents or something suspicious, visit our Reporting Incidents page.

Report any notable trail conditions to trailconditions@appalachiantrail.org. Photos are helpful.

Recent storms and hurricanes that included ice, high winds, or heavy and prolonged rains have created hazards from damaged or unstable trees due to saturated soils. These will remain a concern in many areas for some time. Dead and diseased trees and limbs can be present under any conditions. Campers need to be extremely vigilant about inspecting overnight sites for trees and limbs around and above them that could fall, even in completely still conditions. Be vigilant about your surroundings and stay safe.

Although trailhead areas are generally safe, vandalism or car break-ins can potentially occur at any remote trailhead. Never leave valuables visible in your vehicle. Recent incidents and areas with ongoing problems are noted below. For more tips and a list of areas with known incidents for the last several years, visit the vandalism section of our Transportation & Parking page.

This link provides listing of changed or new services for hikers along the Trail or in A.T. communities since the 2019 A.T. Thru-Hikers' Companion was published.

See below for a state-by-state listing for more details and updates.

​trail updates by state
















Amicalola Falls State Park - Visitor Center Closed
(March 30, 2020) The park, trails, picnic area, and bathrooms are open to the public, however the following restrictions are in effect: the Visitor Center is closed to the public (thru-hiker registration was discontinued earlier this month); Amicalola Falls Lodge access is restricted to overnight guests and check-ins. Restaurant dining is closed at this time. Follow this link for more details.

Chattahoochee National Forests (A.T. in Georgia) -- Trailhead Access Closed
(March 27, 2020) The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is temporarily shutting down trailhead facilities and other access points to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and nearby trails to prevent groups from congregating and to protect public health and safety.

The decision aligns with state and local measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

See the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests’ website for the latest recreation information at www.fs.usda.gov/CONF, also on Facebook and Twitter at @ChattOconeeNF.

Water source information
Info on the status of water sources in Georgia, updated periodically during droughts (most often late summer and fall):

    Georgia A.T. Club - Water Sources & Availability

Bear Activity/Canister Recommendation -- Bull Gap and Baggs Creek Gap Campsites
(9/25/19) Bears are stealing food in the area of Bull Gap Campsite (mile 32.4) and Baggs Creek Gap Campsite (mile 35.5). Bear canisters are highly recommended for storage of food and other smellable items.

Bear canisters seasonally required for camping between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap
A U.S. Forest Service rule requires an approved bear-resistant canister for overnight camping on a 5-mile stretch of the A.T. in the Chattahoochee National Forest between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap, between March 1 and June 1 each year. This stretch is located between points 26.7 and 31.7 miles north of the southern terminus of the A.T. at Springer Mountain, Georgia, and includes Woods Hole Shelter, Slaughter Creek Campsite, and Blood Mountain Shelter. Bear canisters should be used to store food, food containers, garbage and toiletries. Canisters must be commercially made and constructed of solid, non-pliable material manufactured for the specific purpose of resisting entry by bears. For more information, see the Supervisor's Order here or call the Chattahoochee - Oconee National Forest at (770) 297-3000.

North Carolina (South of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
Graham County - State of Emergency Declared; Travel Restrictions and Closures of Accommodations
(3/23/20). The closure states that all accommodations are to be closed Monday, March 23 at noon except to those who have documentation of business travel. Road closures and restrictions will be enacted on Friday March 27 to non-residents. A curfew has been enacted between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 am.

This affects the A.T. between Grassy Gap (mile 139.8, 3.1 miles north of Wesser/Nantahala River) and Fontana Dam (mile 166.3).

More information can be found on the Graham County Local Government Facebook page or in a news article here.

Nantahala National Forest Alerts
Alerts for the Nantahala National Forest portion of the A.T. (from the Georgia/North Carolina border to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be found here.

Bear-Proof Canisters Strongly Recommended on Nantahala Ranger District
Due to a number of close and serious bear encounters in Panthertown and along the Appalachian Trail, the Nantahala Ranger District is strongly recommending that backcountry campers use bear-proof containers for all food and scented items.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(3/24/2020) All park areas, except the Foothills Parkway and the Spur, closed at noon on Tuesday, March 24 and will be closed through Monday, April 6, in a continuing effort to support federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. More information can be found at www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.

Monitor updates on the park's Alerts Page. For a full list of road and facility closures and warnings throughout the park, click here. Weather-related road and facility closures may change throughout the day. For updated road and weather information please call (865) 436-1200. Once you hear a voice, dial extension 631 for road information or extension 630 for a weather forecast.

Backcountry Permit Fees
A backcountry permit must be obtained for overnight stays before entering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a $4 per person fee will be required for each night in the backcountry. Backcountry permits can be obtained up to 30 days in advance. Hikers who meet the definition of an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker (those who begin and end their hike at least 50 miles outside the park and only travel on the A.T. in the park) are eligible for a thru-hiker permit of $20 (valid for 38 days from the date issued for an up to 8 day hike through the Park). Permits are available at www.smokiespermits.nps.gov. You may also obtain a permit in person at the park’s Backcountry Office (at the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, TN) or over the phone; with permits issued by fax, mail or email. Hikers staying overnight in the backcountry are required to have a printed copy of the permit.
For more information, visit www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/backcountry-camping.htm or call (865) 436-1297.

Davenport Gap (Tenn. 32/N.C. 284, eastern boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park) – Vehicle break-ins and car thefts
Do not park overnight: This location has a history of vandalism and car thefts. Park at Big Creek Ranger Station in seasons when rangers are present.

North Carolina & Tennessee Border
Overmountain Shelter - Closed Until Further Notice
(9/4/19) In order to protect public safety, the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest has closed the Overmountain Shelter (mile 386.0). Forest Service engineers have determined that the building has become structurally unsound and cannot safely accommodate people. Further evaluations will occur to identify viable management options for the site. The fields around the shelter remain open for tent camping; hikers are asked not to pitch their tent within 40 feet of the shelter in the event there is a structural failure. For more information, view our press release here.


Watauga Dam - Bears Active in Area
(2019) No picnicking, lingering or overnight camping. Hiking the Appalachian Trail only. BEARS ACTIVE IN THIS AREA. Please continue through the area without stopping.  Camping Closure Order: National Forest System lands from Oliver Hollow Rd. to Wilbur Dam; closed to camping until further notice.

Watauga Lake Shelter – Closed/Removed
(May 2019) Watauga Lake Shelter has been dismantled due to the ongoing bear activity as referenced in the above USFS Camping Closure Order.
US 19E - Parking not recommend
There is a long-standing recommendation by the local A.T. maintaining club to avoid parking at this location.

