Path through forest

Although a century has passed since the publication of Benton MacKaye’s landmark essay, “An Appalachian Trail: A Project of Regional Planning,” the original vision continues to guide and inspire conservationists around the globe. In his essay titled “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” co-founder and director of the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN) James N. Levitt expands upon MacKaye’s life leading up to the Appalachian Trail idea and traces the influence of his training at Harvard College and the Harvard Forestry School in addition to advocates and thought-leaders like John Wesley Powell, John Muir, and Gifford Pinchot. 

As we face the ongoing climate crisis and massive loss of biodiversity, Levitt suggests we also have an opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants to carry out MacKaye’s vision and to face the challenges of today. Read more in the Fall 2021 issue of Journeys, the official magazine of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.