National Take a Hike Day (Nov. 17, 2023) encourages getting outdoors and exploring some of the over 60,000 miles of trail across the nation. Year-round, SCA crew members work to improve trails for visitor use at national parks, state parks and more.
This summer, the 2023 Appalachian Trail National Crew spent four weeks along mile 1,977 of the Appalachian Trail near Rangeley, Maine, in partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The crew of six high school students worked on several projects across a two-mile stretch of trail that needed numerous stepping stones and water bar installations to prevent erosion and improve safety. In some boggy areas, the crew removed previously installed wooden log bridges that had decayed, replacing them with stepping stones that will last for decades.
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, the trail is now managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.
The crew was nestled in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, just south of Baxter State Park in Maine, where The Nature Conservancy’s Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area manages nearly 500,000 acres of contiguous conservation land. Debsconeag means “carrying place,” named by the people of the Penobscot Nation for the portage sites where they carried their birch bark canoes around rapids and waterfalls. The area contains the highest concentration of pristine, remote ponds in New England and thousands of acres of mature forests.