The latest senseless destruction on the Appalachian Trail is taking place on Max Patch in North Carolina. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports:
“The destruction, which [trail maintainer] Stutzman has documented in photos, includes owners of four-wheel drive and all-terrain vehicles cutting down barbed wire fences, knocking over Forest Service posts and signs and driving up the face of the mountaintop bald to gouge out ruts on the summit by performing ‘doughnuts.’”
Max Patch is a beautiful, iconic bald in the Pisgah National Forest. Vehicles are NEVER allowed there. The perpetrators can’t even claim ignorance (though they are, obviously, ignoramuses) because they cut down fences and ripped out signs to get to the bald.
Off-roaders officially became assholes in my opinion one night on the AT in Pennsylvania. At about 1 a.m. several ATVs came roaring up the mountain, crashing through brush and running down small trees near the shelter where I was trying to sleep. That’s when I realized that ATV stands for Asshole Transport Vehicle.
I don’t understand vandalism, and never have. What an utter lack of maturity and respect. I don’t know why some people have to destroy things, why they can’t just leave a footpath alone and find somewhere else to ride. If off-roaders (and bicyclists and horseback riders, of which I am both) need a trail to ride on, they should go build it for themselves.
Hikers worked hard for years to build and maintain the Appalachian Trail, why can’t other recreationists put the same effort into their own trails? They can prohibit hikers from using them, and they can stay off ours. Trust me, they won’t receive the same disrespect from hikers as we get from them.
Visit the Citizen-Times site to read the article and see the damage.
Photo © Nancy Shepherd