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Blazing Ahead

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Blazing Ahead

Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery, and the Rivalry That Built the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is one of America’s most revered resources, a path of near-mythic proportions combining rugged natural beauty and human determination. But few know the story of its journey to creation.

Author(s)

Jeffrey H. Ryan

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The Appalachian Trail is one of America’s most revered resources, a path of near-mythic proportions combining rugged natural beauty and human determination. But few know the story of its journey to creation. The idea could have died in the pages of a journal had it not been for the efforts of many people—including two, in particular: Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery. While the men shared a common goal, their vastly different personalities meant it was only a matter of time before these sometimes-allies, sometimes-adversaries reached a dramatic falling out. Blazing Ahead tells the remarkable story of a dreamer and a doer, weaving together history and biography to detail the internal and external forces the trail builders faced: raw ambition, unbridled egos, a driving love of nature, the 1929 stock market crash, looming World War II, and the prevailing opinions of the day on wilderness and recreation. Drawing upon never-before-published archives, as well as the men’s own correspondence and vivid storytelling, Blazing Ahead uncovers the true but largely unknown story of a shared vision, the rivalry it bred, and the legacy of the men behind one of our nation’s greatest treasures.

Additional Information

Author Jeffrey H. Ryan
Endorsements “Without the vision of Benton MacKaye and the often abrasive tenacity of Myron Avery, the trail as we know it today would not exist. This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand how such a complex project begins—and survives.”—Mills Kelly, Department of History, George Mason University
Activity Conservation/Natural History, Hiking
Publisher Appalachian Mountain Club Books
Edition 1st edition, September 2017
Format Paperback
Dimensions 6x9
ISBN-13 9781628420630

Endorsements

“Without the vision of Benton MacKaye and the often abrasive tenacity of Myron Avery, the trail as we know it today would not exist. This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand how such a complex project begins—and survives.”—Mills Kelly, Department of History, George Mason University

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