Protecting the Appalachian Trail from Natural Gas Pipelines

by Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Gas Pipeline project in Delaware Water Gap. Photo by Mike Kintner and Bill Tinney.We seek to avoid, minimize, or eliminate the visual and experiential impacts of all utilities, including oil, gas, and petroleum products pipelines, on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and its surrounding landscapes. Where it is not possible to eliminate impacts, our goal is to obtain mitigation or offsets that result in no net loss of Trail values.


In the past year, the ATC and the National Park Service have learned of several proposed gas pipelines that, if approved, will be built across the Appalachian Trail. Due to expanded gas extraction in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the number of proposed pipelines to cross A.T. lands will increase.

We need to be concerned not only about the local impacts of individual pipeline proposals, but also about the cumulative impacts that multiple pipelines, and the associated infrastructure, could have on the A.T. and its recreational value.

Gas Pipeline project in Delaware Water Gap. Photo by Mike Kintner and Bill Tinney.

What we’re doing:

We’re engaged with our partners and gaining knowledge. The National Park Service has briefed the ATC and Regional Partnership Committees. A Park Service energy specialist has offered informational webinars for staff and volunteer leaders about gas pipelines and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) permitting process. In addition, ATC and Appalachian National Scenic Trail staff are working internally with other eastern National Parks and National Forests affected by this increase in pipelines to review proposals and better understand potential impacts to the broader landscape.

We have new policy guidance on pipelines and the A.T. This policy, which was  was adopted in 2015, will serve as a framework when deciding our stance on any individual pipeline project. 

We’re seeking more information about proposed projects. Our conservation staff is meeting with industry representatives to understand the proposed routes for new pipelines.

What you can do:

Stay informed. Those interested may track individual pipeline proposals using the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission website.

Gas Pipeline project in Delaware Water Gap. Photo by Mike Kintner and Bill Tinney.

Pay attention. NPS and the ATC regional staff are asking Trail club volunteers and agency partners to report any news they hear, or activities that suggest a pipeline is being considered, such as surveyors and realty investigators in A.T. counties and towns. The ATC regional staff contacts for pipeline proposals are as follows:

Contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to offer your perspective. This section of the FERC website outlines different ways that landowners and citizens can participate in decision making on proposed natural gas projects.

Contact your elected officials to share your views. Find contact information for local and state officials here

Participate in local and state hearings and discussions about pipeline routes starting as early as possible in the process.


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  1. Jim McBee | May 07, 2018
    I think if the pipline is burried and planted with native flowers that it could be a oppertunity for meadow wildlife. Dont only build the pipeline but protect the ground that the pipeline is under. Insects and birds are in need of native plants. We have been given a responsibility to protect this land. We can coexist, machines are more effient and envirnmentaly friendly then ever. I cross pipelines and powerline clearings on the AT all the time. This is not a big deal.
  2. Stephanie Chrismer | Jul 19, 2017
    This makes me so mad. 
  3. MB Clemons | Jul 12, 2017
    The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a risk to the planet.  Using funds to make another pipeline, when maintenance on the existing structures aren't being maintained seems like hard work, rather than smart work.  Finding a way to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels is something everyone can agree on except the companies that profit from fossil fuels being mined.

    Please do not put poison running through our beautiful mountains.  
  4. Running Water | Mar 07, 2017
    As a former thru-hiker and attorney who has seen the real life impact of utilities using "protected" land, I ask those who have already commented if they have ever seen what pipeline construction does to the land?  Hiking through barren mud with no life is not exactly what most folks call getting away and finding respite in nature.  The Feds have always sold and abused its natural resources for profit at the expense of the taxpayers and future citizens.  They did this in Vermont, sold to the lumber companies, let them harvest the beautiful old growth woods and replant.  This allowed the trail to continue and be rerouted through a lifeless 5 year old forests.  IT WAS AWFUL!  That was 1998 - the Federal Government's greed and disdain for the future of natural spaces has only gotten worse since then.
  5. Rob | Mar 01, 2016
    Thursday, February 25, 2016
    Bill would allow gas surveyors on private land without permission
    by David Gutman, Staff Writer
  6. Hank Photo | Jan 25, 2016
    Makes sense...let's keep the much needed empty land empty...after all,  poor people don't need a place to the same spirit of those who sought freedom, you allow poor.people, homeless people, to be home full,  and allow us the right to homestead an acre if it is is to be built by the homeowner and occupied by the same for at least 10 years? Soud good? Ok...when can I climbed my acre? No? Thought so. It's usually the touchy Feely types who make it HARDER on poor people to live and the capitalist profit before humans that make it impossible to catch up. Both a holes, just for different reasons
  7. Spencer Stitt | Nov 08, 2015
    In 2011, in testimony before the Maryland House Environmental Committee as an independent environmental consultant, Quigley warned that the cumulative effect of gas drilling "will dwarf all of Pennsylvania's previous waves of resource extraction combined," and that Maryland must avoid the mistakes that Pennsylvania has made. I don't want Virginia to make the same mistake and lose what makes this wonder great.
  8. Stephen Martelli | Sep 18, 2015
    Good Afternoon, I have hiked the Trail twice, end to end, and would not have a problem with the Gas Line being buried in or near the Trail as long as I was able to walk over it without an unsightly pipeline exposed to the weather. I would rather have no pipe there but we must be realistic in that the future will depend upon Gas more and more.
      So, In closing. I am for an unsightly area around where the Trail crosses a Gas Line.   

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