The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has an interesting study of “Camping Impact Management on the AT” (in PDF format) written by Jeffrey L. Marion and published by the Appalachian Trail Conference in 2003. The study notes the challenges we face as more and more people hike and gather to camp along the AT. In this regard, the AT can be seen as a microcosm of society and, similarly, it must learn to deal with its increasing population while preserving its natural resources. We hope the crush of camping crowds can be overcome with wisdom, education and dedication.
Here are a few suggestions you can follow to help preserve the AT while camping:
- Follow Leave No Trace principles.
- Camp only at designated locations.
- Camp on the exact location where someone else camped.
- Locate campsites on durable surfaces.
- Camp away from other campers and trails.
- Camp during off-peak periods.
- Never cut trees and keep campfires to a minimum.
- Travel in smaller groups.
- Don’t take your pet on camping trips.
- Follow advice of local guides and authorities.