The Appalachian Trail: Its History and Unique Ties to Maine

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Date(s) - 08/15/2018
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Cover photo of Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery and the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail by Jeffrey H RyanFew know the story of how the Appalachian Trail was envisioned and built. The most famous footpath in the world could easily have been an unfulfilled vision lost to the ages in an architectural journal if not for a number of fortunate events.

The idea proposed by Benton MacKaye in 1921 had lost steam by 1928. It took the irrepressible drive of a young man from Maine named Myron Avery to see the project to completion. The story is a fascinating study of personalities set against the financial challenges posed by The Great Depression, the unprecedented rise of automobile ownership and the need to build a network of trail advocates through 14 states and beyond. Yet the completion of the trail also caused an irreparable rift between MacKaye (the dreamer) and Avery (the doer).

In 2017, Ryan wrote his book about the history of the trail (Blazing Ahead, Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery and the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail, published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books).

If you are interested in how great visions are achieved, you are in for an entertaining, thought-provoking experience.

Jeff will have copies of Blazing Ahead (as well as his first book, Appalachian Odyssey) on hand and available for sale and signing.

Sponsored by the Kennebec Historical Society, the event will be held at the Maine State Library.

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