BOILING SPRINGS – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will host a series of celebratory activities for the 75th anniversary of the completion of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) from August 1 to August 4 at 4 East First St., Boiling Springs, PA. Events include a series of family-friendly hikes, full moon evening hikes, education-based hikes and an open house of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office.
“This year marks a milestone for the Appalachian Trail,” said Mark Wenger, Executive Director and CEO of the ATC. “Not only does this anniversary celebrate the completion of the Trail, it also celebrates the unique collaboration and determination of countless individuals, private organizations, and state and federal agencies in their efforts to complete this long-distance hiking trail from Maine to Georgia.”
Activities begin Wednesday, August 1 at 10 a.m. with a presentation by Michele Miller, the ATC's Regional Program Resources Manager, on local plants and animals along the Trail. A six mile hike of the A.T. with Karen Balaban, past-president of the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club (SATC), will follow the presentation.
On Thursday, August 2 at 5:30 p.m., there will be a Bring-A-Friend Hike beginning at Victoria Trail, one of the many side trails offering access to the A.T. More experienced hikers are encouraged to bring a friend or family member. The hike is more challenging and will be led by Trisha Sanders of the SATC.
Two full moon hikes will be offered on August 2 at 7:15 p.m. In one, hikers will be led by Mike O'Connor of the Mountain Club of Maryland along the White Rocks Trail. The group will visit Center Point Knob and finish by hiking three miles to Iron Furnace through woods and open fields to enjoy the moonlight. The other hike will also be led by Karen Balaban along a two mile stretch of the A.T. to Table Rock.
A Hiking 101 presentation will be offered on Friday, August 3 at 6 p.m. by Bob Sickley, ATC's Trail Resources Manager, Kim Williams, ATC Landscape Protection Coordinator and Kim McKee, ATC PA ACT 24 Coordinator. All three have thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, and will share their stories and give a brief workshop on Leave No Trace principles. A three mile hike along the A.T. will follow, led by Rob Shaw of the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club (CVATC).
Another full moon hike will be offered on August 3 at 8 p.m. to Miller Gap in Perry County. Led by Jim Foster, CVATC president, hikers will travel along Blue Mountain on the Darlington trail before enjoying the moonlight at Miller Gap.
The final hike will begin on Saturday, August 4 at 9 a.m. Hikers will travel along the Shikellimy trail to the A.T., and then on to Peters Mountain and Clarks Creek.
The A.T. was completed 75 years ago on August 14, 1937. This task took over 15 years to complete, and involved the work of thousands of volunteers, agency partners, local Trail maintaining clubs, and the ATC. The A.T. is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail travels through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.
An estimated 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year and more than 2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. People from across the globe are drawn to the A.T. for a variety of reasons: to reconnect with nature, to escape the stress of city life, to meet new people or deepen old friendships, or to experience a simpler life.
The A.T. is a unit of the National Park System and is managed under a unique partnership between the public and private sectors that includes, among others, the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, an array of state agencies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs.
For more information about the 75th anniversary of the completion of the A.T. and these events, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/75.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy