October 16, 2017
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Runner faces fine for ‘corporate event’ atop Katahdin

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Updated:
Bob Najar | iRunFar.com | BDN
Bob Najar | iRunFar.com | BDN
Scott Jurek celebrated on the top of Mount Katahdin after setting a new record for the fastest hike of the entire Appalachian Trail.

BAXTER STATE PARK, Maine — Ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek was issued summonses by park rangers for creating a corporate media event on top of Mount Katahdin last weekend following his record-setting run of the Appalachian Trail, the park announced Thursday.

In a statement posted on the park’s Facebook page, Jurek, Brooks Running Co. and Jurek’s other sponsors were chastised for bringing a large media party and alcoholic beverages to Baxter Peak in violation of park rules. That occurred when Jurek celebrated traversing the 2,180-mile trail in 46 days, eight hours and seven minutes Sunday.

“With all due respect to Mr. Jurek’s ability, Baxter State Park was not the appropriate place for such an event,” stated the posting, which went up on Thursday.

The posting noted that park rangers issued three summonses to Jurek for bringing champagne, littering and bringing an oversized group to the summit. Commercial media representatives recording Jurek were also cited for violating a permit which prohibited filming within 500 feet of Baxter Peak, the posting said.

“These ‘corporate events’ have no place in the Park and are incongruous with the Park’s mission of resource protection, the appreciation of nature and the respect of the experience of others in the Park,” according to the posting. “We hope for the support of the AT [Appalachian Trail] and BSP [Baxter State Park] communities to help us steer these events to more appropriate venues in the future.”

Jurek could not be reached for comment on Thursday. Derek Lactaoen, a brand communications coordinator at Brooks headquarters in Seattle, declined to comment.

Under park regulations, groups are limited to no more than 12 people. Violations of park rules carry a fine of up to $1,000 and violators might be required to leave the park immediately, according to documents available at the park website.

The Appalachian Trail is a National Park Service-managed 2,185-mile public footpath that begins at Springer Mountain, Georgia, and ends at Baxter Peak, stretching along the Appalachian Mountains. Baxter State Park is a state-managed refuge overseen by the director of the Maine Forest Service, the commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine attorney general.

The Baxter park statement cited the difference and noted that “the formal federal designation and authority of the Appalachian Trail does not extend into Baxter State Park.

“The AT within the Park is hosted at the consideration of the Baxter State Park Authority. The Authority is currently considering the increasing pressures, impacts and conflicts that the Appalachian Trail brings to the Park and if a continued relationship is in the best interests of Baxter State Park,” the statement read.

When asked whether the statement was intended as a warning that the park authority was considering ending the trail at the park’s boundaries, park authority member Doug Denico, director of Maine Forest Service, said that the authority continually reviews all aspects of the park as part of maintaining the park.

“Everything is always under review. I don’t think that was meant as a threat. It is something we do all the time,” Denico said Thursday.

The alleged violations rangers cited with Jurek’s party are nagging problems that occur partly because a very small percentage of trail hikers don’t or cannot see that things possibly allowed on the trail aren’t allowed in the park, Denico said.

“There are some real conflicts there that we would like to resolve,” Denico said.

Trail administrators are going to visit the park sometime soon to discuss the problems, Denico said. He referred further comment to park Director Jensen Bissell, who did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

 


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