In 1921, an article was published in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects proposing a series of trail-connected camps along the Appalachian Mountains. Very soon, volunteer crews of hikers were constructing a first segment of the proposed New England-to-Georgia footpath on their own, starting in Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park in New York. A small core of about 200 activists began to select and blaze routes, set standards, establish more than 30 local clubs to oversee local segments, negotiate with private landowners and government agencies over rights of way, and publish maps and guidebooks. By 1937 a continuous Appalachian Trail was open, running through 2,000 miles of wild land from Georgia’s Mount Oglethorpe to Mount Katahdin in central Maine. Not until the end of the 1960s did the overseeing nonprofit have any paid employees. To this day, local volunteers continue to handle most of the club duties and trail upkeep.
- History of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, appalachiantrail.org/about-the-trail/history
- Brian King, The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America’s Hiking Trail (The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 2012)