New hiker shelter finished on the AT

out ATshelterHikers of the Appalachian Trail now have a new shelter where they can rest their bones. The U.S. Forest Service announced Dec. 18 the completion of the Long Branch Shelter, located in the Standing Indian Basin in the Nantahala National Forest.

“Thanks to a lot of hard work and donations from partners, hikers of the AT can now seek shelter from the elements in a new solid, timber-framed structure,” said Mike Wilkins, ranger of the Nantahala District of the Nantahala National Forest. “Because it is so well built, the Long Branch Shelter will serve AT hikers for decades to come.”

The shelter is located at the head of the Long Branch Drainage along the AT, a little more than two miles north of Forest Service Road 83. The shelter is about 17 miles from Franklin.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy paid for the supplies while the Nantahala Hiking Club provided the labor, and local contractor Goshen Timber Frames donated the timber and assisted in frame assembly. Nantahala Ranger District employees lent heavy machinery and logistical support during construction.

The Long Branch Shelter replaces the old Big Springs Gap Shelter, which was located just north of Albert Mountain. The Big Springs Gap Shelter will soon be dismantled because it has fallen into disrepair. The old site had also suffered severe soil compaction and erosion during the years.

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