So far, 2245 people (224.5% of our original goal) have sent 17960 e-mail letters
to the NPS Harpers Ferry AT Office, and to key decision makers in Maine!
The NPS public comment period ended on August 31, 1999, but you can
still share your thoughts with the Maine politicians!
The National Park Service (NPS), the agency of the U.S. government given responsibility for land acquisition for protecting the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT), has asked for comments from the public about how best to protect the AT and its viewshed in the Saddleback ridge area in Maine, to prevent it from being degraded as a “wilderness” hiking experience by future development of a nearby private ski resort. Listed below are links that will help you understand the issues and proposals involved, and the letter-writing section that follows will help you compose a meaningful letter in your own words and automatically send your comments by e-mail to all of those who will be involved in making a final decision about how best to protect Saddleback ridge and the Appalachian Trail corridor and viewshed for future generations.
Some background information …
The NPS is currently considering four alternatives for protecting the Appalachian Trail across Saddleback ridge, as listed below. You can see a photo and read details about each alternative by clicking on its link below.
Quick View of All Alternatives
Which would give complete protection of the Trail and its viewshed
Which would protect the corridor but not the distant viewshed.
Alternative 3 and Alternative 4
Which would virtually destroy the Trail corridor and viewshed.(Note: photos do not show summit buildings, ski lifts, or other structures)
The Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC), to whom the NPS has delegated day-to-day management responsibility for the AT (but no land acquisition authority), has opted to support Alternative 2. You can read their comments and the official position taken by the Board of Managers about the Saddleback proposals by going to their website and reading about their Saddleback Campaign.
As part of our Appalachian Trail community on-line,
here is what you can do …
Our strategy … What we want to accomplish here at Trailplace is to give our ATC and NPS representatives (good folks who have worked hard over the years to provide us with a wilderness footpath) the maximum leverage to work for the greatest degree of protection of the Saddleback ridge area, given the varying interests involved. Even though the ATC Board of Managers has opted to support Alternative 2, we believe that individual members of the hiking community like us can best help achieve maximum Trail protection by supporting Alternative 1 in our letters to decision makers and government officials. This will make them aware of the hiking community’s strong commitment to a fully-protected AT corridor across Saddleback ridge that includes an unspoiled viewshed.
Our goal … We need a thousand or more people sending letters to have a realistic chance of influencing the final decision made by NPS. With more than 6,000 people a day coming in to visit Trailplace, this goal is not out of the question. However, it will require each of you to take a little time to inform yourself about the issues involved, and then send a meaningful letter, using the form provided below. We urge each of you who read this to take that few extra minutes to get involved and show your support for Alternative 1, a fully-protected AT across Saddleback ridge, by sending your comments. This is truly one of those situations where you are doing it for you, your children, and your children’s children, and a successful effort on our part can set an important precedent for future decisions about land use along the entire Appalachian Trail. This really is very important, and you and your letter are very, very important to this effort to protect Saddleback as a “wilderness” experience!
The results … If enough of us voice strong support on this issue by vigorously backing Alternative 1 (i.e., full protection), then this will help offset the voices in favor of full commercial ski development and its resulting degradation of the AT corridor and viewshed. In other words, the loud voice being raised in support of ski development at the expense of the AT hiking experience in Maine will be countered by our loud “national” voice in support of preserving that hiking experience unspoiled for all future Trail users. Our ATC and NPS representatives will then be able to work for the greatest degree of protection for corridor and viewshed, backed up by the written evidence we have provided that demonstrates the hiking public’s demand for full protection of Saddleback. Who knows, we may even end up getting full protection, especially if enough of us speak loud enough!
If you would like to read what some other folks have written before you write your letter,
check out messages whose title starts with “Big thanks to …” in our AT Forum.
How to write and send your comments by e-mail …
Instructions for using letter-writing form …
The letter-writing form below will help you compose a personal letter that will allow you to voice your support for the Alternative 1 protection of the Appalachian Trail and its viewshed across Saddleback ridge in your own words and will assemble your comments into standard letter form and send your letter via email (with your email as the return address) to the important decision makers at NPS, state and federal officials in Maine, and the ATC New England Regional Office, all done automatically when you click on “Submit Comments” below. A copy will also be sent to you that you should print, sign, and send by regular mail to the NPS Harpers Ferry Office address that will appear at the top of your copy, as a followup.