More Than A Trail

Jan. 30, 2023

By Leilah Grace

The American Perimeter Trail is more than a simple hiking trail. The APT is, and will be, a conservation corridor that we can enjoy for our outdoor pursuits. It is our belief and model that to create sustainable conservation efforts the land should be able to be enjoyed safely. A protected parcel of land that we can only view from afar does not carry the same appeal as one that we can go explore, as one that we can fish or hunt or hike within. Consider the scenic overlooks on the highways on which you travel, they are beautiful to enjoy, but it is a fleeting memory at best. We are grateful for the view, for the moment, but it is not cause often for support and engagement. Compare these to the times that you explored the area and made your way to the summit or overlook, the journey that you took makes a more meaningful and lasting memory. Conservation engagement through outdoor recreation is a model that is not unique to the APT. The Continental Divide Coalition and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are strong conservation organizations fueling their efforts through outdoor recreation. It is through this proven model that we will accomplish creating the corridor of the APT.

Our goal is not to create the longest trail in the contiguous United States, but to create a one-of-a-kind conservation corridor available for outdoor enthusiasts, families, hikers, adventurers, for everyone. The long trail created within the corridor is a calculated benefit, one that we hope will draw the local communities to their own land and resources. In the laying of footbeds for recreation within a community we invite locals to explore both their local geography as well as the greater depth of the geography within the APT. With the size of the corridor and the 28 states and counting through which it will pass we are dependent on the support of the local communities, people, and organizations to create and maintain the corridor. Each state, each region, and each microcosm within these, will direct the local development of the corridor with the support of the APT and our governing body. A series of local trails connecting people, communities, and their land and spaces within the overarching span of the APT.

A conservation corridor of this depth and breadth is informed by the geography, the local people, and the governing body. A singular method to create the corridor cannot be used, we will utilize combinations of existing conservations corridors, shared footbeds, easements, public land, directed land donation, and more to develop the path. As with other trails in development the route will change and shape as we grow with the guidance of our members and communities. Though a singular vision crafted the APT, the development of the APT is one of many. Join us on the journey and Let’s Build It!

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