"If these people were on the skyline, and kept their eyes open, they would see the things that the giant could see."
- Benton MacKaye, 1921
 

Trail Building seems easier than Community Building

 

James Neill, 2003

Interestingly, MacKaye himself observed that "It will be comparatively simple to push on the trail proper portion of our program.  The main problem will be how to handle the community feature."  Recreationists involved in the AT seem to have had less ambitious social agendas and this can be seen reflected in most of the written literature and material available in the web when one searched for information on the "Appalachian Trail".

Perhaps then, it becomes, an extra responsibility of movements which have extended from the Scouts and camping, which MacKaye's refers to constantly in his 1921 essay, to engage in, discover and development the social potential of long-trail projects such as the AT.  For outdoor and adventure education programs, long-trails offer a readily accessible, convenient, safe means of engaging many people in the benefits of simple, nature-based living.  To do so effectively, however, demands that the trails are understood as more than a footpath connecting lovely views with a few convenient campsites along the way.