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Appalachian Trail

AMC-Berkshire's 'Massachusetts Appalachian Trail Management Committee' is responsible for the maintenance, management, and protection of the almost 90 miles of Appalachian Trail within Massachusetts, coordinating the extensive volunteer effort that keeps the trail open and beautiful. We work in partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and the National Park Service (NPS).

For trail updates, see below.

April to September, we organize regular work parties for maintenance and improvement of the footbed, trail shelters, signs, and so on. Projects vary in complexity, but all include activities for both first timers and seasoned maintainers, so please check out the season's schedule of trail work days (download from our AT Getting Involved page) and then contact a project leader to join in the fun. No experience is necessary to participate!

We also have some open positions for regular trail maintainers. If you're interested, see AT Getting Involved. Our committee meets regularly at the Mt. Greylock Visitors' Center in Lanesboro, MA.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's monthly newsletter for the volunteers of the Appalachian Trail, their agency partners, and others interested in the stewardship of the Trail is posted online. *The Register*, can be found at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/what-we-do/trail-management-support/volunteer_toolkit/the-register.

This web site has some basic information about hiking on the AT and a list of AT shelters and campsites in Massachusetts. For much much more information about the trail, see the many excellent web sites about the AT.

AT News & Announcements

Appalachian Trail Maintaining Sections Available

The A.T. Committee is looking for maintainers for three great sections in the southern Berkshires. These are particularly interesting sections of trail, and a volunteer needs a serious commitment to their upkeep. See http://amcberkshire.org/at-maintaining for the requirements of a Trail Maintainer.

Contact Dave Koerber dkoerber@mindspring.com for more info:

Housatonic River to South Egremont Rd (2.7miles): This mostly flat section across the Housatonic valley experiences rapid plant growth, and some parts need monthly visits May through August. Wildflowers and rare plants abound in this area.

Mt Everett Summit to Elbow Trail (1.8 miles): This higher elevation section is accessed from the Mount Everett summit road in Mt Washington Mass. It contains sections of dense laurel growth and contains about 2 dozen water bars that need annual cleaning. Two overnight sites are on this section, but are covered by other adopters.

Mt Everett Summit to Mt Race Summit (1.8 miles): This rugged section is accessed from the Race Brook Falls Trail on Rt 41. Heavy laurel growth and steep trails make this a challenging section. Great views on both summits and the satisfaction of a job well done are your rewards.

massatprojects.blogspot.com

Warrior Hikers visit Noble View, talk at Russell VFW

Cecil Thayer at Blackburn Trail Center

Seven military veterans will pause from their Appalachian Trail hike to rest and meet the public in a special event at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Noble View Outdoor Center and Russell VFW on July 22.
Noble View and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6645 are offering the veterans participating in the Warrior Hike "Walk Off the War" program, including one from Orange, a meal, showers and a rest in a real bed, 19 weeks into their six-month hike from Georgia to Maine.
The public will have an opportunity to meet the hikers during the event on July 22.
The Warrior Hike "Walk Off the War" program, which includes simultaneous hikes along the Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails, was inspired by veteran Earl Shaffer, who in 1948 told a friend he was going to "walk off the war" to help him recover from the sights, sounds and losses of World War II. Shaffer became the first person to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.
The program today serves as an outdoor therapy program that supports combat veterans transitioning from their military service into civilian life. Participants spend six months hiking the 2.185-mile Appalachian Trail.
Gary Forish, Appalachian Mountain Club Noble View volunteer registrar, who is a Vietnam veteran, said the hike is therapeutic for the hikers, and the veterans they meet on their route.
“This is one way to walk off an experience, and share with other combat veterans on the trail with them,” Forish said. “It helps integrate them back into society.”
Laura Stinnette, chair of the Education Committee at Noble View, said she was inspired to bring the veteran hikers to Noble View after seeing them speak in Maine, after that group finished hiking the Appalachian Trail.
“I was just so touched by their stories,” she said. “Many in the audience were brought to tears with the hopefulness, and the things they said about feeling better about life. (They weren’t) forgetting about the war but (they were) more equipped to handle what they had to do.”

Organizers expect many veterans will come out to Noble View to hear the soldiers speak. Not all the veterans may be willing to talk about their experiences.
Stinnette said she believes hearing from the veterans will affect the people who come to listen to them.
“I hope they think about how they can lend support, whether it’s helping with employment, or supporting the ‘warrior hikers’ that keep coming through that organization,” she said. “We want to support the organization so they can continue to help these guys. They’ve given a lot to our country.”
Forish said he wants to make sure the veterans know they are appreciated.
“In the case of Vietnam veterans, we weren’t honored at all; we were more or less looked down upon,” he said. “I think it’s very important that we honor the veterans and support them as much as we can.”
After the hikers have a relaxing dinner and clean up at Noble View, the public is invited to the recognition event at the VFW beginning at 7:30 p.m. at 384 Huntington Road, Route 20.
For more information about Warrior Hike, go online to www.warriorhike.com.

Activity: 

Annual AT Volunteer Gathering

The Mass AT Management Committee held its 12 Annual Volunteer Gathering on Sat, Feb 1st with over 80 folks filling DCR's South Mountain Headquarters to capacity! Participants included: trail Maintainers, land Monitors, Natural Heritage Monitors, Upper Goose Pond Caretakers, Ridge Runners, Overnight site Caretakers, retired volunteers and over 15 people interested in joining our volunteer efforts. After some updates from the AT Committee Leaders, and Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Appalachian Mountain Club partners we broke into groups discussing each of our major volunteer areas to talk about last years efforts and to provide input on this years projects and plans. After plenty of pizza and cake for lunch we reconvened to recognize accomplishments of our most active volunteers; enjoy a raffle of great prizes (including an eclectic collection of stuff left behind in shelters over the past year). After some final comments and discussion we ended our gathering with lots of enthusiasm for the coming season!

Upper Goose Pond Cabin Opening

We will be opening the cabin on May 17th this year. Until then hikers are welcome to use the tent platforms or camp on the porch. Please leave no trace and cooking on the table out back only. Please use the bear boxes at the cabin or at each of the campsites.

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