Southwest Virginia

(3/18/20) Lick Creek Bridge Washout
(3/18/20) The A.T. footbridge over Lick Creek in Bland County (mile 563.8) has washed out. Lick Creek is 5.4 miles north of the A.T. trailhead at Virginia Highway 42 (O’Lystery picnic pavilion), and 1.4 miles south of the A.T. trailhead at VA-625 (Poor Valley). Hikers should be prepared to ford the creek, wait out high-water conditions, or backtrack if needed. Lick Creek is typically no more than knee-deep at the A.T. crossing, but may become deeper and more hazardous after a heavy rain. Hikers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with standard safety tips for fording creeks and rivers before hiking this section.

(9/18/19) Trail Closure & Temporary Re-Route near Dickey Gap (Mount Rogers National Recreation Area)
The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) footbridge over Comers Creek is unsafe due to a structural fault and will be removed. The previous route of the A.T. is currently CLOSED for two miles, until a safe crossing of Comers Creek is established. The closed section is between Comers Creek Road/VA-650/Dickey Gap and the junction with the Dickey Gap Trail.
A temporary re-reroute of the Appalachian Trail (now following VA-650/Comers Creek Road, the Hurricane Campground Road, and Dickey Gap Trail) has been marked with white blazes and is the official route of the A.T. until further notice. Directions are below.

Starting at Dickey Gap A.T. trailhead, mile 520.1 (near the junction of VA 16 and VA 650/Comers Creek Road):

Turn RIGHT on gravel Comers Creek Road (VA 650), away from paved VA 16. Follow the gravel road for 1.5 miles to the paved road opposite Hurricane Campground. Turn LEFT on paved road opposite Hurricane Campground, and follow it for 0.3 miles. Look for the wooden signpost for the Dickey Gap Trail on your left. Turn LEFT onto Dickey Gap Trail and follow it 0.4 miles to where it ends at the A.T. junction. Turn RIGHT to continue southbound on the Appalachian Trail.

Starting at A.T. junction with Dickey Gap Trail, mile 518.1 (please note wooden signpost at the junction reads "Hurricane Campground 0.4 miles" but does not say "Dickey Gap Trail"; also, note some sources refer to this trail informally as the “Hurricane Campground Trail.”):

Turn LEFT on the Dickey Gap Trail. Follow Dickey Gap Trail 0.4 miles until it ends at the paved road opposite Hurricane Campground. Turn RIGHT on the paved road and follow it for 0.3 miles until it ends at Comers Creek Road/VA 650, which is a gravel road. Turn RIGHT on the gravel road and follow it for 1.5 miles until you reach the A.T. near the junction of VA 650 and paved VA 16. To continue northbound, rejoin the A.T. on the same side of the road as the parking lot and information kiosk.

Bear Warning: Mount Rogers & Grayson Highlands
(Updated 11/8/2019)  In 2018 and 2019, multiple bear/human encounters were reported along the Appalachian Trail in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park. Bears have successfully retrieved food bags hung in trees as far south as Thomas Knob Shelter (northbound mile 499.0), and as far north as Hurricane Shelter (northbound mile 515.0). Unoccupied tents and packs have also been damaged by bears looking for food.

If you plan to camp overnight in the Mount Rogers area, ATC recommends you camp only where you can store your food in a metal food storage locker or "bear box." Even if you carry a personal bear-resistant food storage device, it's best to store it inside a bear box in this area.

Bear boxes have been installed at 9 sites between Damascus and Marion. Those sites are: Saunders Shelter, Lost Mountain Shelter, Thomas Knob Shelter, Rhododendron Gap between the A.T. and the Crest Trail, Wise Shelter, Scales, Old Orchard Shelter, Hurricane Mountain Shelter, and Trimpi Shelter.

In particular, camping is not recommended near the Fox Creek/VA-603 trailhead due to multiple reports of stolen food, bear encounters, and property damage at campsites along the A.T. and at nearby Grindstone Campground.

Visitors are advised to use all precautions for traveling in black bear country during their visit. Please report bear incidents anywhere on the A.T. at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CCYZGC2

Mt. Rogers – Vehicle break-ins and thefts
The Trail between Damascus and VA Rt. 16 at Mt. Rogers NRA Headquarters has a long history of vehicle break-ins and thefts.

Central Virginia
Paul C. Wolfe Shelter - CLOSED
(3/24/2020) The Paul C. Wolfe Shelter (mile 859.3) is closed as part of Blue Ridge Parkway facility closures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Effective immediately, backcountry campers and A.T. thru-hikers with reservations for this location are authorized to use a tent outside the shelter to provide for social distancing. Restrooms on the Blue Ridge Parkway are also closed.

Brown Mountain Creek - Temporary Relocation
A 0.7-mile section of the A.T. has been temporarily relocated due to damage to the lower Brown Mountain Creek bridge. The relocation is blazed and signed at both ends. The relocation is approximately 0.1 shorter, on an old roadbed. The bridge is expected to be replaced in 2020.

Pearisburg/Peters Mountain – Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction
(6/29/18) A.T. hikers should be alert for construction-related activity in the vicinity of Pocahontas Road (mile 640.9) and Symms Gap Meadow (mile 648.3), on Peters Mountain north of Pearisburg, VA. The Appalachian Trail will remain open during construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Parking at the junction of Clendennin Road/Va. 641 and Pocahontas Road (mile 640.8) is more limited than usual, and hikers may be approached by a security guard with information about construction activities.

Shenandoah National Park

The Backcountry is CLOSED to Overnight Camping Through April 30
(3/26/2020) The Shenandoah National Park backcountry is closed to overnight camping through April 30. There is no overnight camping in the park at this time. Appalachian Trail huts, shelters, and cabins are closed.  All restrooms are closed. More information can be found on the Shenandoah National Park Facebook page.

All Shelters in the Park - CLOSED
(3/24/2020) All shelters (referred to as "huts" in the park) and cabins in Shenandoah National Park are closed. More information can be found here.

Water Source Updates
A listing of water sources and their conditions along the Appalachian Trail and Skyline Drive, including numerous year-round frost-free hydrants, can be found here.

Bear Advisory at Huts in the Park
There has been increased bear activity reported in the park, especially at lean-tos (called "huts" in Shenandoah National Park) with a heightened potential for encounters with wildlife.  Habituated bears have sometimes learned to associate tents and backpacks with food, so if you do stay there, be especially diligent about properly storing food and toiletries with scents, leaving no crumbs or wrappers in your tent or backpack, and do not leave your pack unattended.

