|Photo courtesy of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy|
The recent dedication of conservation easements over the “viewshed” area of the proposed realignment of the Pacific Crest Trail has caused me to ponder the memory and legacy of Benton MacKaye – a personal hero. Mr. MacKaye was a pioneer in the fields of regional planning, land conservation and what we now call sustainability. He advocated the patterns of the “indigenous landscape” that reaffirmed traditional settlement patterns over sprawl. He is credited for having conceived of the limited access highway – now standard, then a radical concept. He was a co-founder and long-time President of The Wilderness Society, one of the most effective advocates for wilderness. Most of all, he is considered as the Father of the Appalachian Trail, the eastern predecessor to the Pacific Crest Trail.
While society still has a long way to go in terms of sustainability and the other issues that MacKaye highlighted in the mid-20th Century, we would be a lot further from our goals if not for the vision and hard work of Benton McKaye. He would be thrilled to know that the Pacific Crest Trail was about to get closer to the route first envisioned when the trail was created.” Tom Maloney, Executive Director.