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TrekWest Blog 1: Wildlands Adventurer Eyes 5,000-Mile Personal Migration

TrekWest journey to experience age-old wildlife pathways, modern barriers
Wilderness explorer and outdoor adventurer, John Davis, is preparing to launch his second epic journey for nature, TrekWest. Davis, who in 2011 became the first person to continuously hike, bike and paddle 7,500 backcountry miles from the Florida Keys to Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula, is at it again.

Starting in January 2013, he’ll undertake an equal test of human endurance. Extreme altitudes, weather and terrain will challenge his reserve as he treks the spine of the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada, all for a passionate cause – restoring and connecting wild places so animals have enough room to survive.   “This is going to be a 10-month 5,000-mile personal migration and an urgent invitation to people everywhere to help protect the wild West we all love so much,” explains Davis. “So many people around the world love the landscapes and animals that are the timeless icons of western North America.Sadly, many do not realize how highly threatened they’ve become given the unrelenting creation of barriers that prevent wildlife from going the distances they need to find mates, homes and food.”

“This is going to be a 10-month 5,000-mile personal migration and an urgent invitation to people everywhere to help protect the wild West we all love so much,” explains Davis. “So many people around the world love the landscapes and animals that are the timeless icons of western North America.Sadly, many do not realize how highly threatened they’ve become given the unrelenting creation of barriers that prevent wildlife from going the distances they need to find mates, homes and food.”

Trekking a spectacular route through deserts, mountains and grasslands, Davis will follow historically critical wildlife corridors along the Rockies — from Sonora, Mexico to British Columbia, Canada. He plans to share the stories of cougars and wolves and grizzlies by experiencing long-distance travel from the perspective of these wide-ranging animals.

Davis knows he’s going to run into trouble along the way, just as jaguars and pronghorn do. In fact, every year, hundreds of thousands of animals of all kinds are killed trying to cross highways or are stopped in their tracks by other man-made barriers as they instinctively attempt to follow their traditional pathways. Accelerated climate change is also complicating wildlife movement patterns.

According to Davis, his trek is not just limited to encountering problems; it’s also about finding solutions. “I also will be learning about the inspiring projects private and public land managers and conservation organizations are undertaking to restore and connect wild places in the West,” says Davis. “My ultimate goal is to create a network of people willing to support these “conservation heroes” and their work. Perhaps some people will even create their own habitat protection programs as a result of my trek.”

“I know the terrain and weather conditions will be challenging and dangerous,” notes the adventurer,“ but nothing could be more urgent than inspiring and building the trust of a diverse network of people to work together in an effort to save the wildest parts of the West before they’re lost.”

TrekWest will not be a completely solo adventure. Other supporters will join Davis as co- trekkers along the trail. Event sponsor Wildlands NetworkTM and its many regional partner organizations in the Western Wildway Network will also be supporting his cross-country efforts, assisting him in collecting scientific data, photographing species, and showcasing their habitat protection projects.   “My dream is for a connected and protected Western WildwayTM — a true lifeline for animals that need safe passage across large landscapes,” says Davis. “If we’re successful, our communities, our children, and the wildlife we all love to watch will all benefit.”

Social media followers will be able to access Davis’s observations in real time throughout the journey via daily blogs, tweets, and other image postings of the sights, sounds, wildlife and people he encounters in the West’s most iconic — and wild — places. In addition, maps of his trek, barrier locations and connectivity projects will be easily accessible from the Wildlands Network-hosted TrekWest microsite.

To learn more about Davis, visit Island Press at www.islandpress.org to read Big, Wild and Connected, his soon-to-be-released e-book depicting the challenges and barriers he faced during his 2011 trek in the East, and the essential eastern landscapes he recommends for urgent connection and protection.

Opportunities will exist for media and other supporters to join Davis as he treks in the West. Pre-TrekWest arrangements are urged for those wishing to experience and report on this great adventure. For more information, visit www.wildlandsnetwork.org or www.trekwest.org. Trek followers can also visit Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and Twitter and join the growing network of people who want to put the “wild” back in the West.

For more information:  Contact:  Kim Vacariu at 520-558-0165.

For the Wild,
John

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