Hmm ... well - lets put it this way - YOU CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE !
You can think of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail as a long, thin 2,185.9 mile long National Park - but it wouldn't be accurate. This huge "park" is unique in that it only a few full time rangers to watch over the entire enormous length of it! As fantastic as these rangers are (and we know so from experience) they are vastly understaffed! What about the Forest Service you ask? Those folks are great as well - but they also have a very full plate of responsibilities besides the areas of National Forest that the Appalachian Trail runs through!
That leaves you.
The difference that one person can make towards the stewardship of the
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
This entire Appalachian Trail (or "AT" as it is affectionately nicknamed) exists through a complicated balancing act of good will, fellowship, volunteer work (on and off the trail) and donations of time and money. The trail exists because we want it to - and the trail's life depends on us - on our maintenance of it (trail work), our guardianship of it (being politically aware in regards to legislation affecting the "AT" and / or volunteering to be a "trail monitor", and basically our love of the trail - and the "trail experience".
Anyone who has day hiked, backpacked, section hiked or thru-hiked the "AT" knows that it's a magical place!
You can help by becoming a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy...
... the organization which works in conjunction with the National Park Service and numerous "trail clubs" of volunteers (who are the lifeblood of the "AT") to make the trail possible.
You could also join the Appalachian Trail Club in your neck of the woods!
Next - you can volunteer to help in any way that you can (following website)
www.appalachiantrail.org/volunteer - a page of the official website for the "daddy of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail" (drum roll please) ... the wonderful folks at the APPALACHIAN TRAIL CONSERVANCY.
This page provides info. on ways to "Give Back to the Trail".
Appalachian Wilderness Guides support the Appalachian Trail!
PLEASE DONATE / VOLUNTEER TO LEND A HAND IF YOU GET THE CHANCE!