MATC places three Ridgerunners along the Appalachian Trail, in Maine, from May – October. The Ridgerunners reach approximately 10,000 people each year with backcountry knowledge, skills and ethics. They are based at high-use recreational destinations including Gulf Hagas “the Grand Canyon of Maine”, as well as Saddleback and Bigelow Mountains among the “4,000 footers” in the high peaks of western Maine.
The Ridgerunners live and work along the trail where they serve as the eyes and ears on the ground. Their responsibilities are to: teach people backcountry camping and hiking skills; patrol busy campsites, summits and trails; monitor for threats to alpine plants, wildlife habitat, and water resources; mitigate fire impacts; and discourage rowdy behavior, littering and waste deposits. They impart skills like how to hang a bear bag, ford a river, read a map, dig a “cat hole,” identify alpine plants, and use a gray water pit.
The Ridgerunners focus in particular on young people in organized groups as well as long distance backpackers. They work to reduce impacts through the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics principles. Leave No Trace is an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. The seven principles are below:
Thank you to the following organizations for
Bureau of Parks and Lands
Davis Conservation Fund
Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund
Nestle Waters/Poland Spring
Waterman Stewardship Fund