Keystone landscapes identified as essential for eastern international conservation corridor. TrekEast adventurer, John Davis, says his human-powered exploration of the remaining wild habitat between the Florida Keys and Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula last year identified a very big problem that requires an even bigger solution. “My conclusion is pretty simple,” Davis said, looking back on the… Continue reading “TrekEast Identifies Essential 16”…
Campaign focused on actions needed to create an “Eastern Wildway” FORILLON NATIONAL PARK, Quebec, Canada — After 10 continuous months on the trail exploring the last remaining wilds of the eastern U.S. and Canada, conservationist John Davis has a big story to tell. Not only did he hike, bike, paddle — and survive — a… Continue reading “Conservationist Davis Ends TrekEast Journey at 7,600 Miles”…
At last, I made it! Forillon National Park was a fitting end for TrekEast, and would be a fitting start for an Eastern Wildway. Forillon has all the wildness and excitement of stormy shores, sea cliffs, craggy mountains, rushing rivers, and handsome creatures like lynx, bears, fishers, and marten on land and eiders, seals, dolphins, and whales off shore.
Trails can be catalysts for conservation and restoration. They can be backbones for land protection, as America’s Appalachian Trail has been. Footpaths connect places and connect people with the natural world. If the International Appalachian Trail lives up to its potential, it will connect Maine with Gaspe, Americans with Canadians, and people with wild Nature; and it will inspire ecological restoration along its thousand kilometer course.
Seeing big wild animals in natural concentrations is a vanishingly rare experience in most of our troubled world. Easily-seen legged, winged, and finned creatures in primordial abundance have been relegated to wildest or richest habitats in Alaska, northern Canada, Siberia, East Africa, unspoiled mega-wetlands and estuaries, and a few not-yet-overfished or polluted coastal waters and coral reefs.
TrekEast has garnered many stories about wild places and wild creatures during our exploration of the once and future Eastern Wildway, but the most politically charged story happened almost by accident.
After cold rainy bike rides and a howling winter experience climbing Mt. Katahdin, my week paddling Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterway was joy and ease and beauty.
Appropriately, perhaps, TrekEast turned cool and wet in the great Maine Woods, a wet northern forest that often feels more like Alaska than like New England. I entered Maine in partly sunny weather, on the Appalachian Trail through the Mahoosucs; but by the time I’d reached the Mahoosuc Notch, cold rain was slowing my progress.
Thirty-three years ago, radical social worker Roger Merchant saved me from a youthful climbing accident. Three years ago, forester and photographer Roger Merchant saved one of Maine’s largest remnants of old-growth forest from Plum Creek feller-bunchers.
If you expect to be let down after hiking north out of the spectacular Presidential Range of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, you may be startled by the rugged beauty of the Mahoosuc Range, extending north and east into Maine.
Some towns are kinder to their lands than are others. Randolph, New Hampshire, in the heart of the White Mountains and just north of the Presidential Range, is about as green as you can find in a famously libertarian state. With mountains so gorgeous they’ve long been recognized by the US Forest Service and generations of hikers as worthy of conservation, Randolph has gained at least partial protection for more than 25,000 of its 30,000 acres.
Vistas the next couple days of my hike through New Hampshire’s White Mountains, atop the Kinsmans, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield, and Galehead, were again vivid, expansive, and wild but for the fractures along I-93 and around sprawling Franconia.
The hardest thing about this trek has been saying goodbye. Ever and anon, I must say farewell to friends and colleagues I may not see again for years, farewell to places I may not see again in this lifetime, farewell to trees who may get cut down and birds who may thereby lose their homes, and farewell to furry creatures who may soon get run over – life so parlous in this broken world.
Not far from the booming metropolis of Boston lies a 8lovely little pond, which Thoreau undoubtedly would have found winsome and uplifting, in the heart of a forest wilder than most of northern Maine.
So rich have been the opportunities on TrekEast to meet and conspire with various conservation friends that I’ve been led in all directions even as I trend northward. After spending August scouting my home region of the Adirondacks and then stuck in New York City during the severest hurricane in years, and early September biking and hiking connections through Vermont and Quebec’s Northern Green Mountains, I swung south again – perhaps for the last time this trek, with the luxury of summer slipping away – to explore bits of the Taconic and Southern Green Mountains with friends Cheri Phillips, George Davis, and Jerry Jenkins.