The long hike: Trailblazer adds impetus to creation of sea-to-sea route

Imagine a 7,700-mile hiking trail from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Ron Strickland does.

The 68-year-old Bedford, Mass., hiker who founded the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail has been working on the transcontinental route since 1996. There are only 940 miles to go.

“The Pacific Northwest Trail took me decades to work out,” Strickland said of the rugged, 1,200-mile hiking trail he dreamed up in 1970.

Long distance hiking has grown in popularity, according to Strickland who envisions the Sea-to-Sea Route becoming the “backbone” of America’s National Trail System by connecting with other long-distance national trails.

The Sea-to-Sea Route still has a long way to go on the ground and politically. There is a 900-mile gap between the west end of the North Country Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. There also is a 40-mile gap on the east side between the NCT and Appalachian Trail.

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