Gulf Hagas Ridgerunner
Gulf Hagas, a National Natural Landmark in the “100-mile wilderness”, is in the northern 4/5 of the AT in Maine. The Gulf is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. It includes an eight-mile loop trail showcasing four waterfalls, dozens of cascades, pools, and a deep gorge. Visitors hike the trails, swim and fish. The Gulf trails link to the AMC lands, and the Appalachian Trail attracting a variety of both long and short distance hikers.
Gulf Hagas sees a large volume of day use crowds (approx. 5,000 each summer), many are unprepared. Some tourists come in street clothes and flip flops unaware that their first task is to cross a major stream and then hike a strenuous eight-mile loop with steep and eroding stream banks, waterfalls and gorges. Before a Ridgerunner presence emergency rescues and lost persons were common.
The MATC Ridgerunner is placed at the Gulf to focus on hiker safety, as well as environmental protection and Leave No Trace. The Ridgerunner patrols the eight-mile loop trail through the Gulf, as well as 14 miles to the south and 11 miles to the north into the alpine zone (the Barren and Chair Back Range). The Ridgerunner models and teaches Leave No Trace knowledge, ethics and skills, interacting with a large volume of visitors. She provides a daily management presence on AT lands, deterring environmental impact, illegal fires, lost persons, hiker injuries and illicit behavior.