Park Facilities
Click here for the Park's facility schedule.
This includes opening and closing dates for lodges, campgrounds, camp stores, waysides (snack bars, limited groceries, souvenirs, and gasoline), and visitor centers. Note this year the opening of Big Meadows Wayside will be delayed; the website goshenandoah.com/dining/food-groceries may have more current information on the status of this facility.

Skyline Drive Updates
Skyline Drive is a 2-lane scenic highway following the ridgecrest and traversing the length of the Park. It roughly parallel and frequently crosses the Appalachian Trail. It is open year round; however, the Drive may be temporarily closed on short notice for indefinite periods due to weather related conditions. For the most current Skyline Drive status, call (540) 999-3500, choose Option 1, and then Option 1. Park staff also post opening and closing information on Facebook and Twitter.
Northern Virginia

Snickers Gap/Va. 7 area parking notice
(4/22/16 - present) Hikers are cautioned against parking on the shoulders of VA 679 if the VA 679 parking lot is full - vehicles parked on either shoulder will be towed. Alternate parking is available nearby at the intersection of VA 7 and VA 601, where a rather large parking lot is located. If your car is towed, contact the Clarke County Communications Center at (540) 955-1234.

West Virginia
(3/28/2020) Harpers Ferry - Public Parking and Traffic Restrictions
Following Governor Jim Justice’s orders, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and due to the fact that Harpers Ferry is a mixing point between many large cities drawing visitors from various locations and has the potential to promote the spread of the disease, the Mayor, Recorder and Town Council are taking steps to combat the observed unsafe gatherings of people that violate necessary social distancing to stop the spread of this virus.

Effective 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 27 March 2020, the Town will be temporarily closing all public parking within the Corporation of Harpers Ferry. During the weekend, Hog Alley will be closed and there will be no left turn from High Street onto Shenandoah Street. Anyone driving into the downtown area from Washington Street will be directed out of town via Shenandoah Street. Traffic entering Town via US 340 / Shenandoah Street will be directed up High / Washington Street. Except for residents and merchants who remain open, no traffic will be permitted on Potomac Street during the weekend. For more information, visit the website of the Corporation of Harpers Ferry.

Due to public health concerns, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, will be closed until further notice as we assess the best methods to ensure all visitors, staff members and volunteers are kept as safe and healthy as possible.

Due to public health concerns, the 6th Annual Flip Flop Festival has been canceled.

(3/2/2020) The National Park Service released an update on the status of the Goodloe E. Byron Memorial Pedestrian Walkway (footbridge) across the Potomac River. Planning efforts are underway and NPS is currently considering options for a shuttle service that would transport hikers and visitors around the footbridge closure until repairs can be completed. Until this shuttle system is in place, A.T. visitors should still secure their own transportation across the Potomac River using the links found on appalachiantrail.org/transportation.

(12/21/19): The footbridge crossing the Potomac River in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is closed until further notice due to a train that occurred on Dec. 21, 2019. For more information, see the West Virginia section below.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park - Facilities update
(11/19/2019) The bathrooms located by the park Bookstore in Lower Town will be closed for renovations until March 2020. There are signs in place to direct visitors to the bathrooms located in the John Brown Museum, across Shenandoah Street from John Brown's Fort.

Harpers Ferry - Lodging update
(Updated 11/13/2019) Two of three Harpers Ferry area hostels have recently closed. The Teahorse Hostel has closed (except for whole-hostel rental over the holidays) and is for sale; the Hosteling International Harpers Ferry Hostel in Knoxville, Maryland has closed permanently. The Town's Inn hostel option remains available year-round (no advance reservations; beds are on a first-come, first-serve basis at 6 a.m. each day).

Loudoun Heights - A.T. Relocation and Loudoun Heights Trail changes
(10/7/2019) A 0.4-mile A.T. relocation toward the top of Loudoun Heights not changed the mileage significantly; however, the A.T. now reaches the ridgetop about 0.4 south of its former location. The new location is just north of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park southern boundary and a few hundred feet north of the Virginia/West Virginia border.

The Split Rock overlook at the north end of the blue-blazed Loudoun Heights Trail can now be accessed from the A.T. only via the Orange Trail, which connects to the northern half of the blue-blazed Loudoun Heights Trail. The Loudoun Heights Trail south of the Orange Trail has been closed. To see the current trail route, view this Loudoun Heights Hike Map.


(3/20/2020) The Maryland Park Service has closed all shelters and camping areas along the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. Camping is also prohibited outside of these areas along the A.T. in Maryland, so hikers should postpone or cancel any overnight hiking plans for all 40 miles of A.T. in Maryland. The closure is scheduled to last until May 11, but this might be extended..  

Restrooms and Bathhouse operated by South Mountain Recreation Area—Closed for the Winter
(11/4/2019)  The Dahlgren Backpackers Campground seasonal bathroom and showers have been closed for the winter season; restrooms at Crampton Gap State Park and Washington Monument State Park have also been closed; portable toilets are in place at these locations operated by South Mountain Recreation Area. Water is available from frost-free spigots at these locations year-round.

Pen Mar - Parking Pass Available
(Updated 12/12/2018) An advance parking pass is available for overnight parking at PenMar. It is not required, but is strongly recommended for those leaving a vehicle for more than a couple of nights. Here's how to get the pass:

Click here to email the Washington County Parks and Facilities Department. Be prepared to provide the following information:

(1) make and model of your vehicle.
(2) registered owner's name.
(3) tag information.
(4) dates the vehicle will parked.

You will receive a "Do Not Tow" pass as an attachment that must be printed and posted in your vehicle so local police will know that the vehicle has been registered. For more information, call (240) 313-2700 Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (reduced hours during winter months).
Sandy Hook Road Re-Opened Temporarily
(10/26/2018) Sandy Hook Road (which provides access to trailhead parking for the Maryland Heights Trail near the A.T./C&O Towpath Junction across from Harpers Ferry) has re-opened. Debris removal from a landslide that occurred above the road this spring has been completed, but slope stabilization will still be required. People traveling on the road adjacent to the landslide area should exercise caution. More information can be found at www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/management/md-hgts-landslide.htm.


Hamburg Reservoir Watershed Lands - CLOSED
(3/26/2020) The Borough of Hamburg has closed approximately 10 miles of the A.T. on Hamburg Reservoir Watershed Lands to public access. This closure affects the A.T. from about 2.0 miles north of Port Clinton to approximately 2.5 miles south of Hawk Mountain Road and includes Pulpit Rock vista and The Pinnacle vista. For more information, see the Borough of Hamburg website.

