Maintaining the Appalachian Trail often falls to volunteers

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Apr 21, 2014 4:00 AM

(Boiling Springs) -- The warm weather has officially arrived, and so has hiking season.

Appalachian Trail

A collection of 12 different clubs maintain the Appalachian Trail's 229-mile section in the commonwealth.

One of them is Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club, based in Boiling Springs.

Volunteers clear a four-foot wide, eight-foot tall path long the club's section.

"We go through a lot of farm fields and pastures through our section. It's a nice easy break on the legs. Climbing up the ridge tops is also wonderful. You have these wonderful scenic overlooks. You can watch the birds migrate. In Pennsylvania, those have a lot of rocks, so it's known as Rocklvania," says Christine Lauriello.

But, hikers have nicknamed Pennsylvania "Rocksylvania" for the damage it can do to boots.

So those familiar with the challenges pitch in.

"And the locals there help them out," says Lauriello.

"They meet their families in Boiling Springs, and they do a mail drop as well where they get mail. And the locals let them camp out in their backyards if they need a place to stay and they can camp out by the railroad tracks in Boiling Springs."

The area in South Middleton Township, Cumberland County, is just north of the 2,180 mile trail's halfway point.

Among those hiking the trail this year include a group of war veterans participating in a program called Walk Off the War.

They're scheduled to arrive in central Pennsylvania the week of June 15th.

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