The Appalachian National Scenic Trail

A Time to be Bold

In 1968, management of the Appalachian Trail shifted from control by an informal alliance of private-citizen volunteers to a designated responsibilty of the National Park Service. To protect it from adverse development, Congress had made the trail part of the national park system and endorsed an unique private/public "cooperative management system" involving scores of private organizations and public jurisdictions. The volunteers still have the lead role in defining the work, but public agencies have the accountability. This June 1987 history is the inside story of how the pieces of that puzzle were put together, by the chairman of a group of volunteers and state-appointed officials that crafted this model of private/public stewardship of public recreational lands.

Dr. Charles H.W. Foster A Yale professor emeritus now, Dr. Hank Foster served as the chairman of the now-dissolved Appalachian National Scenic Trail Advisory Council to the secretary of the interior.