Nature Canada

The A2A challenge: my upcoming walk of the Algonquin to Adirondacks (A2A) Trail – A Pilgrimage for Nature 

I’m ready for slow travel—moving at the pace of a flowing river or drifting tumbleweed and experiencing the land up close.

That’s why, starting on August 12th of this year, I’ll  be walking the Algonquin to Adirondacks (A2A) Ecological Corridor on the A2A “Pilgrimage for Nature” Trail.

The Trail runs for roughly 640 kilometres from upper New York State to Ontario’s Algonquin Park. I’ll be joined by my friend Bill Barkley, another aficionado of slow travel, and we’ll be walking to raise funds and awareness for the work of Nature Canada and our partner, the A2A Collaborative, whose mission is to connect lands and people across the A2A region.

Connecting landscapes is vital to halting and reversing nature loss. In many parts of North America, roaming animals face deadly obstacles: cities, roads, railways, dams and agricultural development. 

Ecological corridors such as A2A allow animals relatively safe passage. This helps wildlife populations  mix, strengthening genetic diversity. Corridors also allow species to expand their ranges, a need that will only intensify with climate change.

And corridors allow humans to expand their horizons! So far, nobody has walked the A2A “Pilgrimage for Nature” Trail from end to end, and we’re a bit daunted… but mainly excited. It’s the kind of walk that combines the call of the wild with the call of the open road—along with the call to get in halfway decent shape before setting out!  

A Moose Shall Lead the Way

The “animal inspiration” for the A2A Corridor was Alice the Moose who, decades ago, was radio-collared and tracked as she journeyed north from Adirondack Park into Canada. She swam the St. Lawrence River and walked across one of Canada’s busiest highways, the 401. Her final destination was Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park, where she lived out the rest of her days.

Alice’s journey came to symbolize the need for wildlife to move—and so began the work to establish the A2A Collaborative to protect and restore this essential corridor.

The A2A Route, with the route of Alice the Moose shown as a dotted line. (Image courtesy of A2A Collaborative) 

Magical Landscapes

The A2A region is home to some of the last large-scale, intact forest and wetland linkages left in eastern North America and also shelters an impressive number of rare species. Protecting it and enhancing its features is the mission of the A2A Collaborative, a U.S., Canadian, and First Nations partner organization. 

This work of the A2A Collaborative includes everything from providing tools and resources for private landowners, to assessing the ecological health of various sections of the corridor (such as the Gananoque watershed), to determining where wildlife passageways should be built across Highway 401.  

One of the Collaborative’s biggest projects has been to create a  640-kilometre route  for human travellers, inspired by Alice the Moose. This is the A2A “Pilgrimage for Nature” Trail, which Bill and I will be walking. We will be starting in the Adirondack High Peaks region and going north, crossing the American–Canadian border at the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River and then continuing on to Algonquin Park. On the way, we’ll be putting up signage, documenting our discoveries and adventures, and generally doing all we can to add to the store of knowledge about the Trail.

The Thousand Islands lie within the A2A Corridor. For millennia they have been used by wildlife as stepping stones to cross the St. Lawrence River. (Photo by Richard Lautens, used courtesy of the A2A Collaborative.)

One of Nature Canada’s most important goals is to build a community with nature groups like A2A—and to get behind their ambitious conservation work such as the A2A Corridor. Stay tuned for updates on this A2A Challenge Walk, and if you’d like to support the walk, please click on the link below. Your contributions will be split between the two registered charities (A2A and Nature Canada) and will help support our joint efforts to protect nature, link landscapes and expand horizons!

Support the A2A Challenge Walk

Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.