The Appalachian Trail, probably the best-known footpath in the world, was first proposed in 1921 as a "simple footpath" to stretch along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. As envisioned, the Trail would create a natural buffer of wild lands for urban dwellers to enjoy, whether for a day, a week, or a longer period. Soon after the Trail's proposal, various hiking groups along the proposed route engaged in detailed planning, land acquisition, blazing, and trail construction. By 1937, the original trail was complete.
Today's Appalachian Trail is about 2,175 miles long, with its southern terminus at Georgia's Springer Mountain and its northern end at Maine's Mt. Katahdin. Simple shelters are spaced about a day's hike apart. When the National Trails Act was enacted in 1968, the Appalachian Trail became the first designated "National Scenic Trail." The National Park Service has oversight responsibility, but has delegated management to the Appalachian Trail Conference and its member clubs, such as MCM, who maintain the footpath. MCM has been a proud A. T. maintainer club for over 60 years. Currently, MCM maintains the northern-most nine miles of the A. T. in Maryland and 25 more miles in two sections of Pennsylvania, as far north as the Susquehanna.
MCM also monitors the land corridor through which the A. T. passes to prevent encroachment by activities such as development, timber harvesting, and trash dumping. MCM periodically patrols the boundaries of its sections, training volunteers in needed skills such as map reading, compass navigation, and off-trail travel. When necessary, MCM reports any problems to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the National Park Service.
See here for more information about the Mountain Club's Appalachian Trail maintenance.
MCM actively encourages local trails service. MCM volunteers constructed and presently maintain several public trails in the Baltimore area, most notably in Gunpowder Falls and Patapsco Valley State Parks. MCM also participates in hiking-related outreach programs, often with similar organizations or various Maryland State Parks.
Want an excuse to get outside and get some exercise?
We can always use more volunteers!
For more information about the Mountain Club of Maryland's Trail maintenance
Appalachian Trail Maintenance:
Appalachian Trail Shelters:
Appalachian Trail Corridor Monitoring:
Patapsco Valley SP Shelters: