The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) celebrates 90 years of protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) this month. A long-standing partnership with the federal government, trail maintaining clubs and thousands of volunteers have enabled the organization to preserve and manage the longest hiking-only footpath in the world.
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park Service, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. The trail goes through 14 states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Ga., to the trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Me.
More than two million people visit the trail every year and about 2,500 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. People from across the globe are drawn to the A.T. for a variety of reasons: To reconnect with nature, to escape the stress of city life, to meet new people or deepen old friendships, or to experience a simpler life.