The Great Eastern Trail (GET) is a projected 1800-mile trail from the Alabama-Florida line to New York State. It is a project to link eight existing trails by filling gaps between these trails to create a new entity. About 70% of the trail is on the ground and most of the gaps have been or are in the process of being closed. The new trail is managed by the Great Eastern Trail Association (GETA), which has a board of directors comprised of representatives of the trail clubs involved in the project. GETA was incorporated in Virginia in August of 2007.
Considerable process has been made on closing all but one gap: a 120-mile stretch from the northern end of Pine Mountain Trail at Breaks Interstate Park to the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Various routes have been proposed through Dickenson, Buchanan, Giles, and Tazwell Counties, as well as several counties in West Virginia and Kentucky. With the help of National Park Service staff members Peggy Pings and Ursula Lemanski, Great Eastern Trail Association President Tom Johnson, Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Trails Coordinator Jennifer Wampler, and various other state and local staff and volunteers, a list of contacts for the project been identified.
The Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC) worked with staff, area residents, and local officials to identify land ownership and land use for the study area. Trail connection alternatives were explored, mapped, and refined based on comments received by both local authorities and trail volunteers. Maps were prepared to utilize for discussion, review and feedback at a June 2008 trail summit to further efforts to advance the GET.
Sponsor: Virginia Department of Forestry/Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
Project Location: Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky