Hanover, New Hampshire: An Appalachian Trail Community

The Appalachian Trail Community(TM) program, created by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the Appalachian Trail (AT). Towns, counties, and communities along the AT's corridor are considered assets by AT hikers -- especially when they act as good friends and neighbors to those trekking the trail. The program assists communities with sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation, while preserving and protecting the AT.

Hanover, New Hampshire, is one of the select communities that richly deserves the honor of Appalachian Trail Community(TM). Our friends in Hanover are well known for the encouragement and care shown to Appalachian Trail hikers of all ages.

The Appalachian Trail runs down Hanover's Main Street -- a claim that fewer than a dozen localities can make. Hanover is a town of approximately 10,000 on the NH side of the Connecticut River in the Upper Valley area. The town's 250th birthday was proudly celebrated in 2011.

Hanover -- home to Dartmouth College, an Ivy League university founded in 1769 -- is the first town that southbound hikers pass through on their journey -- and the last for northbounders. Some trails in the extensive trail network created by the Dartmouth Outing Club in the early 20th century became the AT in the Upper Valley in 1929.

The DOC maintains 75 miles of the AT between Woodstock, Vermont and Woodstock, NH. Hanover is also home to the Hanover Area Friends of the AT. The Friends group was created in 2009 to assure that Hanover fully welcomes and serves AT hikers, and that residents and guests understand and appreciate the national treasure that passes through town.

Members of the Friends group have implemented the following initiatives since its founding:

  • Reblazed the trail through town (the blazes disappeared when streetlights were replaced)
  • Created a shower/laundry facility in the recreation center
  • Installed a 13' map of the AT in the library
  • Placed a hiker log book at the library's main door
  • Installed road signs to help hikers find the library
  • Produced a brochure that orients hikers to town
  • Arranged for special offers for hikers from local merchants.
  • Invited hikers to weekly community suppers
  • Created an emergency transportation network
  • Sponsored a showing of the video Trek, followed by a panel of thru- and section hikers (attended by 90+ people at The Howe Library)
  • Produced shows for local community-access television

Designation as an Appalachian Trail Community(TM) and participation in the program has these goals:

  • Engage community citizens, trail visitors and stewards
  • Recognize and thank communities for their service to the trail and hikers
  • Act as a catalyst for enhancing sustainable economic development
  • Aid local municipalities and regional areas with conservation planning
  • Help local community members see the trail as a resource and asset

Click Here for Information on Appalachian Trail Communities

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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