About AHTS

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.

Hikes

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.

Education

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.

Annual Conference

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.

 

OUR STORY

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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.

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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.

 

Frequently asked questions

What is the Alabama Trail System?


The Alabama Trail System (ATS) is a proposed series of interconnected trails throughout Alabama. The "backbone" of this system will be a long path, more the Alabama Trail, that will stretch from Fort Morgan on the Gulf to the Natchez Trace in northwest Alabama. Many of our trail maintenance projects such as at Little River State Forest, Geneva State Forest, etc., are the beginnings of this system. For a map and more information, please visit our Alabama Trail System page.




What is the ECT and the GET?


irst hiked in 1997 by John Brinda, the ECT is the name of a 5,500-mile long path from Key West, FL, to Canada. The path is formed by connecting several major long paths along the east coast. These include more the Florida Trail, Alabama's Pinhoti Trail, Georgia's Pinhoti Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the International Appalachian Trail. Currently the major route between the Florida state line and the Pinhoti Trail in Alabama is roadwalk. The goal of AHTS it to get this section of the ECT in Alabama off the road and back into the woods. The Great Eastern Trail or GET is a new and developing long path that will stretch from the Alabama-Florida border to New York State and the Great Lakes. The proposed path more will use as much already existing trail as possible, connecting them with new trails as necessary. The goal of the path is to provide an alternate to the Appalachian Trail. Some of the paths planned for use include the Tuscarora Trail, the Mid State Trail in Pennsylvania, and the Allegheny Trail in West Virginia. For more information visit GreatEasternTrail.net.




Does AHTS Publish Guidebooks and Maps?


At this time AHTS publishes one guidebook, "The Alabama / NW Georgia Guidebook", a data book for long distance hikers on the GET, ECT, and Pinhoti Trails through Georgia, is available online FREE. Visit the TRAILHEAD pages and the link to the Pinhoti or GET pages. You will also find a copy of the Pinhoti Trail Section 9 map here. We are currently working on other materials to aid in hiking the trails of Alabama. Please visit our website often for updates.




What is the AHTS Education and Outreach Program?


AHTS members are available to speak to your organization on a wide variety of topics. Visit out Education and Outreach page for more information. A new program for beginning hikers and backpackers will be introduced during our 2007 Conference.




What Does My AHTS Membership Include?


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How Do I Become a Member?


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Can People Volunteer to Help AHTS?


Yes, yes, and YES! There are plenty of volunteer opportunities such as trail work, trail planning, activity leader, Scouting projects, and MANY more! Please visit our Volunteer page for details and information on how you can help.




How can I Do More to Help AHTS?


AHTS is a non-profit organization and as such, we survive on the generosity of our members as well as non-members, agencies, and businesses that want us to continue are mission. Please visit our Donation page to read about how you can help AHTS.




How Does the Media Contact AHTS?


The media should contact AHTS VP of Publicity for more about AHTS and hiking in Alabama. Email dukdukduece@yahoo.com.




Who Are AHTS Partners?


The AHTS partners with many state and federal agencies, hiking and trail groups, and environmental groups and organizations to accomplish our mission. Some of our partners include: Alabama Forestry Commission, American Hiking Society, American Trails, Forever Wild, Leave No Trace, Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service.





OFFICERS

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Chair: John Cochran

Jerry Weisenfeld

Brian Rushing

Verna Gates

McDowell Crook

Linda Kerr

Nancy Gonce