Wednesday, September 10, 2008
the AT in Goat
For those of you who do not know, the Appalachian Trail was the first National Scenic Footpath. The trail runs from Georgia to Maine through the Appalachian mountain chain; crossing through a number of national, state and local parks as well as small towns along the way. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy maintains the trail and keeps it hike-able. In the southern region of the Appalachian Mountains there are few places where one can actually get a decent view from the mountain top you just climbed up because of the density of foliage. In the few places where there are balds (grassy tops), those stretches of trail become the most heavily travelled. The 12 mile stretch from roan mountain, TN to US 19E is the longest stretch of balds on the east coast. Just down the mountain is the city of Roan Mountain, TN. The point I am trying to make is that perhaps the strategy of goat grazing is related to supporting struggling mountain towns that rely heavily on tourism to attract business. In turn, if berry bushes are encroaching on the southern Appalachian balds then less people will visit the balds, and therefore local mountain businesses that rely on tourists money will struggle even more.