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Appalachian Trail Conservancy urges hikers to avoid trail amid COVID-19

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is asking hikers to avoid the trails in effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus

A high number in foot traffic along the Appalachian Trail has officials at the ‘Appalachian Trail Conservancy’ urging people to stop using it.

The announcement comes after trail officials say they saw high numbers of day hikers over the weekend

The more than 2,000 mile trail spans from Georgia to Maine with nearly 230 miles of it running through Pennsylvania.

In a statement, the president of the the ATC wrote in part: “Whether your hike is for a couple of hours or a couple of days, staying away from the trail minimizes the spread or contraction of COVID-19,” said Sandra Marra, President & CEO for Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

For many people who choose to walk the length of the trail, the trip represents the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

A lot of those hikers, are now having to cancel those long awaited plans.

“It’s a very communal experience, there’s a lot of hikers that hang out at trail heads,” said YouTuber, Darwin on the Trail. “I made the decision to get off the trail,” he added.

However, for some people simply using the trails to get some fresh air in the midst of quarantine, the push to not use them from officials, doesn’t make much sense.

“People are social distancing, I feel like it shouldn’t be a big deal to be out on the trails,” said Mike Hoover of Cumberland County. “It’s good for people to get some fresh air. I feel like it wouldn’t be a bad place to be, like malls, I understand shutting those places down, but not here,” he added.

The president of the ATC says the same people accessing the trails may unknowingly spread COVID-19 while taking breaks at a shelter or even sharing a map or food with someone.

“I think they need to take the precautions that they feel are important to protect people,” said Nancy Searfoss of Dauphin County.

Hikers are asked to avoid the trails until further notice.