1500 Mile Appalachian Trail Paved Bike Path Gets EPA Thumbs Up

by on 09/07/18 at 3:13 pm

Experts estimate that hard to reach stes will be open for uo to 2.7 million additional visitors per year along the Appalachian Trail system.

Experts estimate that hard to reach sites of interest will be open for up to 2.7 million additional visitors per year along the Appalachian Trail system.

Georgia resident Buck Halloway is pleased that he'll be able to ride his cart on the trail 'free as a bird and in his loincloth' during the summer months.

Georgia resident Buck Halloway is pleased that he’ll be able to ride his cart on the trail ‘free as a bird and in his loincloth’ during the summer months.

Stuckeys has already submitted plans for a fudge factory (photo) outlet  to be built on the trail near Tea Kettle Mountain in rural North Carolina.

Stuckeys has already submitted plans for a fudge factory (photo) outlet to be built on the trail near Tea Kettle Mountain in rural North Carolina.

Washington, DC –

Policy changes in national parks primitive area usage rested upon a pending decision by both the EPA and Interior Department over allowing full access to natural trail systems by handicapped and other physically limited users.

Last week, the Interior Department heard heated debate and presentations at a congressional hearing touting economic benefits, as well as, environmental impacts that could play a part in the decision. A successful outcome will allow up to 2.7 million extra visitors a year using the 1500 mile long Appalachian Trail system that snakes thru rural parts of Georgia and other states all the way up to Maine.

Extra trail traffic would include bikes, skateboards, motorcycles, roller skates, wheelchairs, ATVs, plus vendors and staffers. The plan would include allowing motorized vehicles as long as any battery or gasoline fueled vehicles are under 95 HP and have spark proof mufflers and DOT approved driving lights.

Wilderness associations and primitive hiker groups have protested the proposal for almost 2 years ever since the Supreme Court ruled that People For Free Use of US Facilities (who brought the suit) specifically stated in their complaint that wheel chair and ambulatory citizens were being denied ‘free and reasonable access’ to natural outdoor facilities paid and cared for by all citizen taxpayers.

The Interior Department and EPA plan is expected to allow construction of a six-foot wide paved pathway that will follow alongside the existing trail. The original Appalachian Trail has been in place for over 85 years.

Budget estimates for construction are estimated at $3.7 billion dollars and is expected to add 3,500 construction and maintenance jobs.
The GSA said pending partnership arrangements forged with various national popular fast-food companies to underwrite construction costs by issuing ‘licensed food-service locations’ along the entire 1,500 mile system. Local job opportunities in the states affected will range up to an additional 25,000 seasonal employees.

Expected completion is spring 2027.



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