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#136730 - 07/25/10 04:43 PM New Trail Development
Redbug Offline

Registered: 07/25/10
Posts: 6
Loc: Florida
Dear Outdoor Enthusiast,
My name is Christopher Harper. I am a small web-based business owner
( ), freelance

Writer, Photographer, and long distance hiker/backpacker. I also am a
map contributor for a nationally based outdoor

magazine, Backpacker. I have been hiking, camping, canoeing and other
outdoor activities for the past 38 years, and am always

looking for new horizons to explore.

I am sure you have heard of the Appalachian Trail, which runs from
Springer Mountain in Georgia, to Mt Katahdin in the

state of Maine. You also have the North Country Trail that runs from
Crown Point on Lake Champlain New York to South Dakota.

You have the Sea-to-Sea Route that runs from Quebec Canada to Olympic
National Park in Northern Washington. There is also the

American Discovery Trail, The Long Trail, The Continental Divide
Trail, The Pacific Crest Trail, The Pacific Northwest Trail,

The West Coast Trail, The Ice Age Trail and The Florida Trail. These
are the most common ones that you hear about, but you

also have state, county, and city trails that are too numerous to list.

This brings me to the point of my inquiry. When I did a trail search
through the southern-most states of the US-20New

Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama- there are
no interconnecting long-distance trails through the

southern U.S. What I am attempting to do, is put together a long
distance hike from San Diego California to The Alabama

Connector on the Florida Trail. My proposed route would encompass over
2800 miles one-way; the Florida Trail is around 1300

miles, give or take, depending on which route you take. I am in the
planning stages at this time and am collecting

information from the respective state, county and local agencies to
make this goal achievable. I am also planning to write a

book of the journey, as well as any short articles that may result
from either the journey or the planning.

Any information that you could assist me with would be appreciated,
including existing trails; maps, Wildlife Management

Areas, State and National Forests, Wilderness areas, water sources,
interested private/business landowners, as well as any

other information you may find helpful. I would also like to include,
reliable water sources, and potential resupply points

along the route, as well as any permits that may be required. Such a
trail would bring additional revenue to countless small

towns and communities all along the route, as well as funds into the
various managing land agencies.

The Appalachian Trail attracts thousands of hikers each year,
attempting to hike from Georgia to Maine. The Continental

Divide Tr
ail and Pacific Crest are also two up and coming trails. Though the
numbers of hiker/backpackers for these trails are

smaller, their numbers are growing each year. These numbers reflect
only those attempting to hike these trails in their

entirety. There are countless thousands of hikers across America that
travel vast distances to section hike trails across the

United States, all of which bring tourist dollars to the respective
communities. It is a win-win situation for all parties


I thank you for your time and I hope to hear a reply soon. Together
we can make this goal achievable.


Christopher Harper


The Outdoor-Corner
Monticello, Florida

(850) 284-4091

#136746 - 07/26/10 10:42 AM Re: New Trail Development [Re: Redbug]
Keith Offline

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1667
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
First comment about your presentation. . .

Get some kind of software that will paste into a forum without making it look like poetry. Did you actually look at your post after you entered it?

As far as your idea is concerned, I say go for it and more power to you.
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

#136758 - 07/26/10 01:46 PM Re: New Trail Development [Re: Redbug]
OregonMouse Online   content

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6751
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I agree with Keith re cleaning up your presentation if you're going to post it in a forum. The current format is pretty hard to read. Maybe a shorter summary and link to your web site, rather than the long text?

This topic should be in the Long-Distance Hiking section. Ask a moderator to move it for you. EDIT: Not a criticism but just that you might get more responses.

There are lots of existing long-distance trails, especially in the southwest, but many of them (like the Arizona Trail) are north-south rather than east-west. You could consider the American Discovery Trail at some point, although it's farther north. Definitely you'd want to hook into the Grand Enchantment Trail from Albuquerque, NM to Phoenix, AZ.

Have you seen Andrew Skurka's site about the Great Western Loop?

Edited by OregonMouse (07/26/10 06:12 PM)
Edit Reason: Added comment
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#136821 - 07/27/10 01:43 PM Re: New Trail Development [Re: OregonMouse]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
After having lived or traveled through a few of the states you mention, there is a reason why there isn't a trail there.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

#136823 - 07/27/10 02:47 PM Re: New Trail Development [Re: finallyME]
OldScout Offline

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 501
Loc: Puget Sound, Washington
You know, I had the same reaction. There are no trails out there because few would want to hike them. At least in the southwest. People die out there. I know I will get slammed by desert lovers who will go on and on about the flowers (what, 2 weeks out of the year?) but my desert experiences have been nothng but dry, hot, dusty, and miserable (with all respects to Pika). YMMV.

#136884 - 07/28/10 01:09 PM Re: New Trail Development [Re: OldScout]
Redbug Offline

Registered: 07/25/10
Posts: 6
Loc: Florida
I am aware of the risks associated with desert hiking. Part of my planning involves setting up a series of caches along the route (marked by gps waypoints, along with a natural marker that would be recognizable), to help aid in that area. Also could enlist fellow hikers that live in close proximity to the route, to pre-determined droppoints, or meeting points. Still alot of logisticss to work out. THanks for the tips!

#136886 - 07/28/10 05:07 PM Re: New Trail Development [Re: OldScout]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Oh no, I wasn't talking about the southwestern states. I was talking about the southeastern states; Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas etc. Try to find a route that is scenic, beautiful, doesn't follow a roadway, and is not on private land. There are no mountains there, and most of Texas is privately owned. What do most of the major long distance trails have in common? I will give you a hint, it starts with an "M" and ends in "ountains".
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

#136887 - 07/28/10 05:27 PM Re: New Trail Development [Re: finallyME]
Cajun Offline

Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Tennessee
Hiking thru Louisiana and Mississippi? You really don't want to do that... at any time of the year.

#136891 - 07/28/10 06:45 PM Re: New Trail Development [Re: Cajun]
OregonMouse Online   content

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6751
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
The American Discovery Trail proves that this is possible, but bear in mind that most of that trail is road walking. I read Lion King's journal of his trip on the ADT a few years ago, and, frankly, while he seemed to have enjoyed most of it, it did not sound like fun to me! It would be even worse farther south. To the best of my knowledge, until you get at least to west Texas, there isn't much public land across the southern tier of states. The expense of buying right-of-way over private land would be prohibitive. With the Grand Enchantment Trail, half of Arizona and New Mexico are already covered. The western part (into California) and the eastern section (Alabama-Texas) would be the big issues. Andrew Skurka proved that the western section can be done; it's the eastern 2/3 that is going to be the problem.

Edited by OregonMouse (07/28/10 06:50 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#136914 - 07/29/10 10:04 AM Re: New Trail Development [Re: finallyME]
oldranger Offline

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Flat road walking is not very appealing;mountains and wilderness are critical for really attractive backpacking. When I want to see relatively flat country and get exercise, I turn to bicycle touring. This would be my way to see the southeast and deal more reasonably with the waterless stretches of the desert southwest.

The American Cycling Association already has established a cross country route through this area which is regularly enjoyed by touring enthusiasts.


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