A proposed extension of the Appalachian Trail aims to serve as a history lesson, a boon to business and a more ambitious endeavor for anyone who seeks to hike the trail in its entirety. The nonprofit organization Trust for Public Land has been working for years to acquire land along the Chattahoochee River in the southeastern United States, where the Appalachian Trail (AT) ends at its southernmost point. The organization intends to make this land available to the National Park Service and other partners for an extension of the AT that would lead all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
Currently, the approximately 2,184-mile AT begins in the middle of Maine and ends in northern Georgia. It crosses the Chattahoochee River’s uppermost headwaters. Curt Soper, the Georgia-Alabama state director of the Trust for Public Land, told ABC News that the non-profit envisions Appalachian hikers being able to continue on a trail down along the river to the Gulf of Mexico at the shores of Florida.
Hikers would be able to walk on trails along the banks of the river, which becomes the Apalachicola River once it crosses the Georgia-Florida state line, or they could canoe or kayak down the river to the gulf. The Chattahoochee River flows south from northeastern Georgia then becomes the state border between Alabama and Georgia at Columbus, Georgia.