Connecting Pinhoti And Appalachian Trails
Hikers on the Pinhoti Trail. Photo by g s h/Flickr
When the Appalachian Trail was mapped in the 1920s, the plan set out by Benton Mackaye called for a trail and associated spurs that stretched from Maine to northern Alabama. While the primary trail was completed in north Georgia in the 1930s, efforts to build the spur into Alabama faded.
Over the course of nearly two decades, the Fund worked with numerous partners to link the Pinhoti Trail in Alabama to the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia. By conserving key properties and extending the Pinhoti Trail, we linked the two trails and extended the reach of the Appalachian Trail into Alabama.
Our efforts began back in 1985 when the Alabama Trails Association approached us to engage private landowners and negotiate the acquisition of properties that were key to completing the trail. We helped acquire nearly 10 properties, protecting more than 7,000 acres and adding more than 20 miles to the Pinhoti Trail across Alabama and Georgia. Finally, in 2006, the purchase of three miles of trail corridor culminated the effort to link the Pinhoti Trail to the Appalachian Trail.
Even after linking the trails, our work continued: In 2009, we protected the eight-mile crest of Rebecca Mountain, a major ridge in the Appalachian Mountains. This land allows the U.S. Forest Service to complete a portion of the Pinhoti Trail that connects Rebecca Mountain to the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. This property is open to visitors for hiking, camping and recreation.
With three million people hiking a portion each year, the Appalachian Trail is one of America’s favorite places to experience the outdoors. We will continue to protect lands around the trail, whether in New Hampshire, Alabama or the other states that it passes through. Our passion for conservation means we work to ensure America’s favorite places stay protected.