Re: “Appalachian Trail record-setter says Baxter State Park officials ‘vilifying’ him‘ ” (Aug. 2):

I see there is a new “world record” for a foot-trip over the Appalachian Trail, implying such a record has not been set anywhere else in the world.

That would be quite a feat in itself, there being no other Appalachian Trail anywhere else in the world. (The International Appalachian Trail is a completely different entity. I know because I have been associated with that, too.)

I mention that only because it sort of represents the tone of the whole discussion of what most persons connected with the AT (such as me, a former 25-year volunteer AT section maintainer) consider just another overblown non-event.

Adding the meaningless word “world” is just an aggrandizing attention-getter, but so are the recent publicizings by both the record-setter and Baxter State Park management.

A shortest-time 2,000-mile walk (run?) anywhere else would never get the attention it has gained by associating it with this already-famous trail.

And a plea for hikers to behave according to park rules would be lost in the wind without being handed the rare opportunity to associate it with the existing hype of some kind (any kind) of a “notable” event.

Yes, it’s all publicity.

That’s not all bad. It has already gained a lot of needed public attention that may lead to better understanding of long-distance hiking trails (there are many thousands of miles of others all over the world) and of the thousands of areas governed by wilderness-preservation regulations, where the things that are intended to be allowed to go wild do not include either humans or their trails.

Richard B. Innes