International Appalachian Trail

The International Appalachian Trail (IAT) extends from Mount Katahdin, Maine, through New Brunswick, the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, to Newfoundland Labrador. In Western Newfoundland this long-distance hiking trail extends from Port-aux-Basques in the south, through Gros Morne National Park, to Crow Head (just east of L'Anse aux Meadows) at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

From Newfoundland the IAT extends across the North Atlantic Ocean to Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Spain.

A Brief History

The Appalachian Mountains are a magnificent, narrow and extensive, mountain range that parallels the eastern coast of North America for approximately 4000 kilometers (2400 miles). The system extends along Eastern North America, through Western Newfoundland, to Belle Isle, located 20 km off the northern tip of the Northern Peninsula.

The Appalachian Mountains were formed in the Paleozoic Era more than 250 million years ago and contain a mixture of eroded mountains, lush valleys, high ridges and wide, dissected plateaus. Dense forests cover much of the system, while some rock structures date back to the Precambrian and early Paleozoic eras nearly 250 million years ago, making it one of the oldest mountain systems on Earth.

Appalachian Trail (AT)

This mountain system has had a tremendous impact upon our lives in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. As in other provinces of Canada and the eastern seaboard of the United States that share the mountain chain, the Appalachian Mountains have been one of the defining geo-systems that has shaped our economy and lifestyle, as we know them today.

This was realized in the United States when Benton MacKaye - an off-and-on federal employee, proposed the construction of a hiking trail as the connecting thread of "a project in regional planning." His proposal, "An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning" appeared in the October 1921 edition of the Journal of the American Institute of Architects, and drew on years of talk of a "master trail" within New England hiking circles.

MacKaye envisioned a trail along the ridge crests of the Appalachian Mountain chain from New England to the deep South, connecting farms, work camps, and study camps that would be populated by eastern urbanites needing a break from the tensions of industrialization. In the 1930's the state and federal employment programs greatly assisted the development of the Appalachian Trail.

Now a continuously marked footpath that goes north from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine, a distance of over 3,800 km, it is estimated that 3-4 million visitors hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail each year. To the south of Springer Mountain, the trail connects to the Florida Trail (3,075km) to form the Eastern Continental Trail, a total of 7,622km. This international trail is the longest in North America.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2023