1.a) About how many thru-hikers have been affected this season by Norovirus outbreaks (more common on cruise ships and in nursing homes than on the A.T.)?
b) Did any A.T. maintainers or day hikers succumb to this illness?
2. Have there been any substance abuse-related deaths along the Trail?
3. What types of encroachments occur on Appalachian Trail lands?
4. Where did three chartered buses off-load people—on the Trail—to go swimming this summer?
5. Who is the primary coordinating law enforcement officer for the Appalachian Trail?
1. a) An estimated three dozen long-distance hikers were afflicted by the Norovirus in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia.
b) No A.T. maintainers or day hikers are known to have succumbed. NPS and ATC have worked with public-health officials in those states and published prevention advice
online and in A.T. Journeys magazine.
2. Two Trail users apparently suffered overdose deaths this year in towns near the Trail. One apparently asphyxiated after aspirating vomit while drunk; a second died of an overdose from chewing a stolen pain-medication patch.
3. Among other activities, deer stands, trash dumping, logging, or constructing roads and structures without permits on National Park Service lands acquired for the Appalachian Trail are considered encroachments.
4. Bulls Bridge along the Housatonic River in Connecticut, a Natural Heritage site with several state and federally endangered rare plant and animal species, has become popular with swimmers in summer, resulting in heavy, inappropriate, and hazardous use. Several drownings have occurred at the site in recent years. The NPS and local officials are collaborating on possible solutions, including closures.
5. It is the unique job responsibility of NPS-APPA Chief Ranger Todd Remaley, the "Lone Ranger” of the Appalachian Trail, to coordinate with law enforcement agencies and others in responding to A.T. incidents. The responsibilities of various A.T. partners are spelled out in state MOUs and other agreements.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail Chief Ranger Remaley
points to illegal deer stand
Although currently supported by an NPS ranger on temporary detail, a team of ATC staff, seasonal ridgerunners and caretakers, and law-enforcement partners in the Forest Service and states and communities along America’s first National Scenic Trail, Ranger Remaley remains the supervising NPS ranger for more than 100,000 acres of park lands in nine separate eastern states, an immense responsibility.
Reporting incidents or suspicious behavior helps Ranger Remaley and other Trail management partners to become aware of criminal activity, vandalism, resource and facility damage, and possible threats to hiker safety on the Trail. Information on reporting incidents can be found at www.appalachiantrail.org/incidents. Reports or messages sent to email@example.com are routed to several ATC staff members and Ranger Remaley. While ATC and the Trail clubs do not become involved in law enforcement, A.T. managers, including club leaders and maintainers with their thorough knowledge of specific Trail sections, may be asked to respond to reports and to help allay problems and conditions that are discovered or brought to our attention.
In addition to reports of incidents, Trail managers are often contacted by people who are concerned about an A.T. hiker or who need to reach a hiker due to a family illness or death. Trail club volunteers and ATC and agency staff respond compassionately and do their best to reassure family members and locate hikers when circumstances warrant.
I encourage you to send me your thoughts, concerns, and suggestions regarding incidents and incident management along the Trail corridor. You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact me directly.