"Triathlete Meets John Muir" to Trek 4,500 East Coast Miles
What does it take to get networks of people to protect networks of land? Ask John Davis, writer, conservationist, and co-founder of the Wildlands Network, and he'll tell you: a 4,500-mile trek. On Feb. 3, Davis will set out on Wildland Network's TrekEast, an epic journey from Florida's Everglades to Canada's Gaspe Peninsula. His mission: To inspire people to help connect the East Coast's remaining wild places to each other, a move that would help save their wildlife.
"A wild adventure and the exhilaration of motion can attract outsiders to the noble — but oft seemingly grim — cause of protecting wildlife habitat," Davis says.
And wild it will be. Intent on using mostly human power, Davis, who's been described as "a triathlete meets John Muir," will take 10 months to hike, paddle, raft, and ski through the six eco-regions that make up the Eastern Wildway, a vision for habitat connectivity in places threatened by development.
"There's quite a list of things that are fragmenting wildlife corridors all over the East," says Kim Vacariu, a director of the Wildlands Network. Davis hopes to change that. He'll paddle through crocodile habitat, climb mountains, raft rivers, advocate for the recovery of keystone species, and promote community-based agriculture and sustainable local economies.
"Along the way, he'll take breaks," says Vacariu, "to describe his experiences and to describe actions people can take to help protect the wildlife corridors he has just traversed."
Determined to draw a new audience of real and virtual followers, Davis is inviting co-trekkers and will post updates on Facebook. "I hope that many people from many walks of life will follow the journey from afar, and that some will even join it," Davis says. "I hope they will thereby feel better connected with the lands and wildlife they love, will feel inspired to help save and restore these places and species, and will learn ways they can do so."