Appalachian Pipe Dreams: Contextualizing the Conflict Over the Mountain Valley Pipeline within the Administrative History of the Appalachian Trail

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John Wargo
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The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) is a footpath extending 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine’s Baxter State Park. For nearly a century, the trail has been managed through cooperative agreements made between the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), federal and state governments, and citizens residing in the Appalachian Region, referred to collectively as the AT Community. This essay seeks to contextualize the recent tension that arose between the ATC and the AT Community in the wake of a controversial agreement made in secret between the ATC and Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC., first by exploring the history of the ATC’s relationship with the AT Community, and then by showing how this agreement represents a departure from the foundation of trust on which the AT was built.