Shelters on Pennsylvania DCNR Lands CLOSED
(Updated 3/23/2020) The following overnight A.T. shelters on Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry lands are closed:

- Deer Lick (mile 1071.7)
- Tumbling Run (mile 1075.3)
- Rocky Mountain (108.9)
- Quarry Gap (mile 1087.5)
- Birch Run (mile 1094.9)
- Toms Run (mile 1101.1)
- James Fry at Tagg Run (mile 1112.0)
- Eagles Nest (mile 1211.2)
- Leroy Smith (mile 1275.9)
- Kirkridge (mile 1289.6)

Primitive backpack camping (tenting) is still permitted in accordance with the state forest rules and regulations; however, all trail shelters on these lands are closed. Social distancing is encouraged.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park - Temporary A.T. -  Reroute Nearby
(3/17/2020) There will be temporary reroute of the A.T. approximately 2 miles in length south of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA. The reroute will occur sometime between 3/16 - 3/20/2020 and will last approximately 1 to 2 weeks. The Trail will be rerouted onto a section of the blue blazed Sunset Rocks Trail starting immediately south of the Toms Run Shelters, extending north about one (1) mile and onto Michaux Road for approximately 300 ft. and then onto the "Dynamite Haul Road" for a little over 1/2 mile to rejoin the A.T. just north of Bunker Hill Road and Half Mile Spring. The temporary reroute will be in place while the Michaux District of the PA Bureau of Forestry conducts herbicide applications along the current A.T. to control non-native invasive plants as part of a 200 acre habitat restoration project in the area of Camp Michaux and Bunker Hill Road.

Lehigh Furnace Gap to Little Gap - A.T. Relocation
(12/20/2019) A short section of the planned relocation of the A.T. through the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site has been opened for public use. This section is on the east (trail north) side of Lehigh Gap, above the parking lot and below the climb through the rock fall. Additional segments will be opened in the coming years, so hikers should pay careful attention to following blazing and any signage.

Pine Grove General Store closed for the winter
(11/4/2019) The store, located in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, is closed until late spring.

Antietam Shelter Removed
(5/7/19) The Antietam Shelter (mile 1073.5 from Springer Mtn., GA) has been removed.

Susquehanna Trail - partial closure
(1/24/19)  The branch of the Susquehanna Trail (just north of the Susquehanna River) that follows an old logging road onto private property adjacent to the A.T. corridor has been closed to public access. Hikers should remain on the shorter branch that starts above the Clarks Ferry Bridge and rejoins the A.T. about 1/4 mile south of the Clarks Ferry Shelter.

Scott Farm Water Source No Longer Available
(Re-confirmed 4/22/19) Due to an unrepairable leak, the hydrant at the ATC Scott Farm Trail Work Center, adjacent to the Conodoguinet Creek Bridge (mile 1133.0) has been shut off and no public drinking water at this location is available.  

Caledonia State Park - Flood Damage
(10/18/18) The footpath along Conococheague Creek was damaged by recent flooding and is currently closed. Please follow the marked detour.

Rausch Gap Area - Beaver Activity Flooding
(6/11/18) The footpath approximately 9/10 of a mile north of Rausch Gap Shelter has flooded due to beaver activity on Haystack Creek. About 150 feet are under water - hikers should expect to wade here for the foreseeable future.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park – Parking rules
Pine Grove Furnace State Park requires that hikers check in with the park office before leaving a vehicle in the park and that vehicles be left for no more than one week.

Caledonia State Park – Parking rules
Caledonia State Park requests that those parking overnight at the parking area on Rt. 30 register at the park office. For more information, contact the park at (717) 352-2161.  

Lehigh Gap to Little Gap – CAUTION - Remedial activities in progress
(4/9/15-present) Remedial activities associated with the revegetation of Blue Mountain are currently being conducted near the A.T. between Lehigh Gap and Little Gap as part of the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site. The Appalachian Trail and blue-blaze Winter Trail will remain open during these activities. Occasional truck traffic will occur on the administrative access road that parallels the A.T. Hikers are advised to stay on the A.T. and not use the road.

Pennsylvania Game Commission
Fluorescent Orange Requirement Nov. 15 - Dec 15: On state game lands in Pennsylvania (much of the A.T. between the Susquehanna River and Delaware Water Gap--roughly the northern 2/3 of the state), all hunters and non-hunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, or a fluorescent orange hat, from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 (except on Sundays). The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees). For more information about hunting safety along the A.T. visit www.appalachiantrail.org/hunting.  

Camping Regulations: Only thru-hikers (defined as those "walking the Appalachian Trail from point of beginning to an exit, which is not the place of beginning") may camp on Pennsylvania Game Commission lands, and these hikers must camp within 200 ft of A.T. and at least 500 ft from a spring, stream or public access area.  

New Jersey
ALERT: Pochuck Boardwalk - CLOSED
(3/30/2020) The Pochuck Boardwalk on the Appalachian Trail in Vernon, a 1.5-mile section off Route 517 in Glenwood, is CLOSED. This trail’s boardwalk and bridge are too narrow for visitors to maintain the required six feet of social distancing. There is no parking allowed on Route 517 adjacent to the boardwalk. The remaining 18.5 miles the Appalachian Trail in Wawayanda State Park remain OPEN. The Appalachian Trail and other trails can still be accessed at other parking lots in Wawayanda State Park.

ALERT: Kittatinny Point Area - CLOSED
(3/30/2020) The Kittatinny Point area in New Jersey, including the parking lots and the picnic area, will be closed until further notice as of 8 am on Friday, March 27. Additionally, Worthington State Forest and the New Jersey Department of Transportation will close the state-owned parking areas on the westbound side of Interstate 80, including the Dunnfield Parking Area.

ALERT: Shelters and Privies Closed in New Jersey - Overnight Camping Discouraged
(3/20/2020) Shelters and privies on the A.T. in the state of New Jersey have been closed until further notice. Overnight camping is discouraged, though still allowed around the shelter; social distancing should be practiced and hikers should dig catholes more than 200 feet from water sources and campsites to bury human (and pet) waste. Camping in areas other than those designated by signs is also prohibited; campfires are also prohibited. The trail remains open. For more info, see the  New Jersey A.T. Shelter Closure signage.

Worthington State Forest - Side Trail Name Changes
(6/12/19) The names of several side trails connecting to the A.T. in Worthington State Forest have been changed - the former Red Dot Trail is now the Mount Tammany Trail, the former Blue Dot Trail is now the Pahaquarry Trail and the former Turquoise Trail is now the Buckwood Trail. Blazing of these trails remains the same - a red dot on a white blaze, a blue dot on white blaze and a turquoise blaze, respectively.

Vernon - Rt. 517
(5/6/16 to present) Hikers are urged to obey the No Parking signs on Rt. 517. Parking along 517 is very limited and cars parked in the No Parking zone have been ticketed recently.

