Thinking Beyond Borders

The creation of the International Appalachian Trail

This presentation chronicles the growth of the International Appalachian Trail.


Speaker: Don Hudson, Co-founder and President, Maine Chapter International Appalachian Trail

On April 22, 1994 – Earth Day – Governor Joseph Brennan proposed the establishment of a trail to connect the three highest points of Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec. This original vision aimed to connect people of a common landscape and culture, and it has since grown significantly beyond a hiking path to link Katahdin, Mt. Carleton and Mt. Jacques Cartier. Phase I was completed in 2000. The same impulse that inspired Benton MacKaye to propose the creation of the Appalachian Trail in 1921 – rural economic development and the celebration of open space and a shared mountain landscape – has propelled the IAT to all of Atlantic Canada (Phase II) and across the broad expanse of the North Atlantic to Greenland, Iceland, the Farôe Islands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, France and Spain – with Portugal and Morocco pending (Phase III). This presentation will chronicle the growth of the IAT with particular attention to diversity of organization, use of technology and funding, as well as the singular, unwavering attention to a bit of geologic history to galvanize a 20,000-mile trail network that will soon ring the North Atlantic.

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