Appalachian Trail Conservancy

SidehillBeth Critton and Bob Proudman
The Drones are Here!

By Bob Proudman and Beth Critton

This summer, drones flying over the A.T. were reported at Mount Moosilauke in NH, the Pochuck Creek in NJ, and McAfee’s Knob in VA. Hikers, land managers, and occasionally the proud drone pilots themselves reported remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights by providing links to YouTube, Facebook, and social media. Scenic videos of flights from A.T. overlooks or open areas show hikers, the footpath, and the pilots themselves.
The age-old dream of human flight has combined with the inexpensive lightweight UAVs, GPS technology, sophisticated software, and radio telemetry to make this relatively new technology widely available. Although there are legitimate scientific and public safety uses for UAVs, this new technology is prone to abuse.
The National Park Service adopted an interim regulation in June, stipulating that all parks will prohibit such use of unmanned aircraft. Yellowstone National Park has successfully prosecuted three people for violating the prohibition along with other regulations, and for impacts to resources resulting from the use of UAVs. Fines, restitution, and court costs ranging from $1,000 to more than $3,000 each were imposed. One individual also received a one-year ban from the park.
For the Appalachian Trail, the NPS stated, “Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.” For more information, see the NPS’ Addendum to the Compendium of Orders on Unmanned Aircraft.
Noise pollution, visual impacts, disturbing wildlife, and privacy issues of filming individuals without their consent are among the concerns that make unregulated use of drones inappropriate for the Appalachian Trail.
At the request of ATC Stewardship Council member Cosmo Catalano, Jr.—a volunteer manager of the Massachusetts portion of the A.T.—the Council, in consultation with federal agency partners, is developing policy direction on drones to share for review and comment with the Trail maintaining clubs.
The draft policy highlights the NPS closure and follows longstanding ATC best management practice to provide visitors the opportunity to “interact with the wild, scenic, pastoral, cultural, and natural elements of the Appalachian Trail environment, unfettered and unimpeded by competing sights or sounds of civilization.” (See the A.T. Experience and Non-Hiking Recreational Uses 1997.) It also states that ATC opposes the use of drones with possible exceptions for Trail-management purposes, such as monitoring, research, search and rescue, or law enforcement. All uses would need prior written permission from the land-managing agency.
The draft policy may be found here. Please submit any comments to

Beth Critton is Chair of the Stewardship Council
Bob Proudman is Director of Conservation Operations

Hikers and Hunting

Because the A.T. is a National Park unit, many hikers are unaware that hunting is permitted along much of the Trail and on adjacent lands. Whether you are working or hiking on the Trail, take the opportunity to educate hikers about local hunting seasons and the precautions they should take

If you encounter hunters, engage them in friendly conversation and let them know that there may be hikers on the Trail who are unfamiliar with hunting and may not be wearing blaze orange. If illegal hunting is taking place, do not be confrontational with violators, but report the information to the appropriate game authorities, the land-managing agency, and your ATC regional office.

Information for hikers and hunters is posted on ATC's website at

Boundary Blurb 
The fall corridor program field season is in full swing, and we welcome Kevin Berend (left) and Chris Wu (right) to our seasonal staff.  

Kevin has spent several summers working as a summit steward with the Adirondack Mountain Club and has a passion for wildlife and ecosystem conservation. He recently spent a season in Colorado studying sage grouse habitat restoration.  Kevin will return to SUNY Brockport next fall to pursue his master's degree.  
Chris is a 2,000-miler (class of 2012) with a background in marine engineering. After his thru-hike, he volunteered with the Appalachian Mountain Club in Connecticut and learned about trail maintenance and corridor monitoring. Most recently, he spent a season with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, leading a field crew in trail maintenance and construction.   
On the boundary with Batona 
The corridor field team spent a week with the Batona Hiking Club, maintaining challenging sections near Wind Gap, PA. Batona Corridor Monitor Coordinator Tom Hurd led the charge, alongside his volunteer and scout Marty Otto. The team was able to recover several monuments that have not seen the light of day for well over 10 years! 
Hunting season is underway in the states along the A.T., so make sure you are familiar with the hunting activities occurring in your Trail section. Be visible when you are working the boundary by wearing your blaze orange. 

Ryan Seltzer
Mid-Atlantic Corridor Stewardship Coordinator

Be Alert and Wear Blaze Orange

If you are working or hiking on the Trail or its corridor during hunting season, wear blaze orange and make some noise (whistle, sing, talk loudly).

Hunting seasons vary by state (and by locations within each state) and by type of animal and how they are hunted. Deer firearm season sees the greatest number of hunters and is currently underway or soon will be all along the Trail. 

ATC's hunting season chart lists hunting seasons and provides links to hunting regulations for each state. 


Do You Work with Volunteers? 

Check out ATC's Volunteer Toolkit for advice on recruiting, working with, and recognizing A.T. volunteers.  

Just click on the Volunteer Management button on the toolkit page 



Hiking through History
2015 ATC Biennial 

The 2015 Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Biennial Conference, "Hiking through History," cohosted by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and the Mountain Club of Maryland will be held July 17-24, 2015 at the campus of Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA.(Click here to view a video.)

We are seeking volunteers to help with leading hikes and excursions, to help with registration, and many other needs. If you are interested in volunteering, please complete and return this form.

Volunteer Recognition

A variety of recognition items based on hours of volunteer service are available from ATC and the National Park Service. For information and an order form that includes guidelines for volunteer pins, patches, caps, and vests, go to our Volunteer Management page in the Volunteer Toolkit.

Subscribe to The Register

First published in April 1978, The Register is intended for Appalachian Trail volunteers, their agency partners, and others interested in the stewardship of the Trail. 

Subscribe to The Register (and other ATC newsletters) at  or send a message to with "subscribe" in the subject line and with your first and last name and e-mail address in the body of the message. 

Please forward this issue or provide this information to anyone who might be interested in subscribing. 

Volunteer of the Month

If Ed Peck of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club's maintainers committee sees something that needs to be done, he just goes and does it. 

Working in the Smokies gives Ed great satisfaction. "Every day and every season is new,”he says, and "being with all my maintainer friends working on a singular job and getting it finished is awesome!”

(Read more about Ed here)

2014 ATC Meetings

ATC Stewardship Council
Oct. 30–Nov. 1
Shepherdstown, WV

ATC Board of Directors
Oct. 31–Nov. 1
Shepherdstown, WV

New England Regional Partnership Committee
November 22
Crawford Notch, NH

2015 ATC Meetings

New England Regional Partnership Committee
Date/Location TBD

Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committee
March 20–21
Bowmanstown, PA

Southern Partnership Meeting
March 2729
Arden, NC

ATC Stewardship Council
May 7
Shepherdstown, WV

ATC Board of Directors
May 89
Shepherdstown, WV

ATC Biennial Conference
July 17–24
Winchester, VA
The Register  is published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for the volunteers of the Appalachian Trail, their agency partners, and others interested in the stewardship of the Trail.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trailensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. To become a member, volunteer, or learn more, visit
Our mailing address is:
ATC Headquarters
799 Washington St, PO Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

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