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Re: [CDT-L] one trail or routes



15,000 - 20,000 AT thru-hikers? I wonder where they get those numbers? I feel 
like flying down to Georgia in late March to check it out! 

Re: the one-trail one-route thing. I agree with what a lot of people have 
been saying about the uniqueness of the CDT as it is now. But I think there 
are two important reasons for advocating a single developed trail, and they 
both have to do with land protection.

One is that a developed trail will attract more hikers and have more of a 
constituency, which can act to protect land (as has been done many time on 
the AT --  for example, the Mt. Rogers road issue. And now Saddleback, in 
Maine.) Of course, this is a double edged sword: too much of a constituency 
isn't necessarily a good thing, either. But the fact that ATC and associated 
groups have strong voices with regard to what happens proximate to the AT.  

The second is the idea of trail corridor protection, as is being done on the 
AT. I know it's only 1000 feet wide, but the Trust for AT Lands is trying to 
protect bigger parcels -- trying to keep up with the impossible task of 
protecting the trail from any nearby use that impacts the trail experience. 
Like cell phone towers, ski area development, gravel pits, housing 
developments, and a lot more, besides. It's easier to do that if there is a 
defined route. CDT hikers might reap advantages like springs that were 
protected from being polluted by cattle.

There's also the issue of private land: Has any CDT thru-hiker NOT trespassed 
on private property? The fact is, we have no right to be on private property 
without permission. It might be easier to get easements for a single trail 
rather than a general route.  It's the lands with lots of private property 
where the trail is less fixed and this issue becomes more important. In the 
wilderness areas and national parks, the CDT is already pretty much defined. 

Karen
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