Thanks to Congress and to God we have eleven National Trails, ten besides the Appalachian Trail.
They were set aside for hiker in 1968 — 18,000 miles of foot trails, all told.
The Appalachian Trail is the only one that is fully continuous 2000 miles from one end in Georgia to its other end in Maine.
The other ten have significant gaps in their routes, causing hikers to walk off the trail onto roads and highways for large portions of their hikes.
How many gaps are there?
While ten trails with account for 16,000 miles of the National Trail foot paths, they have 4,000 miles of road walking.
That is one mile of every four trail miles in the woods, there is one mile on a road or highway.
Here is a very short YouTube video of a my friend, Jim Kern, walking one of the gaps in the Florida Trail.
Some of us are concerned that these ten trails may never actually be complete continuous end-to-end foot paths. Not unless something is soon done to fill their gaps.
Our Hopes for 2018
Next year is the fiftieth anniversary of the National Trails Act, which created these trails.
Jim Kern is founder of one of them, the Florida National Trail.
Now Jim has founded a new organization, Hiking Trails for America, to rally support for “Closing the Gaps” of course on his Florida Trail, which requires a hiker to hike on roads, as well as to close the gaps on all the other National Trails.
Of course counting on our years of friendship, Jim enlisted me to its board.
I’m posting the video of Jim hiking one of the Florida Trail’s ugliest gaps, to illustrate our concern.
I hope you will take a look at the HTA website for more information about our mission.
Here Is How You Can Help the Long Trails
We hope that during 2018 we can rally a broad-base hiking support to ask Congress to study the gaps on each of the ten National Trails and find ways to fix them.
If this strikes a chord with you, why not take a look at the website and ask your other hiking friends to do the same.
There is a petition on that site which you may want to sign as well.
There will be more about this in the coming months.
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