Appalachian Trail Histories



The Appalachian Trail has a significant impact, particularly for hikers, visitors, and enthusiastic members of the Trail. The Trail  also has deep and expanding connections with  histories, cultures as well as those involved in its creation. However, not everyone learns about the vital origins for locations along the Trail and how this influenced the founding members' perspectives. Mt. Katahdin, one of the most iconic destinations for the Appalachian Trail, was utilized by the American Indian tribe the Penobscot since the 1600s. Although the tribe used the summit and its surrounding lands as a resource for their survival, they also incorporated their histories, religion, and culture. Mt. Katahdin served as a symbol for their origins and stories, which have survived into the 21st century. However, Myron Avery and other Appalachian Trail Club members recorded little to no information about American Indian tribes, such as the Penobscot, and their former ties to the converted lands. Their newsletters briefly discussed trail names and shelters linked to varying tribal names or words in a tribe's language, but records were short or not included. Yet, American Indians need equal representation on the Appalachian Trail, whether it is with shelters, trail names, locations, or maps. Often their histories and cultures are forgotten or ignored by many hikers and members. When educated, the public can preserve and acknowledge their stories and origins, helping to shed light on the presence of American Indian tribes and their histories.