Maine Appalachian Trail Club Ensures Hikers Have “Peak” Experience During Maine Fall Foliage Season

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Maine Appalachian Trail Club volunteers are planning last trail improvement trips for 2012 season.

Crew members of the Maine Appalachian Train Club installed stone steps and addressed erosion control on East Baldpate Mountain in Maine. Photo by  LC Kenway.

Crew members of the Maine Appalachian Train Club installed stone steps and addressed erosion control on East Baldpate Mountain in Maine. Photo by LC Kenway.

Maine’s spectacular fall foliage is a beautiful reward for any hiker,” said MATC President Lester Kenway.

With Autumn widely recognized as the best time for hiking, it’s no surprise that traffic on the Appalachian Trail right now is high. The Maine Appalachian Trail Club is seeing an increase in usage, especially as northbound thru-hikers make their way to Mt. Katahdin before October 15. That’s when the Baxter State Park Authority closes the last five miles of the A.T. before the onset of winter weather.

“Maine’s spectacular fall foliage is a beautiful reward for any hiker,” said MATC President Lester Kenway. “But it’s an added bonus for those determined thru-hikers trekking toward the end of their A.T. journey.”

Each year, between 1,000 and 2,000 people attempt to hike the A.T. from beginning to end. Most step onto the trail in early spring from its southern most point, Springer Mountain, Georgia. Those intrepid souls who complete the 2,180-mile journey earn the “thru-hiker” title.

While October 15 is an unofficial deadline, it does increase the number of hikers on the trail. Up to 500 hikers make the round trip climb up Katahdin – the A.T.’s northern terminus - each day during this peak hiking season. The high foot traffic affects where and when MATC performs necessary projects to maintain safe and usable trail access.

MATC maintains 267 miles of Appalachian Trail in Maine and seasonal crews have dedicated more than 21 weeks-worth of time making trail improvements, building hundreds of stone steps, adding retaining walls and installing water bars to maintain the trail, work that has been carried out since the 1970s.

MATC volunteers and Club members from LL Bean, Bates College and the University of Maine are heading out now at various locations along the A.T. for final work trips before the leaves drop and the snow covers Katahdin.

ABOUT THE MAINE APPALACHIAN TRAIL CLUB: The Maine Appalachian Trail Club manages and maintains the 267 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maine. Founded in 1935, MATC is an all-volunteer, donor-supported nonprofit that welcomes new members and inspires respect for this natural treasure. Visit MATC at http://www.matc.org or on Facebook.

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Jessica Gilman

Susan B. Tompkins
Rising Tide PR
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