New York
Little Dam Lake Inlet Crossing - Temporary High Water/Winter Route
(1/31/2020) Stepping stones may be flooded during high water and iced over in winter at the crossing of the Little Dam Lake Inlet (mile 1383.7). Please do not attempt to cross at those times or add branches and other materials, as this raises the water higher over the crossing for longer periods and creates hazardous footing.

While a permanent solution to the crossing is being worked on, please either drive around or take the following road walk between East Mombasha Road (mile 1383.4) and Orange Turnpike (mile 1384.8).

Northbound Directions:
Turn right onto East Mombasha Rd.; follow south for 0.6 mile.
Turn left onto Bramertown Rd., follow east 0.8 mile.
Turn left onto Orange Turnpike, follow north 1.1 mile.
Turn right (compass east) onto A.T. to continue northbound.

Southbound Directions:
Turn left (south) onto Orange Turnpike, follow 1.1 mile.
Turn right (west) onto Bramerton Rd., follow 0.8 mile.
Turn right (north) onto East Mombasha Rd., follow 0.6 mile.
Turn left (compass west) onto A.T. to continue southbound.

Duell Hollow Bridge - Closed/re-route in place
(11/22/2019) Effective 11/23/2019, the Duell Hollow Bridge (mile 1456.9, close to the New York/Connecticut border between the Wiley Shelter in New York and CT 55) has officially been closed due to structural issues. Pending replacement the posted 1.25 mile road walk will now be the official Appalachian Trail until further notice. Please adhere to the posted detour as fording the brook can be extremely dangerous due to fluctuating water levels and currents.

Fingerboard Shelter - Aggressive Bear
(10/24/2019) There have been multiple reports of habituated bears stealing hikers' food at the Fingerboard Shelter site (mile 1390.1), including ripping tents in search of food. Hikers are advised to use the newly-installed food hanging cable or a bear resistant canister used according to the manufacturer's directions. Food should never be taken into or stored inside a hiker's tent. See www.appalachiantrail.org/bears for more tips on storing food and staying safe from bears.

Shenandoah Tenting Area Alert - Water source contaminated (Pump Closed)
(Updated 12/20/2018) The well at this campsite has been closed due to microbial contamination and will remain in effect until further notice.


Water source update
Info on the status of water sources in CT:

No reports.

Ct. 55—Vandalism report
(12/4/2018) A car break-in was reported at the trailhead parking area at Ct. 55 (mile 1,457.6) around 11/10/2018.

Water source update
Info on the status of water sources in CT:

Refer to AT Water Availability in Connecticut page by Appalachian Mountain Club Connecticut Chapter.

River Road in Kent - Seasonal closure to vehicular traffic (Memorial Day to Labor Day)
(Recurring seasonal closure) The gate on the roadwalk portion of River Road in Kent, CT, trail north of St. John's Ledges, is closed from Memorial Day through Labor Day to vehicular access.  Foot travel is welcome.



Overnight Camping Temporarily Prohibited on A.T. through entire 90 miles of the A.T. in Massachusetts; Shelters, Campsites and Privies are Closed  
(3/26/20) Effective March 25, 2020 until further notice: Appalachian Trail Shelters, Campsites and Privies on Massachusetts Forest and Park lands are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 Virus. Camping is also prohibited outside of these areas along the A.T. in Massachusetts, so hikers should postpone or cancel any overnight hiking plans for all 90 miles of A.T. in Massachusetts. More information will be posted as it is available.

Mt. Greylock – Bascom Lodge Closed Tuesdays
(1/28/20) Bascom Lodge at the summit of Mt. Greylock (mile 1589.1) will be closed on Tuesdays when it opens for the 2020 season. Water will still be available at the spigot at the back of the building.

Sherman Brook Primitive Campsite - Bear Activity
(7/17/2019) A bear unafraid of humans has visited the Sherman Brook Primitive Campsite (northbound mile 596.2) in search of hikers' food. Do not cook or eat near your tent, keep food secured at all times, and utilize the bear box on site.

Tyringham Mass, Goose Pond Rd Parking Area – Vehicle break-ins
(5/5/2019) Several cars were broken into around 5/5/2019.

North Adams/Mass. 2 Parking lot - Closed
(4/23/2019) The Greylock Community Club has closed the A.T. parking lot on their property in North Adams. Local officials and trail managers are working together to identify an alternative parking option.

Shaker Campsite—regular bear activity
The Shaker Campsite (mile 1540.4 north of Springer) sees regular bear activity. The bears have not been aggressive, but are not frightened away by human activity. Hikers are advised to immediately place their food and other odoriferous items into the bear box at the campsite upon arrival, and to prepare and cook food away from their tents.

New Food Storage Requirements
(7/28/2019) The Green Mountain National Forest has implemented a forest order that affects the entire A.T. in Vermont. Except while being consumed, all food, food containers and refuse shall be stored suspended at least twelve (12) feet above the ground and not less than six (6) feet horizontally from any object. Bear boxes and bear canisters designed specifically for food and/or refuse storage are acceptable. More information can be found here.

Multiple bear incidents.
(7/17/2019) Due to multiple bear incidents caused by improper food storage by humans, Goddard Shelter (mile 1622.9) had to be closed, and the bear that had become habituated had to be killed. The shelter has re-opened.

Bear activity (including reports of stolen food bags) has been noted at:
Kid Gore Shelter (mile 1627.2)
Story Spring Shelter (mile 1631.8)
Stratton Pond Shelter (mile 1642.2)

Check out the Green Mountain Club’s blog on how hikers can keep their food and themselves safe and avoid creating problem bears: Problem Bears? Or Problem People?  

Avoid hiking in Vermont during Mud Season (April and May)
Hikers are asked to avoid hiking the A.T. in Vermont and other states in northern New England during April and May, when trail conditions are poor and trails are very susceptible to damage. For more information, see our Mud Season page, and visit the Green Mountain Club's blog post Mud Season Has Arrived! Help Protect Fragile Environments. During mud season, follow the Green Mountain Club Facebook page for updates.

Long-distance hikers who cannot change their plans are asked to walk in the middle of trail through the mud to avoid damaging the fragile edges of the Trail and widening the footpath. Snowshoes and traction devices may still be required in some areas. Tips on hiking in winter conditions that may still be present during this period be found here.

New Hampshire

No updates at this time.


Kennebec River Ferry Service
(4/18/2019) The Kennebec River is the most formidable unbridged crossing along the entire A.T. Do not attempt to ford the river. Please use the ferry service.

Schedule for 2020
The Kennebec Ferry will operate May 22-October 12 in 2020.

