APPALACHIAN TRAIL, a footpath from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Kathadin in northern Maine. It was conceived in 1921 by Benton MacKaye as "a project in regional planning" and completed in 1937 by the volunteers of the Appalachian Trail Conference. The National Trails System Act (1968) furthered efforts to protect the narrow and largely private corridor. By 2002, federal and state governments guaranteed public access to all but a hundred miles of the 2,168-mile trail. Although some "through hikers" attempt the entire distance in a season, the trail is mostly encountered in short segments accessible to much of the eastern population.
Appalachian Trail Conference. Home page at http://www.appalachiantrail.org.
Marshall, Ian. Story Line: Exploring the Literature of the Appalachian Trail. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998.
See alsoNational Park System .