White Mountain National Forest Implements Fire Restrictions - September 2020

Effective 09/25/2020, the White Mountain National Forest will implement fire restrictions allowing fires ONLY in U.S. Forest Service provided metal fire rings, metal fire pits or pole mounted grills at designated campgrounds or picnic areas. Visitors and residents are reminded to be smart about having fires at designated campgrounds while recreating on the White Mountain National Forest.

To view the complete news release and list of campgrounds where fires are still allowed, click HERE.


The Appalachian National Scenic Trail will reopen access to 27 miles of the Trail in Central Virginia known as the “Triple Crown” - June 2020

Effective 06/12/2020, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail will reopen access to 27 miles of the Trail in Central Virginia known as the “Triple Crown”, previously closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Triple Crown” area includes all National Park Service owned land between VA Route 624 (Newport Road) and VA Route 652 (Mountain Pass Road), including McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs.

To view the complete news release, click HERE.


The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is closing all access and use to 27 miles of NPS-owned land in Central Virginia known as the “Triple Crown” - April 2020

Effective 04/05/2020, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is closing all access and use to 27 miles of NPS-owned land in Central Virginia known as the “Triple Crown.” The “Triple Crown” closure includes all National Park Service owned land between VA Route 624 (Newport Road) and VA Route 652 (Mountain Pass Road). This area includes McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs. Access to Dragon’s Tooth, which is on U.S. Forest Service-owned land, has already been closed.

To view the complete news release and closure information, click HERE.


All Overnight Shelters and Privies on Lands Administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office are Closed Until Further Notice - March 2020

Effective immediately, the National Park Service is closing all overnight shelters (56 total) and privies (75 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office in the states of VA (10 shelters, 12 privies), MD (1 shelter, 2 privies), PA (8 shelters, 6 privies), NJ (1 shelter, 1 privy), NY (5 shelters, 5 privies), CT (7 shelters, 16 privies), MA (1 shelter, 4 privies), and ME (22 shelters, 29 privies). These closures are consistent with and in concurrence of our state and non-profit partners. These modifications to operations are in support of federal, state, and local efforts to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, partners, and local communities. These closures will be in effect until further notice.

To view the complete news release and closure information, click HERE.


Shenandoah National Park Plans Prescribed Burn - April 2017

Luray, VA - Shenandoah National Park Fire Managers plan to burn 90 acres of Big Meadows sometime between April 4 and May 30, 2017, weather permitting. A portion of Big Meadows (milepost 51), the open area across from Byrd Visitor Center, is burned each year for the purpose of maintaining the open vista by preventing encroachment by trees and shrubs.

Prescribed burns are ignited by fire managers under a pre-determined set of conditions, including weather, fuel moisture and resource availability, in order to accomplish specific resource management objectives. All prescribed burns will be conducted as interagency projects, with local support, under the guidance and direction of trained and experienced National Park Service personnel.

The burn is anticipated to take one day to complete. Smoke from the burn may be visible in and around the Big Meadows area. Visitors driving in areas of smoke should take additional care by dropping speeds and ensuring their headlights are on. All park facilities will remain open during the prescribed burn.

Access to Big Meadows will be restricted during the burn.

For more information, please contact Sally Hurlbert,, 540-999-3500 ext 3300.


New article out on tick surveillance and disease prevention on the Appalachian Trail - July 2015

A new article has been published in the summer 2015 issue of Park Science that looks at tick surveillance and disease prevention on the Appalachian Trail. The view the article CLICK HERE.


Derrick Knob Shelter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Temporarily Closed - June 2015

Derrick Knob Shelter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been temporarily closed due to nearby bear activity.


Limestone Spring Shelter in Connecticut Temporarily Closed - June 2015

Limestone Spring Shelter in Connecticut and surrounding tentsites have been closed until hazard trees can be removed. The shelter is expected to be re-opened within a few weeks.


Appalachian Trail announces implementation of an Unmanned Aircraft Use Policy - August 2014

The National Park Service has developed an interim policy prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft on NPS managed lands of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. This is a new park use that could affect park resources, staff, and visitors in ways that the National Park Service has yet to identify, analyze and examine. It is the National Park Service policy to not allow a new park use until a determination has been made that it will not result in unacceptable impacts on park resources and values, plus staff and visitor safety.

The closure prohibits the 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.

For more information, please view the official press release and the addendum to the compendium of orders.


