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Local conservation groups, as well as the Cumberland County commissioners, are pushing back against an apparent proposal by the federal government to close the Scott Farm site on the Appalachian Trail.

The commissioners sent a letter last week to the National Park Service to “express our concern regarding the announced plan to demolish the Scott Farm Trail Center facilities and close the trailhead located in Middlesex Township.”

The NPS proposal to liquidate the site was conveyed through the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the commissioners said.

The Keystone Trails Association also posted on social media that a meeting will be held at the Scott Farm, located on Bernheisel Bridge Road, at 10 a.m. Friday to discuss options to save the site.

The National Park Service did not return inquiries as of press time.

The Scott Farm serves as the base camp for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Mid-Atlantic Trail Crew, according to the organization’s website. It serves as a headquarters for maintenance and repair work over a section of trail that stretches from Rockfish Gap, Virginia, to the New York-Connecticut state line.

“The Scott Farm is a key location for stewardship and training activities for the Appalachian Trail,” the county commissioners wrote in their letter.

“In addition, the Scott Farm serves as an important trailhead to the residents and guests of the Cumberland Valley,” the commissioners continued, particularly given that it provides parking, restrooms and a water supply with direct trail access.

Conservation groups indicated that the NPS’ reason for wanting to eliminate the Scott Farm site was financial and tied to upkeep costs.

If so, there is a possibility of transferring the land to a private nonprofit or public-private partnership agency to keep the site running, an option that “should be given serious consideration for the benefit of current and future generations of trail users,” the commissioners wrote.

The NPS and its parent agency, the federal Department of the Interior, are facing steep budget cuts under the Trump administration.

The president’s draft fiscal year budget includes a $412 million cut to the NPS, a reduction of about 13 percent, including staff cuts of 1,835 full-time equivalent positions.

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Email Zack at zhoopes@cumberlink.com.

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Cumberland County/Investigative Reporter

Reporter for The Sentinel.