The hours of operation are as follows:
May 22-June 30 from 9am-11am
July 1- September 30 from 9am-2pm
October 1- October 12 from 9am-11am

The Kennebec River is the most formidable, crossing on the A.T.:

• The Kennebec is approximately 400 feet wide with a swift, powerful current.
• As a result of water releases from multiple hydro facilities on the river, the depth and current of the river surge quickly and unpredictably. You cannot cross faster than the water level rises!
• Even at the lowest water levels, slippery rocks and strong currents make fording dangerous. • Arrive early in the time period to ensure a safe and enjoyable crossing.
• If, in the judgment of the ferry operator, river or weather conditions make the crossing dangerous, the service will be discontinued until conditions improve.
• Hikers are required to complete and sign a release form, wear a life jacket, and follow instructions.
• Groups of 6 or more – call or email the Ferry Operator to schedule a crossing. Arrive early!
• Pending availability, service outside of the regular season (see above dates) may be arranged for a $50 fee per crossing (1 or 2 hikers). Please call or e-mail in advance to make arrangements. • No service will be available between November 1st and April 30th.

For more information and a schedule, view the Maine Appalachian Trail Club's Kennebec River Ferry page or download a flyer here.

Appalachian Trail Visitor Center in Monson, ME
(Updated 8/26/19) Everyone is welcome. Long-distance hikers are able to obtain information about the 2019 Baxter State Park hiker permit. Staff are available to help plan logistics for the 100 Mile Wilderness and Katahdin. Trail conditions posted daily. Community and day hike information also available.
Hours: 8am - 11am and 1pm - 5pm, every day (June 5 to October 14)
Address: 6 Tenney Hill, Monson, ME 04464
Phone: (207) 573-0163  (active as of June 5)
Email: monsonvisitorcenter@appalachiantrail.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/monsonatvisitorcenter/

If visiting in person, note that the visitor center
is located in the Monson Historical Society
building on the town’s main street
(Route 6/15).

Baxter State Park

(Updated 8/26/19) 2019 Appalachian Trail Long Distance Hiker Permit: A free A.T. long distance hiker permit is required of all long distance A.T. hikers: Northbound Thru-Hikers (Nobos), Southbound Thru-Hikers (Sobos), Flip-Flop Thru-Hikers and Section-hikers.

Long distance A.T. hikers must obtain a permit card in person at Katahdin Stream Campground when the A.T. (Hunt Trail) opens for hiking. Once hikers obtain a permit card they will need to have it stamped at the Katahdin Stream Ranger Station.

The number of AT-Hiker Permit Cards for 2019 are limited by a Baxter State Park quota: 3150 A.T. hikers. If all available permit cards have been issued for 2019, "The Birches" long distance hiker campsite will close for the year. Hikers may complete their hike by obtaining a Day Use Parking Reservation (DUPR) or campground reservation (cannot be processed via smartphone) and enter the Park through the Togue Pond Gate.

For more information, please visit the Baxter State Park webpage or refer to FAQs below.

Hikers staying overnight within the park boundary must camp at designated sites; reservations are necessary for overnight sites for all hikers except those who have arrived on foot walking more than 100 miles. (Southbound thru-hikers should plan on making reservations for at least the night following their climb of Katahdin, and possibly the night before). All overnight hikers must pay a camping fee whether a reservation is obtained in advance or not. For more information about camping in the park and climbing Katahdin, visit www.baxterstatepark.org and the Baxter State Park Facebook page.

Access to Mt. Abraham - The Rapid Stream road damaged
It is being repaired only to the last house which is 3 miles short of the trailhead.

John F Dean
Posts: 1738
Location: southern Illinois.
composting toilet food preservation homestead
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Hi Mike,

This brings back a lot of memories. My wife and I hiked the AT .... Maine to Georgia in 74.  Yep, we weren't too bright.  It rained constantly in Maine and by the time we reached Georgia we had the heat.
Staff note (Mike Barkley) :

South bounders eh? That's the hard way all right. (as if northbound is easy)

Posts: 1233
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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It sounds like normal human behavior. Slightly trigger happy, anxious, rumor driven, little thought, less "consideration". However.

As the picture shows, local economies get $$$'s flowing in for a few moments. In the great scheme of things, these few thousands (across the country) will leave a mess of litter, but not much impact. Just annoyance  and the creepy feeling one gets seeing another human acting really, utterly, foolish. This looks like a very transient affect, one amoung many problems and disruptions  created by a pandemic that nobody will be able to escape or ignore for long which in and of themselves won't matter much.

Judith Browning
Posts: 7638
Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I guess it was only a matter of time....

So glad to have hiked the less popular trails near us all winter up until last week. we rarely saw a soul...this closure is not surprising, just sad.

"Effective immediately, Buffalo National River will be closed to recreational use until further notice. This closure includes the Buffalo River, trails, open spaces, and campgrounds. This emergency closure is for the maintenance of public health and safety and is in direct response to guidance from state and federal health officials. The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, communities, and partners is our number one priority."

Those ecosystems will enjoy the break from our intrusion I'm sure.....

It will be interesting to see if folks take to backpacking in and try to hide out?

The spread in Arkansas is slow but steady and I hear just this morning that the manager at the only grocery store we were relying on has tested positive now

Posts: 752
Location: Porter, Indiana
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Rufus Laggren wrote:In the great scheme of things, these few thousands (across the country) will leave a mess of litter, but not much impact. Just annoyance  and the creepy feeling one gets seeing another human acting really, utterly, foolish.

I hope that is the extent of the impact. However, some of the people leaving the cities are varying the virus with them as well, and as they flee they make it so every place gets hit hard at the same time.
Posts: 1044
Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
hugelkultur forest garden trees chicken wofati earthworks building solar rocket stoves woodworking homestead
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On the other side of the country Pacific Crest Trail PCT says this

A Message to Long-Distance Permit Holders

March 16, 2020
ALSO: Read our General COVID-19 Message to the PCT Community

With the continuing spread of COVID-19, we understand that many of you are struggling with difficult decisions regarding your planned PCT journeys. We know many of you currently cannot travel to the United States, and others, for a variety of reasons, are not able to begin on your permitted start date. We also recognize that some of you have planned a long-distance trip for years, left jobs, sublet apartments and more to realize your PCT dreams. Foremost among your questions is confusion over whether to continue, postpone, or cancel your journeys completely?

All of us are in unknown territory with this pandemic. As you have likely seen, the situation nationwide is extremely fluid and changing daily. It is difficult to provide detailed information or guidance today, because it will be different tomorrow, and again in a week.

