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TrekWest: Ground-Truthing the Western Wildway

Graphic shows "Wildlands Network's trekwest." There is a map of the western United States.
The TrekWest trail map. Photo: Wildlands Network

In early 2013, Wildlands Network’s John Davis began a 5,000-mile, person-powered journey from Sonora, Mexico to Elk River Valley, British Columbia. He had already completed the 7,600-mile TrekEast in 2011, and was ready to hike, bike, and paddle his way north again in the name of conservation.

Much like for TrekEast, John set out on this epic conservation adventure to experience the land as wildlife experience it. He encountered the same obstacles that prevent wolves, cougars, grizzly bears and other imperiled wide-ranging species from freely roaming these wild places to find habitat, food, and mates.

From the border wall to impassable roads, the dangers John encountered proved the need for the Western Wildway, a continental wildlife corridor that would provide protections for creatures who depend on large, unbroken landscapes. Today, Wildlands Network is actively working to make our vision of a reconnected Western Wildway reality.

Award-winning adventure cinematographer, Ed George, accompanied John during much of TrekWest. George filmed John’s story of ground-truthing wildlife corridors across the West, while weaving in footage of regional conservationists, scientists, and other citizens working to reconnect and protect the landscapes they love. Though George himself is now sadly deceased, his resulting film, Born to Rewild, premiered in February 2017 at the Sedona International Film Festival to rave reviews. You can watch the trailer below.

Along the way, John blogged extensively about his experiences, describing many places and species in urgent need of protection. John’s wandering took him through the Ajos-Bavispe Reserve in Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Colorado’s Vail Pass, and Montana’s Rocky Mountain front, among other spectacular wild lands, where he encountered grizzly bears, moose, and Mexican wolves.

John also met with conservationists, scientists, outdoor recreationists, and others to strategize around how, together, we can bring the Western Wildway to fruition.