Lessons from the ever-changing Appalachian Trail

North Carolina is one of 14 states with mileage along the famous Appalachian trail. I stumbled upon a recent article in the Washington Post this week which noted that the trail has changed dramatically since its inception.

In fact, less than 50% of the trail remains where it was originally established. This was stunning to me.

While the southern terminus is actually more than 30 miles further north than it used to be, the overall length has grown by more than 100 miles from when it was originally established — although more than 300 miles in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and well more than 100 miles in Maine, has been discarded.

In addition, hiking the trail is also getting harder in several places, as it moves from road to wilderness.

My senses is that all of this may be a great analogy about other major transportation projects or corridors — they are never finished. Growth continues, needs and preferences change, and the infrastructure needed must change along with it.

The ever-changing nature of our market requires ongoing vigilance and a continued sense of purpose and service.

I hope you are enjoying your summer, and I hope you have an opportunity to walk along any of North Carolina’s more than 300 miles of the Appalachian trail (including more than 200 miles along the Tennessee border) soon.

Let’s get moving,

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director


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