What does the American East look like to a panther that seeks to paw its way from southern Florida up into Canada? How do wide-ranging quadrupeds like black bears find safe crossings where interstates and highways lace their habitat? What does the southeastern U.S. look like to a red wolf wishing to reclaim its former haunts?
In Big, Wild, and Connected adventurer and author John Davis sets out to answer these questions, and to see if there is still a chance to create a continuous wildlife corridor spanning the North American East. This e-book, a part of of the Island Press e-essentials series, transports readers along a human-powered 7,500 mile journey over ten months in 2011 of hiking, cycling and paddling from the southernmost tip of Florida to Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec in maritime Canada. Called TrekEast, Davis and his partner organization, The Wildlands Network, did a fabulous job promoting the adventure with social media; and you can still visit this online map to explore Davis’s journey and click on starred “trail stories” which link to blog posts that (as the name suggests) record anecdotes along the route.
Davis, a former board member of The Wildlands Network, wanted to draw awareness to the need for an Eastern Wildway — an eastern parallel to the more widely known Western Wildway, which seeks to connect a corridor for wildlife from Mexico to Canada along the spine of the Rockies. An eastern continent-scaled wildlife corridor was first proposed by Dave Foreman in Rewilding North America (2004), and Davis wanted to find out if Foreman’s vision for such an ambitious wildway was still feasible — or if it was too late. Big, Wild and Connected is the three-part story of Davis’s awareness-raising campaign for this unrealized corridor vision. (Each of the three parts is sold as a separate e-book.) Continue reading