Hiking with a purpose

Sara Fry is on a mission to map — accurately, and practically single-handedly — the trails of California’s iconic High Sierra. “This needs to be done,” Fry said. “This is totally my passion.”

Fry, who has logged over 10,000 miles on trails since 2012, launched the nonprofit Sierra Mapping Project in May, 2015 after realizing that there is a huge need for accurate trail information.

“There are a lot of these trails that haven’t even been hiked by the Forest Service in 15 or 20 years, so they don’t have any intel on them,” she explained. “And they’re certainly not being kept up and maintained.”

Fry became frustrated after asking the U.S. Forest Service about trail conditions, mileages and water sources and found that the information was incorrect and outdated.

“Nobody has any information, through no fault of the Forest Service; it’s just that they don’t have the funding currently — and they haven’t had it for awhile,” Fry said. “Case in point: they said the San Joaquin River Trail is 70 miles. It’s, like, 120 (miles). That’s a huge discrepancy.”

The inaccurate information is more than an inconvenience, Fry said — it can be downright dangerous.

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