MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Development is threatening the narrow but resource-rich Appalachian trail, and the National Park Conservation Association says more must be done to protect it. In a report released Wednesday, the association said threats include subdivisions, power lines, quarries, wind farms, racetracks, illegal all-terrain vehicle use and mountain bikes. All along the 2,178-mile trail, the report says, decisions about projects must consider "the special and fragile character" of the trail. The Appalachian Trail stretches through 14 states, from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, and encompasses more than 250,000 acres. Yet the average width of the protected area around it is just 1,000 feet, making it vulnerable to pollution, invasive plant species and projects that can compromise habitat.
- Associated Press