Friday, 02 July 2021 11:05

Forest Service bans camping on Max Patch for two years after nonstop deluge of visitor problems

Citizen-Times: Festival-like atmosphere on famed bald led to massive litter, waste and wildlife problems

They trampled warbler habitat restoration areas. They left behind tons of cheap camping equipment. They failed to properly bury or transport human waste. They left their vehicles parked willy-nilly on an access road, impeding the ability of emergency vehicles serving the surrounding areas. They ruined it for the rest of us.

Now Max Patch is closed to camping and other restricted uses for two years, Pisgah National Forest authorities announced on July 1.

Over the past decade, the bald in Madison County, North Carolina with 360-degree views of the surrounding Appalachians experienced stunning overcrowding and misuse, with some areas resembling jam-band festivals at times.

The Appalachian Trail traverses the bald, which was home to vital projects to restore wildlife and vegetative habitat. Now visitors are subject to numerous and pointed restrictions, and failure to abide by the new rules could bring tickets and fines.

The restoration could be a long process.