What we can offer is information regarding your long-distance permits. Below is a message from the U.S. Forest Service, the lead management agency for the PCT. Please read this information carefully. If you still have permit-related questions, email us at permits@pcta.org. We have also included (below the USFS message) some guidance for PCT users to reduce your chances of contracting any illness.

Regarding the question of whether to begin, postpone, or cancel your hike—we cannot answer this question for you. There are simply too many variables and too much volatility in the day-to-day situation nationwide regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. What we can say is the following:

We urge you to exercise personal responsibility in your decisions. According to the CDC, COVID-19 has an unusually long incubation period. This, combined with the fact that some people may carry the virus while showing no symptoms, means that you could come in contact with the virus without knowing it. This is why the leading method to limit the spread of the virus is social distancing (which includes avoiding non-essential travel).

We take this pandemic seriously and are extremely concerned not only for your health and safety, but for society’s as well. Review the CDC Guidelines, practice social distancing (to include avoiding mass public transit), and make the most responsible decisions you can.

This is a difficult time, and we are monitoring the situation in partnership with other National Scenic Trails so that collectively, we can do everything possible to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Thank you,
Liz Bergeron
CEO and Executive Director
Pacific Crest Trail Association

USFS Guidance for Long-Distance Permits

March 16, 2020

March 23 UPDATE: For currently permitted north-bound long-distance hikes starting at the Southern Terminus, be advised you can no longer complete a planned long-distance trip due to public land and facility closures. Your PCT long-distance permit is valid only on public lands that are open for travel.

Land managers are making daily decisions on access, as of March 23, 2020, the following closures are in place:

• Yosemite National Park is closed to all public access.
• Cleveland National Forest is no longer issuing developed camping permits.
• California State Park campgrounds are closed.

Local conditions are changing daily. Please contact the local agency unit for the most current information. With the rapidly changing situation, PCTA asks those who are on the trail—as well as those waiting to start—to cancel or postpone your journeys.

As the lead administrator for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, the Forest Service takes seriously our agency’s motto: “Caring for the land and serving the people.” That enduring value guides us as we face the difficult challenge of responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event and we appreciate the magnitude of the impact on healthcare workers and communities around the globe. It will no doubt touch each of you as well.

As you are likely aware, the terms and conditions of your PCT long-distance permit require you to start at the permitted location on the permitted start date. This allows the distribution of hikers and equestrians in a manner that minimizes your impact to the trail and maximizes access opportunities.

We understand that many of you have had your travel plans disrupted and have asked what to do if you cannot start your long-distance travel on your permitted start date. Please review the following adaptations we have implemented for the permitted 2020 season to respond to this extraordinary travel challenge:

1. Your health and the health of the PCT community is a priority. We urge you to exercise personal responsibility and consider the impacts you could have to the larger trail community if you are, or become, a COVID-19 carrier. Please follow CDC guidelines; the CDC is recommending people avoid all non-essential travel, apply rigorous personal hygiene, and practice social distancing. To cancel your permit, email the Pacific Crest Trail Association at permits@pcta.org; due to the high volume, please do not call about your permit.

2. For currently permitted northbound travelers starting at the Southern Terminus who cannot start on your permitted start date you may:

   Obtain a developed camping permit from the Cleveland National Forest and start on the date permitted.
   Obtain a wilderness permit from San Jacinto State Park for San Jacinto State Wilderness.
   Obtain a wilderness permit from the Inyo National Forest for travel on the John Muir Trail section that overlaps the PCT.
   Your PCT long-distance permit will be valid for the rest of your trip north of Sonora Pass (PCT mile 1016.9).

Please be patient, as the situation is unprecedented, dynamic and rapidly changing. In this climate, we know that these changes are stressful and whether you are traveling now or in the future, your safety and wellbeing is our highest priority.

Thank you,

Beth Boyst
USFS Pacific Crest Trail Administrator

Guidance for Pacific Crest Trail Hikers and Horseback Riders to Reduce Your Chance of Contracting Illness

(With thanks to our colleagues at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.)

Distancing yourself from others and maintaining good hygiene is the best defense for reducing your chances of contracting any illness:

   Wash your hands frequently with biodegradable soap at least 200 feet from water sources. When soap is not available, use hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol.
   Avoid sharing food. Do not eat out of the same food bag, share utensils or drink from other hikers’ water bottles.
   Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
   Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Use the crook of your arm (inner elbow) or use a tissue and dispose of it using Leave No Trace principles.
   Keep some distance between you and other hikers whenever possible, especially if anyone shows signs of being sick. Avoid shaking hands or other close contact — instead, elbow bumps or waving are safer ways to greet others.
   Avoid congregating in groups along the trail.
   If you are an older adult or have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, you are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 contraction. Hike and camp away from others to minimize the likelihood of infection.
   If you begin feeling sick, stay away from others and get off the trail until examined and cleared for return to the trail by a medical professional.

It is getting scary out there when the woods aren't a safe place.

If your planning a hike or live near a trail a would suggest you do a lot of research now about the conditions and regulations.

Devin Lavign
Posts: 1044
Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
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Just saw this too

Stay off the Pacific Crest Trail during the COVID-19 pandemic

On March 19, the PCTA asked all those who are already on the trail—as well as those waiting to start—to cancel or postpone your journeys. Unfortunately, not everyone observed this request.
Please stay off the Pacific Crest Trail.

Due to COVID-19, you are legally required to avoid non-essential travel and shelter-in-place throughout most of the U.S., including in California, Oregon, and Washington. Long-distance hiking on the PCT is non-essential travel. For everyone’s sake, it’s time for you to do your part and cancel or postpone your long-distance trip.

Many sections along the PCT as well as facilities are closed—with more closing each day. We are no longer providing information about what sections of the PCT are closed or open as the situation is rapidly changing, and we’ve asked long-distance users to cancel or postpone journeys. PCTA, as the nonprofit dedicated to the trail, does not have the authority to close the PCT, public lands, or revoke permits. That is the role of our partners in the land management agencies. Please read our permit page for more about that topic.
Now is not the time for a vacation.

Several communities have expressed concern about long-distance PCT hikers putting their populations at risk. Please respect the PCT community and our towns by canceling or postponing your journey. When it’s safe, you’ll be welcomed back.

PCTA supports you taking limited, local nature walks if you practice social distancing of 6 feet, and the location is not closed. Many trailheads are closed to emphasize the need for social distancing.

We take this pandemic seriously and are extremely concerned not only for your health but for society’s as well. Collectively, we should do everything possible to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Ignoring closures is a serious violation of the law. Please stay off the PCT and out of closed areas.

