Building a Long-Distance Hiking Trail Across the Middle East
A case study for examining the challenges and potential of long-distance hiking trails in a region affected by political instability.
Presenters: David Landis, Regional Director, Abraham Path Initiative; Shay Rabineau, Trail Research Consultant, Abraham Path Initiative
Since ancient times, religious pilgrims have crisscrossed the Middle East on foot. Today, tourists of all sorts visit the holy sites and ancient ruins of the Eastern Mediterranean, and demand for hiking is growing as Americans and Europeans learn about routes like the Lebanon Mountain Trail and the Israel National Trail. This session uses the Abraham Path, designated the world’s best new trail in 2014 by National Geographic Traveler, as a case study for examining the challenges and potential of long-distance hiking trails in a region affected by political instability. How do trail-building, waymarking, and infrastructure development in the Middle East compare with their American counterparts? What opportunities exist for American trail builders to contribute to the development of hiking tourism in the Middle East? How can lessons learned overseas improve trails in the US?