This award recognizes an extraordinary trail project that occurred outside the United States, which demonstrates innovative planning and design techniques while making a positive contribution to a specific country or region of the world.
The Caminando Panama Foundation is working on two projects simultaneously focused on rescuing Panama’s two trans-isthmian colonial routes: the Camino de Cruces (Crosses Road) and the Camino Real (Kings Road).
These Caminos are the grandparents of the Panama Canal. The recovery of the Camino Real began in 2013. The project’s goal is to provide community members living within the National Park’s buffer zone with an economic alternative to their subsistence based livelihood, while at the same time rescuing a historic treasure.
Until last year, sections of the Camino de Cruces had been lost for over 40 years. After searching for several months, a group funded by Caminando Panama found the Camino. Since the rediscovery, Caminando Panama has continued to fund its maintenance while coordinating volunteer-based trail maintenance days to ensure public access.
Due to the attention both of these projects have generated in the national press there is now legislation being prepared that would proclaim these two Caminos National Heritage Sites with the idea of elevating them to World Heritage Sites.