Posts: 296
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
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I read that some rich New Yorkers are escaping to their vacation homes and bringing COVID with them:

Tiny Long Island town now has more infections per 1,000 people than NYC after local official demanded a travel ban and warned 'coronavirus refugees' not to use the community as a 'personal isolation unit'


And some are bringing attitude and exceptionalism with them:

"'One woman called and asked if I could install a tennis court right away,' John Nocera, who owns a family owned house building company in the Hamptons,' said.

'She said that she was afraid the coronavirus was going t cause tennis camp to be cancelled, so she needed a tennis court so her kids could play.'"

So now I'm struggling with whether I should stay in town and at my work computer, or speed my retirement plan and move out to the country.  I feel guilty that I have that choice, even.
But if SHTF, I want to be on that side of the drive, nearer to my children.
Posts: 60
Location: The Great PNW
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Saw your pic of everyone going boating....YIKES.  Im a little surprised nobody has mentioned this yet, but...being in the area of the country that has been dealing with this virus the longest (Since Jan), what ive noticed is that:
People who arent taking this very seriously are using not working, or working "remotely" due to the virus as an excuse for a vacation. And since everything (like the movies, malls, etc) are closed, theyre of course flocking to vacation homes in remote locations, and to the general outdoors. It happened here weeks ago, then they started closing down parks and open spaces, because the traffic there was very high due to campers, people out partying, too many people on trails, people not social distancing, etc.
I know everyone's saying oh its because theyre trying to escape the virus, and in some cases, sure. Maybe thats the excuse. But im telling you, these people are out vacationing. Just plain and simple.
Posts: 898
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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In my little North Georgia county this has been a subject of discussion for the last week or so.  
The governor is being petitioned to close all public recreation areas.  
Rufus Laggren
Posts: 1233
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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Is lots of frivolous behavior going to make a long term difference to a lot of people? To how you or I need to act in the coming months? Hard to see that.

Seems to me, most of us will get the virus. By working at delaying tactics, "flattening the curve", we're helping to bail the boat for the ill prepared medical industry and give people at large a better chance of expert care when they get sick. But until a good effective vaccine appears,  nothing stops everybody from getting sick - probably not even hiding. Good vaccine looks to be 2+ years down the road, hopefully, so to me that looks like, yeah, we're all going to get it - the thing spreads trivially easily and people _will_ be people. There's always one (and more) in every crowd.

The human condition is that there are things bigger than us, individually, as a people and as a species, out there. To paraphrase Jesus, "...idiots will always be with us" and it might be best not to let them distract you. When one decides to go _forward_, regardless, there are many more important ways to apply one's energy than psyching out over our mortality and the thoughtlessness or whatever of ne'er do wells.

Posts: 378
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
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It is not just the transmission of the virus through asymptomatic carriers, inability to disinfect public places (railings, toilets) or improper social hygiene. It is those travelers who do not KNOW they are ill, who then develop serious symptoms and need rescuing (from wilderness areas) or putting strain on medical facilities in small communities.
Rufus Laggren
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Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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You're totally right. I just don't know if it matters whether the grief arrives by the foolishness of others which we can clearly see or by the standard "Act of Gawd" which nobody can call into account. They are really just different names for the same thing. I'm-Hit-Bad-And I Can't Make It Different. But I gonna do my best as things unfold. It looks to me like the pandemic will get "here", to our own personal group, whoever we are, wherever we are, shortly and there will be all sorts of problems, pain and loss dealing with it regardless of how clearly we can see it's path to our door.

We are ALL in this particular boat - the good, bad and ugly... The Idiots. For example, the casualties in our federal legislature can bring them to the same place as widow in a nursing home - to death's door. They have a better chance of surviving than the widow or the homeless drunk, but they _will_ get hit and some _will_ go down. That's pretty awesome, serious, appalling (especially to those high & mighties no longer insulated so well) when you think of the size and diversity and power that is being to a great extent leveled.

I think that's serious enough for each of us to concentrate fully on making sure we personally do our best.  There's lots and lots each of us can do to better our part of this huge world. Good chance you yourself may become a hero to some. I can practically guarantee it won't feel real special and you probably won't be particularly comfortable about it. But it's nothing to be concerned about. You'll just do it and then have to put up with all the noise after. Or if you're lucky, not many will notice you and you'll be able to let somebody else stand on the podium and absorb the mass emotion while you drop off to well deserved exhausted sleep in the last row.

But we're all in it together even when some of us get stupid sometimes. Might as well not get distracted by the standard inevitable foolishness of a few.

Lorinne Anderson
Posts: 378
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
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All we can do is S-T-R-E-T-C-H out the transmission and spread so medical facilities are not overwhelmed. It WILL mean months, not weeks, of self isolation, social distancing, closed businesses, and no paycheques. The death tolls will rise, but how many die, from lack of available medical care, we CAN control IF we slow the spread.  

And yes, now is the time to embrace your inner hero! Whether that is by getting a shut in groceries, dropping off anonymous gifts, or mowing a lawn for someone who can't. Trust me, it feels wonderful to engage in these sort of random acts of kindness when the world is so full of bad news.  
Rufus Laggren
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Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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> feels wonderful to engage

Yeah, it does. <G>

master gardener
Posts: 1911
Location: Maine, zone 5
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It appears that China, through use of all out social distancing and the wearing of masks by everyone has stopped the virus from spreading much...near 100% compliance can work.  Not knowing how bad the long term effects will be for people who get this it seems prudent to me to do as much as possible to avoid letting the virus run until a vaccine has been proven safe.  Personally I can't see folks going back to work before there is PPE available for everyone.  When I last went to the store to pick up items for elderly relatives I was shocked at how few people are wearing masks, especially the people working with the public.  I worry that everyone working with the public will end up getting this virus and will then be busy passing it back to everyone in the public.  

My plan was to not go to the store at all for a few months, but I just didn't pre-think out far enough to realize that I would need to do store runs for others.  I did try to talk to my relatives about this in January and February, but they just didn't take it seriously.  As much as I hate going I just can't let them go.  I wear a mask as much to protect myself and others as I do to socialize the idea that everyone should be wearing one.  I still see too many people who aren't taking this serious enough so I think the rules are going to end up tightening a lot more to force the issue.  
Posts: 164
Location: Western Idaho
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I live in a small, rural tourist town in Idaho, the city is constantly putting out requests online and even on the news almost nightly. They're asking people to stay away for the time being and for people to stay in their primary residence but there is no enforcement at all. So, there is a constant influx of people. Its quite an annoyance to the locals, including myself but also I feel like if I had 2 homes I'd probably go to the one up in the mountains. The thing is, I don't have a second home, just the one, and it's an apartment. That's what I think is getting to people, the wealth disparity.
Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. -Euripides A foolish tiny ad:
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