A section of New Hampshire’s Crawford Path – the oldest continuously used recreational trail in the country – will be closed to hikers for most of the summer as it undergoes reconstruction work.

The section of the path being closed is around Mount Monroe. During the closure, hikers are encouraged to take an alternative route over Mount Monroe and Little Monroe via the Mount Monroe Loop Trail.

The trail was closed earlier his month, and officials with the White Mountain National Forest say they expect it to remain closed through the end of July.

An order from the United States Forest Service says the trail will be closed to the public without exception during the project. Anyone caught violating the closure could face hefty fines or even imprisonment.

Crawford Path will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2019. But officials say the path suffers from degraded trail conditions. It is one of the most popular trails in any national forest in the eastern United States, in part because it has nearly six miles of open alpine environment and shares a section with the famed Appalachian Trail.

The Crawford Path restoration project is a kick-off to a new collaboration known as the White Mountain Trail Collective. The Trail Collective is made up of partner organizations in the White Mountain Region with a focus on supporting trail maintenance and trail maintainers. As a result, several organizations and clubs will join the U.S. Forest Service to participate in the trail’s restoration, including the Appalachian Mountain Club, Randolph Mountain Club, World Trails Network, Dartmouth Outing Club, the New Hampshire Bear Brook Crew of the Student Conservation Association, and the Wonalancet Outdoor Club.