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  1. #1
    Registered User clover16's Avatar
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    Default Hiking thru Massachusetts

    Just curious what NOBOs are planning when ATC has posted that the shelters are closed & there is no overnight camping in Massachusetts due to COVID precautions.

  2. #2

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    I am curious on this issue too.

  3. #3
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    It would be logistically challenging, but doable to hike thru MA using the trail towns to stay at, though I suspect the hikers will find other areas to bed down at.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    It would be logistically challenging, but doable to hike thru MA using the trail towns to stay at, though I suspect the hikers will find other areas to bed down at.
    Like totally ignoring the rules.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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    Cosmo had noted on another post that while the Goose Pond cabin is not open, the land around it (owned by NPS) is for tenting. He also mentioned there is one other site in MA that is also NPS owned where the same would be allowed (but didn't say which one).

    In addition, most thru hikers are not going to be into MA for a couple months yet, so there is always a chance that the rules will be changed by that time (after all, NY just removed all rules for quarantines when coming from any other state or US territory, which is a major change from the previous only for adjoining states rules).

  6. #6
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Last week our governor’s travel order was replaced with a travel advisory.

    Not sure what this means exactly.

    https://www.mass.gov/alerts/travel-order-notice

  7. #7

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    It would appear MA mandatory travel orders have been relaxed to advisory level across the board with except status provided to sectors of essential personnel and people who are vaccinated. Currently this would be both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or single dose of the J&J vaccine coupled with the requisite 2-weeks following the last shot. Though the advisory does not mention documentation, I suspect vaccination documentation may become necessary over time, especially for airline travel given how poorly the "honor" system works in this kind of thing.

    Likely the only impact this will have for our community will be less restrictive travel into MA from outside the State. On a National level I do look for some documentation requirements to come into play at some point for a while.

  8. #8

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    It is interesting that the rule applies to isolating at night (camping). You’d think hiking during the day would be more likely to spread COVID.

  9. #9
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    It is interesting that the rule applies to isolating at night (camping). You’d think hiking during the day would be more likely to spread COVID.
    In Massachusetts it’s been camping at only designated sites and shelters for years.

    The governor lifted regulations imposed on travelers from out of state (recommendations remain in place), but who is responsible for lifting the camping ban?

    i believe the campsites in Massachusetts are all on federal and state lands,

    Anyone?

  10. #10

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    I think the idea behind closing shelters and the like wasn't so much about spreading COVID on the trail, but to discourage people from traveling to use said facilities and out of the towns in the area.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by clover16 View Post
    Just curious what NOBOs are planning when ATC has posted that the shelters are closed & there is no overnight camping in Massachusetts due to COVID precautions.
    I hiked Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago and had no issues. Planning another section hike in a couple of weeks. The Thomas Leonard Shelter and privy were accessible.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahpowers View Post
    I hiked Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago and had no issues. Planning another section hike in a couple of weeks. The Thomas Leonard Shelter and privy were accessible.
    I was surprised that this is still posted on the ATC web site. Does anyone have a contact on the with the AT Trail Club in Massachusetts that would have info on when this will be lifted. Not sure it would be possible to cover the 90 miles in Massachusetts without staying overnight.

    https://appalachiantrail.org/trail-updates/state/ma/No Overnight Camping Permitted on the A.T. in Massachusetts

    MASSACHUSETTS


    -CLOSURE

    (Confirmed 2/18/2021) Due to ongoing and renewed temporary closures of all shelters, campsites and privies due to COVID-19 on both Massachusetts DCR lands and National Park Service A.T. (APPA) lands, and a standing prohibition of dispersed (stealth) camping on the A.T. throughout Massachusetts, no overnight camping is currently allowed.
    See additional trail update entries in Massachusetts for details on state and NPS closures.

  13. #13

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    If anyone asks , you are not camping, you are homeless. That way you can pretty much do whatever, where
    ever you want

  14. #14
    Registered User NY HIKER 50's Avatar
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    Maybe off topic but I can't go back there. There are no buses back to nyc from Sheffield any more And not even in Conn. I would end up stranded.

  15. #15
    Registered User NY HIKER 50's Avatar
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    Mass. is also AMC Territory so pretty much they try to control everything.

  16. #16
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NY HIKER 50 View Post
    Mass. is also AMC Territory so pretty much they try to control everything.
    Then why can you camp in NH?

  17. #17

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    Sorry to come late to this party. Here's the scoop for Mass:

    --The State Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has closed all AT campsites on DCR lands, ostensibly to reduce the risk of Covid 19 (let's not get into how stupid this is--I'm aware!).

    --Camping anywhere on the AT in Mass is only permitted at designated campsites (which, as noted above, are closed on state lands). This regulation has been long standing and has successfully concentrated overnight use at designated overnight sites, so that the trail remains in as natural a state as possible w/o a rogue campsite (and its accompanying fire ring, trash, poop, stripped trees and undergrowth) every half mile or so.

