The LDA and the National Parks Service provided grants to Dr. Karl Ford, a natural resource scientist, for his journey on the Appalachian Trail, where he collected ticks by flagging and submitted them for laboratory analysis for tick and pathogen identification to the U.S. Army Public Health Command’s Ellen Stromdahl and Robyn Nadolny. Read the story of his journey and what ticks he found and where in Appalachian Trail Journeys, The Magazine of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, May/June 2014, the article entitled “Preventing Tick-borne Disease on the A.T.,” by Karl Ford, PhD (p.28 of the magazine) or at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/docs/atj/atj-may-june-2014.pdf (p.12 onscreen)
Said Dr. Ford, “Ticks generally live at low elevations in wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Researchers have found few deer ticks above 1,650 feet in the Mid-Atlantic states. Except for alpine areas, agricultural lands, and balds, the Trail is nearly all forested and average elevation is 2,500 feet. Ticks are found in the lower elevations of all 14 states the A.T. crosses from May through September (and even year round at the very lowest elevations in southern areas). The highest exposure months along the A.T. are mid-May through July and the greatest risk is in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, where Lyme disease is endemic and Trail elevation is low.”
More information on the issue of tick-borne diseases on the Appalachian Trail by Dr. Ford have been accepted for publication in Park Science: Integrating Research & Resource in the National Parks. LDA will post info when available. Dr. Ford is a Consultant, Bureau of Land Management, Utah State University.