Northeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 28-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


HUDSON Jr., W. Donald, International Appalachian Trail, Maine Chapter, 26 Mosquito Run, Arrowsic, ME 04530, MARVINNEY, Robert G., Maine Geological Survey, 93 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0093 and ANDERSON, Walter A., Maine State Geologist, Emeritus, 7 Fayview Lane, North Yarmouth, ME 04097

Throughout human history, the geological foundation of our landscape has determined the location of settlements, trade routes, and human migratory paths, inextricably linking our culture to geology. The International Appalachian Trail (IAT) addresses our common geoheritage by establishing a long-distance walking trail that extends beyond borders to all geographic regions once connected by the “Appalachian Mountain” range, formed more than 300 million years ago on the super-continent Pangaea. In addition to connecting people and places, the goal of the IAT is to promote natural and cultural heritage, health and fitness, environmental stewardship, fellowship and understanding, cross-border cooperation, and rural economic development through eco-recreation.

The IAT was founded in Maine, USA, on “Earth Day”, in 1994 and currently includes 23 chapters in 14 countries on 3 continents representing an estimated 12,000 miles of trail along the ancient Appalachian terranes rimming the North Atlantic. A work in progress, the development of the IAT continues as individual chapters construct a long-distance walking trail through Appalachian/Caledonian terranes and develop educational materials related to the trail. In Europe, the IAT has been a natural fit, both in terms of mission and geography, with Geoparks. Similarly, the IAT in North America is aligned with Stonehammer Geopark which highlights coastal New Brunswick geology; aspiring Cabox Geopark, focused on the Bay of Islands ophiolite in Newfoundland; Géoparc de Percé highlighting Gaspé geology in Québec; and also the exceptional fossil assemblage at Joggins World Heritage site in Nova Scotia. The IAT provides an excellent opportunity for earth scientists to participate in this unique recreational/educational project and to engage the public in a discussion of the geological foundations of modern society.