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This article is about the trail. Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world. More than 2 million people are said to take a hike on part of the trail at least once each year. The idea of the Appalachian Trail came about in 1921. The trail itself was completed in 1937 after more than a decade of work, although improvements and changes continue. The majority of the trail is in forest or wild lands, although some portions traverse towns, roads and farms. 2,700 people thru-hiked the trail in 2014 — and some hike from one end to the other, then turn around and thru-hike the trail the other way, known as a “yo-yo”.
Many books, memoirs, websites, and fan organizations are dedicated to these pursuits. Marker on the trail near Mount Sugarloaf in Maine commemorating its completion. A Great Trail from Maine to Georgia! Upon taking over the ATC, Avery adopted the more practical goal of building a simple hiking trail. Maine, and the ATC shifted its focus toward protecting the trail lands and mapping the trail for hikers. The ATC’s trail crews and volunteer trail-maintaining clubs have relocated or rehabilitated miles of trail since that time. The claim was later criticized for the hike’s omission of significant portions due to short-cuts and car rides.
Shaffer later claimed the first north-to-south thru-hike, the first to claim to do so in each direction. Chester Dziengielewski was later to be named the first south bound thru-hiker. In 1998, Shaffer, nearly 80 years old, hiked the trail, making him the oldest person to claim a completed thru-hike. The first solo woman to complete the hike was 67-year old Emma Gatewood who completed the northbound trek in 1955, taking 146 days. She repeated the achievement two years later.
In the 1960s, the ATC made progress toward protecting the trail from development, thanks to efforts of politicians and officials. By the close of the 20th century, the Park Service had completed the purchase of all but a few miles of the trail’s span. It is a separate trail and not an official extension of the Appalachian Trail. Although the Appalachian Trail ends in Georgia, the Appalachian Mountains continue south to Flagg Mountain in Alabama. Because Springer Mountain is in a remote area, the Approach Trail is often the beginning of North bound thru-hike attempts.
The Appalachian Trail is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, including 2,000 rare, threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant and animal species. Appalachian Trail, rarely confronts people. The black bear is the largest omnivore that may be encountered on the trail, and it inhabits all regions of the Appalachians. Plant life along the trail is varied.