The Appalachian Trail is honoured in today’s slideshow Doodle; click the image to learn more about this 2,190-mile footpath that crosses 14 states in the United States! The Appalachian Trail, the world’s longest hiking-only footpath, has been a popular destination for tourists for almost a century. Along the east coast, it passes through lush forests, through raging rivers, and atop mountain summits. The Appalachian Trail was one of the nation’s first National Scenic Trails when the National Trails System Act was passed on this day in 1968.
The concept was first proposed in 1921 by forester, conservationist, and longtime outdoor lover Benton MacKaye. An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning, his first concept, described a section with a number of self-sufficient agricultural settlements along the way. His initiative attracted a lot of supporters, and the group finally took the name Appalachian Trail Conference.
The Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine was finally properly connected in 1937 because to the joint efforts of several trailblazers. Ten years later, a hiker by the name of Earl Shaffer announced the first end-to-end thru-hike, sparking a flurry of interest. Since then, more than 14,000 people have finished the journey.
The National Trails System Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 and designated the Appalachian Trail as federal land, named it one of the first national scenic trails. The final significant piece of land was finally purchased in 2014, bringing the trail’s original visions to reality.
The National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and numerous volunteers now oversee and maintain the ancient footpath in an effort to preserve its natural splendour. Each year, thousands of pathfinders travel the route with the goal of completing the four- to six-month thru-hike.
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