    --Our experience last season, and so far this season, is that hikers are camping at the "closed" sites anyway. We have not heard of any enforcement action on the AT since this closure started last year (not to say that it could not happen, but so far, DCR has other priorities). State RR were out last year and will be again this year, just like always--they have no enforcement powers and are there to provide an educational resource, and won't get on your case unless you are being really stupid (which does happen from time to time).

    --Sites on National Park Service (NPS) lands are open for tenting, but the facilities (shelters, tent platforms, privies, cabins, etc) are closed (this is true for all overnight sites on NPS Appalachian Trail Lands, though AT overnight sites on most National Forests are open at present).

    --There are two NPS sites in Mass: Upper Goose Pond Cabin and Shaker Campsite. The Cabin is closed and locked but there are tentsites in the immediate area. We left a part of the dock is in the pond from last year, and while it's a "facility" there are no NPS rangers there to keep you off of it. Shaker Campsite, has no shelter--tenting is permitted on the existing tentsites. PLEASE be bear aware at this site--it's in the middle of prime bear habitat and bear do occasionally visit. Because hikers have been super careful to keep their food and smellables in the bear box, we have not yet had to close this site. Please respect the bears and keep your stuff locked up except when using it.

    All overnight sites in Mass have privies. These privies are not locked.

    AT volunteers are maintaining the overnight sites and privies--give them a break--don't make a mess, or do stupid things. If you see a problem at an overnight site or on the trail send me an email: [email protected]

    NY HIKER 50: Please note that AMC controls nothing on the AT in Mass--true, our trail club is a (very small) piece of the AMC--but they do not set management practices or policies for the AT in Mass.

    Happy Hiking,

    Cosmo

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by NY HIKER 50 View Post
    Maybe off topic but I can't go back there. There are no buses back to nyc from Sheffield any more And not even in Conn. I would end up stranded.
    Not directly, but you could go from Great Barrington (not too far north of Sheffield and the trail passes both south and east of town by a reasonably short ride). The local buses there would be able to get you to Pittsfield MA (2 separate routes, but they interchange with a small layover).

    Once in Pittsfield you'd have the choice of heading towards Albany (NY) and then south to NYC or east towards Boston and south (probably even something from one of the other larger MA cities like Springfield or Worcester), that is if there isn't something direct from the Pittsfield area south that would work.

    So, not as easy but still options.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo View Post
    Sorry to come late to this party. Here's the scoop for Mass:

    --The State Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has closed all AT campsites on DCR lands, ostensibly to reduce the risk of Covid 19 (let's not get into how stupid this is--I'm aware!).

    --Camping anywhere on the AT in Mass is only permitted at designated campsites (which, as noted above, are closed on state lands). This regulation has been long standing and has successfully concentrated overnight use at designated overnight sites, so that the trail remains in as natural a state as possible w/o a rogue campsite (and its accompanying fire ring, trash, poop, stripped trees and undergrowth) every half mile or so.

    --Our experience last season, and so far this season, is that hikers are camping at the "closed" sites anyway. We have not heard of any enforcement action on the AT since this closure started last year (not to say that it could not happen, but so far, DCR has other priorities). State RR were out last year and will be again this year, just like always--they have no enforcement powers and are there to provide an educational resource, and won't get on your case unless you are being really stupid (which does happen from time to time).

    --Sites on National Park Service (NPS) lands are open for tenting, but the facilities (shelters, tent platforms, privies, cabins, etc) are closed (this is true for all overnight sites on NPS Appalachian Trail Lands, though AT overnight sites on most National Forests are open at present).

    --There are two NPS sites in Mass: Upper Goose Pond Cabin and Shaker Campsite. The Cabin is closed and locked but there are tentsites in the immediate area. We left a part of the dock is in the pond from last year, and while it's a "facility" there are no NPS rangers there to keep you off of it. Shaker Campsite, has no shelter--tenting is permitted on the existing tentsites. PLEASE be bear aware at this site--it's in the middle of prime bear habitat and bear do occasionally visit. Because hikers have been super careful to keep their food and smellables in the bear box, we have not yet had to close this site. Please respect the bears and keep your stuff locked up except when using it.

    All overnight sites in Mass have privies. These privies are not locked.

    AT volunteers are maintaining the overnight sites and privies--give them a break--don't make a mess, or do stupid things. If you see a problem at an overnight site or on the trail send me an email: [email protected]

    NY HIKER 50: Please note that AMC controls nothing on the AT in Mass--true, our trail club is a (very small) piece of the AMC--but they do not set management practices or policies for the AT in Mass.

    Happy Hiking,

    Cosmo
    Thanks Cosmo - this info is very helpful and a big thank you for all the work the volunteers do in your area to make it possible to enjoy the AT!!!!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by weddingwalker View Post
    Thanks Cosmo - this info is very helpful and a big thank you for all the work the volunteers do in your area to make it possible to enjoy the AT!!!!
    Did a small piece recently from the road just north of Kay shelter south to Shaker. No problems at all.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

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