Dahlgren Campground in Maryland temporarily without potable water - February 2014

The Dahlgren Campground, located on the Appalachian Trail just south of Old South Mountain Inn on Alternate 40 in Maryland, will be without potable water for about two weeks beginning February 10, 2014. Please plan accordingly when hiking this section in Maryland.


Gypsy Moth Treatment scheduled in June for part of the A.T. in Southwest Virginia - June 2013


In an effort to Slow the Spread of the Gypsy Moth, a non-native insect pest which damages hardwood trees, the Virginia Department of Agriculture Consumer Services and the U.S. Forest Service are cooperatively applying mating disruption treatments using low-flying aircraft on 33,000 acres of public and private lands in this area. This includes portions of the Appalachian Trail between Walker Gap and Hunting Camp Creek. Application is expected to take 1-2 days, and is planned for a time window between June 18 and 21, 2013. This chemical pheromone treatment is not harmful to humans or other mammals, however forest visitors, including trail hikers, may see or hear low-flying aircraft during this time period. For more information, please visit the George-Washington-Jefferson National Forest website.


Help Prevent the Spread of Highly Contagious "Stomach Bug" (Norovirus) - May 2013

Cases of Norovirus were confirmed this spring among Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hikers in Tennessee and North Carolina, with the greatest number of cases from north of Hot Springs to the Nolichucky River. A few hikers reported similar symptoms in central Virginia. The highly contagious "stomach bug" causes your stomach and/or intestines to become inflamed, which leads to stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea.

Norovirus is transmitted by contact with an infected person, contaminated food or water, or contaminated surfaces. The virus has a 12 to 48-hour incubation period and lasts 24 to 60 hours. Infected hikers may be contagious for 3 days to 2 weeks after recovery; the virus may be present in water sources, soil, or certain surfaces for extended periods.

Outbreaks occur more often where people share untreated water sources and facilities for sleeping, dining, showering, and toileting. The virus can spread rapidly in crowded shelters and hostels.

Sanitation is key to avoiding and spreading Norovirus.

Take the following steps to prevent contracting and spreading the illness:

  • Treat all water by boiling, treating with chlorine, iodine, or chlorine dioxide (Aquamira), or a combination of filtering and chemicals. To learn how best to treat your water, visit:
  • Do not eat out of the same food bag, share utensils, or drink from other hikers' water bottles.
  • Wash your hands with biodegradable soap (200' from water sources) before eating or preparing food and after toileting.
  • Be aware that alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be ineffective against Norovirus.
  • Bury human waste 6-8” deep in soil (200’ from water sources) where privies are not available.
  • If you develop symptoms of stomach illness, keep hydrated, avoid direct contact with others, and avoid contaminating surfaces. Seek medical treatment if symptoms persist more than a few days. Remember that even after you feel better, you still may be carrying the virus and it can be transmitted to others.
  • Report cases of stomach virus to; even second-hand reports are helpful. A report form can be downloaded from

For more information visit:


Elevated Fire Danger on A.T. - April 2012

With the current elevated fire danger across the Mid-Atlantic States hikers are asked to do their part to help protect the trails and forests byusing extreme care with fire. Consider avoiding the use of ground fire,even in fire rings, and instead rely on your backpack stove for cooking.This eliminates the potential of leaving dangerous hot coals behind. Additionally, hikers are asked to report any large smoke columns or apparently unattended fires promptly to the local 911 dispatch.

Due to the low humidity and dry fuel conditions many states currently have high fire warnings in effect. New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia have had wild fires burn along the Appalachian Trail this weekend and firefighters suppressed fires near the Trail in New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia earlier this year.

Check local conditions and alerts when planning your hike. Watch for and obey all trail closures. Follow instructions for alternate routes that may be identified during fires or fire-fighting activities. Temporary closures and detours are for your safety and will be lifted as soon as conditions permit.


NPS Identifies Preferred Alternative for Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line - March 2012

The National Park Service (NPS) has identified a "preferred alternative" for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the application by PPL Electric Utilities (PPL) and Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) for the expansion of an existing electric transmission line that crosses National Park Service lands within Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Read more HERE.


The National Parks: America's Best Idea

The National Parks: America's Best Idea is a six-episode series directed by Ken Burns and written and co-produced by Dayton Duncan. This 12-hour series will air on public television stations across the country beginning September 27th. It features the stories of people - rich and poor, famous and the unknown - all who lived their lives to save the natural, cultural, historic and wild places that became our National Parks.

Last updated: September 25, 2020

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Mailing Address:

Appalachian Trail Park Office
P.O. Box 50

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


(304) 535-6278

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