Post office shutdowns could make the Appalachian trail tougher for hikers

Posted By: The Ski Channel on July 29, 2011 11:53 am

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)–Short federal funds are threatening post offices along the Appalachian trail, which could make it harder for hikers to resupply at reasonable intervals.


The U.S. Postal Service is considering closing up to 1 in 10 of its offices in order to cut spending. Around 3,600 local post offices nationwide are threatened, though no decisions have been made yet.


Three of these potential casualties are key points for Appalachian “thru-hikers” (people who walk the whole of the trail, usually from Georgia to Maine.) Fontana Dam, N.C; Glencliff, N.H.; and Caratunk, Maine are major resupply stations. Hikers send themselves packages of food and gear, which they pick up at these and other post offices along the route. With larger towns often being miles off the main trail, these small outposts mean that hikers can get their food without having to go far afield to find a store.


If these offices shut down, it could force hikers to carry much more supplies and for longer distances, adding stress and decreasing fun on what is already a harrowing trek, said Heather Tilert, who hiked the trail last year.


This potential problem is not limited to the Appalachian Trail—hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail on the West Coast may face similar closures.


(Original story credit Associated Press. Photo