Reinforcing the ‘Stay off the Trail’ Message

What was the response to last week’s call by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for people to stay off the trail to avoid creating crowded conditions that could promote the spread of COVID-19? Full parking lots at many of the trailheads on Loudoun’s western border. 

In ramping up efforts to get residents to stay at home, Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday highlighted his frustration with large crowds gathering at recreation areas, especially the Hampton Roads beaches.

This week, AT hikers will find it more difficult to ignore that advice. Barrels that were placed in the parking lot at the Bluemont trailhead have now been augmented with chains that will prevent cars from entering.

While most county and regional parks are closed, some allow pedestrian access for hikers who are able to follow social distancing requirements aimed at limiting the spread of the infection. The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship’s trails remain open dawn to dusk. Morven Park in Leesburg has also kept open its pedestrian entrance on Old Waterford Road for those who want to hike the 1,000-acre property.

The parking lot at the Appalachian Trail’s Bluemont trailhead was filled over capacity Saturday, March 28, days after hikers were urged to stay home. Photo Courtesy of Douglas Graham

5 thoughts on “Reinforcing the ‘Stay off the Trail’ Message

  • 2020-04-01 at 12:36 pm
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    What agency placed these blockades? Somebody went through a lot of effort to do so. Name them please.

  • 2020-04-02 at 10:09 am
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    Let’s stop everything that is actually healthy!! It’s not a picnic area! The sun disinfects naturally and at elevation it is the cleanest air in the area!Any one that actually uses the trail knows that with it’s technical terrain you can’t be up on another person or you aren’t going to see your own footing options.
    This is the most ignorant thing the government can do!

  • 2020-04-04 at 12:59 pm
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    What agency did this? Name who did this. The people deserve to know.

  • 2020-04-08 at 7:02 pm
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    VDOT right of way.

    Walk around your block staying away from others and chill out.

    Yes it stinks, everyone hates it but don’t think about yourself.

    If you accidentally hurt yourself while hiking on the AT then you will be taking away from medical resources and supplies that will be needed by people who may get or have COVID-19.

  • 2020-04-10 at 12:22 pm
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    Thank you Roundhill. All I wanted to know was who went to all that trouble. Question answered.

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