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 7,600-mile trek from Florida to Quebec, but he also identified a potential continental-sized wildlife corridor along the way that Davis hopes will be the foundation for a future “Eastern Wildway” to protect nature into the distant future.
Davis wrapped up his historic conservation adventure on November 14, 2011 when he walked the final mile to the tip of Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula at Forillon National Park, where he was met with the applause of local officials and conservation volunteers. In trail’s end remarks, Davis kept his message simple:
“While I’ve seen numerous threats to wild nature over the past 10 months, I’ve also seen incredible efforts underway to counter those threats,” Davis noted. “If our eastern wildlife is to survive and rejuvenate, all of us need to focus on five conservation actions: Connect and protect existing big wild areas; reintroduce important key species like wolves and cougars; create wildlife crossings over and under highways; protect waterways with riparian buffers; and create stronger incentives for private lands stewardship.” All of which, he says, will result in the creation of a linked mosaic of wildlands stretching throughout a connected Eastern Wildway.
Davis also outlined another key element essential for TrekEast success. “Trekking 7,600 miles has been the easy part,” he said. Now comes the much more important and difficult leg of the trip — maintaining and growing the network of people needed to protect a continental-sized network of connected eastern wildlands. “Together we can do this,” he said, referring to the huge number of followers he’s inspired along the way through hundreds of media and internet stories, and thousands of internet blogs, tweets and posts.
Davis says he plans to take the next year to unwind and write a book about his TrekEast experiences, including tales of the 160 mountain peaks he ascended, his scores of amazing wildlife sightings, the tornadoes he dodged, and the many conservation heroes he met on the trail. And in his spare time, Davis says he will start planning for another never-before-attempted adventure: TrekWest. “I’m not finished with promoting large landcape-scale habitat connectivity,” he notes. “There is a huge Western Wild way in need of protection and connection, stretching from Mexico to Alaska, that is next on my list of things to do.”