Appalachian Trail Histories


American Indian Representation on the AT

When a hiker begins their trek on the Appalachian Trail, they might examine maps with labeled trail shelters, towns, and famous locations. Learning trail names helps a hiker recognize which direction they should go to reach their next destination along the Trail. However, not all hikers understand that certain regions possess significant histories before the Appalachian Trail's development. By learning about trail origins, a hiker receives an in-depth perspective about the choices made when establishing Trail sections. Mt. Katahdin, a famous trail destination, has a significant history with the Appalachian Trail, Baxter State Park, and the American Indian Penobscot Tribe. The Penobscot Tribe utilized the surrounding lands and summit as a resource for their survival as well as religious and cultural customs. However, Trail members and State Park officials are dealing with increased littering and damage to Mt. Katahdin's natural environment. Members from the Penobscot Tribe are also experiencing an increased disregard by hikers and visitors towards their religious customs and traditions still carried out today within Baxter State Park and Mt. Katahdin. Although these issues present difficulties in maintenance and preservation, the groups are reviewing and undergoing resolutions to these threatening problems. 


Sarah Petroff