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Appalachian Trail officials expect the new film, "A Walk in the Woods," to motivate thousands of hikers to hit the trails in the coming months.
But in Maine, at Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park, the north end terminus of the Appalachian, the newfound popularity of hiking is creating problems. Officials at the park have concerns about the effect of many hikers on the park's natural, wild state.
The fears were only heightened after Scott Jurek, an ultra-marathon runner, ran the entire trail and then celebrated atop Mount Katahdin with champagne. His record-breaking run ended in three citations for having a group larger than 12, drinking alcohol in public and littering.
Now, Jensen Bissell, the director of Baxter State Park, has asked if the Appalachian Trail should end elsewhere.
- "Faced with increasing crowds and partylike behavior by a few — including an ultramarathon runner who celebrated at the summit last month with a spray of champagne — officials here are threatening to reroute the end of the trail off Katahdin and out of Baxter State Park. The very idea has stunned the hiking world. Katahdin has been the trail’s northern terminus for more than 80 years. For the thousands who set out annually to follow its entire path, moving the trail’s endpoint off this rocky peak would be a momentous detour, forcing long-distance hikers to end their treks not with a bang but a whimper."
- "Jensen Bissell, the director of Baxter State Park, has threatened to move the end of the Appalachian Trail off Mount Katahdin and out of the park to protect it from growing crowds."
- "Bissell said Jurek and the corporate sponsorship that helped carry him to the record are anathema to the vision of the park set out by former Gov. Percival Baxter, whose 1931 donation of land and funding has made the park what it is today."
This segment aired on September 21, 2015.
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