Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
The mission of the Alabama Hiking Trail Society and its members is to plan, build, and maintain safe hiking trails for all to enjoy throughout the state and educate the public of the careful use and enjoyment of Alabama's great outdoors.
WHAT WE DO
Trail Work & Planning
AHTS members take on the task of maintaining current trails in our charge including clearing blowdowns, brush, re-blazing, and more, so that the public can safely use the trail. In addition, we create new trail under the guidance of our partnering government and environmental agencies to continue building the Alabama Trail, Eastern Continental Trail, and Great Eastern Trail. The ATS, ECT, and GET will be major long paths through Alabama and as such requires planning by dedicated individuals to identiry property owners, plan routes, and obtain required permissions.
What kind of hiking group would we be without hikes? Members throughout the state organize day hikes and backpacking trails throughout the year. There is always a hike in the works that will interest every hiker no matter what the age or hiking experience.
The AHTS is committed to educating the public about the benefits of hiking, especially the health benefits, and about the beauty of Alabama and how to protect its fragile environment. AHTS can provide speakers for your club or civic organization on a variety of topics from hiking and backpacking gear and tips to destinations to Leave No Trace practices and more.
Each year, AHTS holds a three-day conference, the largest in the state, that brings together hikers, backpackers, and outdoor lovers to hear presentations on a variety of topics including hiking and backpacking, the environment, history, flora and fauna, and more.
AHTS was established on September 17th, 2001 as 501 c (3) non-profit corporation. We actually began this journey with a meeting in Dothan, AL, on July 20, 2001, at the Army National Guard Armory. Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Tim Spivey, M. J. 'Eb' Eberhard, and Rick Guhse' watched this incredible meeting unfold. The following day another group met in Andalusia at the library. Later that morning we elected our first state officers with Sgt. Tim Spivey as President. Chapters formed in Dothan and Andalusia but have ceased functioning as chapters. Instead, we have a statewide membership who participate in activities all over the state throughout the year.
We began a state hiking organization with a dream and a clear vision of what a hiking trail system could be in Alabama. While there had been and still are regional organizations promoting hiking and in some cases multi-use trails, the Alabama Hiking Trail Society promotes a wilderness footpath from the Florida National Scenic Trail on the AL-FL state line in the Conecuh National Forest to connect to the Pinhoti Trail which is being extended south from Porters Gap to Overbrook, AL. Equally important the Society promotes a connected hiking trail system throughout the state.
This is what sets us apart. Our goal is statewide. We don't want to leave any county out. We propose to achieve our goals by building trails locally where we live always with the idea in mind that at sometime in the future our local trails will one day connect to a statewide trail system. This is important because through achieving these goals we promote the concept of a Greenway wilderness corridor system where not only people are free to roam long distances but larger species of wildlife will have freedom to roam throughout the state. In promoting Greenway wilderness corridors we protect and preserve wilderness for future generations. With the demand for development increasing with America's ever increasing population we must act now to have wilderness for Alabama's future generations.
Our Members are the pioneers who have grasped this vision and know what it means. Future generations will thank you even though they never met you because you invested your time, your sweat and your money in their future. And we all had a good time doing it. From our humble beginnings with a state office in Andalusia we now have a centrally located office in Montgomery with three Members doing volunteer work at the office. Our Membership is now led by President Nathan Wright and our Members are working harder than ever to plan, develop and maintain more hiking trails around the state. It's a great time to be a hiker in Alabama.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chair: John Cochran