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The Green Life: Tracking TrekEast: Week 10

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June 21, 2011

Tracking TrekEast: Week 10

Treehugging John Davis's TrekEast adventure from Florida's Everglades to Canada's Gaspe Peninsula has as its goal to raise awareness of the East's remaining wild places, and to inspire people to help protect them. We at the Green Life are logging weekly updates of Davis's progress as he completes his 4,500-mile, human-powered trek.

Davis began Week 10 of TrekEast by walking and paddling through South Carolina's Congaree Swamp National Park. Joined by biologists, he explored acres of old-growth floodplain forest and spotted nearly 50 snakes along Cedar Creek. Surrounded by some of America's tallest pines, he couldn't resist the urge to do a little hugging (see photo, right). 

Davis found that Congaree isn't as big as it needs to be, especially since there isn't much outside of the park in that part of the state that's still wild. But he was reassured by a visit to the Audubon Society's Francis Beidler Forest that conservationists are doing their best to keep wildlands natural and connected. 

While camping in Francis Marion National Forest, Davis explored Wambaw Swamp Wilderness, which consists of more than 4,000 acres of bottomland swamp hardwood. Situated between touristy Myrtle Beach and sprawling Charleston, the forest is an important link to key coastlands. Hobcaw Barony, a 17,500-acre wildlife refuge, is of great significance as well. It's part of a 60-mile stretch of mostly protected coast northeast of Charleston. 

Davis had his eyes on North Carolina, and the first thing on his to-do list was to find a bike shop. After the recent flat tire, "Jake the Snake" was in need of another tune-up. But before leaving the "smiling faces and beautiful places" of South Carolina, Davis stopped in at CNN for another interview. He talked about his adventures in the wilds being a way to raise awareness about the need to restore our natural heritage and expand national parks and wilderness areas so that there's a network of protected areas rather than systems of isolated protected areas.

"It's important to learn about the land, to appreciate it, and to understand the threats to it and the opportunities to better protect it," he said.

--Molly Oleson / photo courtesy Wildlands Network

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