Appalachian Trail Histories

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The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.), stretching 2,189 miles across 14 states, is cared for by a coalition of federal and state agencies, as well as by 31 volunteer Trail clubs. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the main conserving organization of the A.T., oversees these various clubs and contributes to their funding. However, the given amount varies, depending on aspects of each Trail club's level of activity. As a result, the Trail clubs are engaged in an undeclared competition, for substantial funding from the ATC. 

More than 250 shelters line the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The oldest of these shelters date from the 1930s and were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the most recent date from the 2010s. They vary in construction and design from simple lean-tos made of logs cut and peeled in the nearby forest to more elaborate structures with more than one story, or a front porch, or other novel features.

Like the Trail itself, these shelters are now maintained by the network of volunteer clubs responsible for the upkeep of the Trail. They are designated for use by long distance hikers and are available on a first come/first use basis. Most are located close to a consistent water source.

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