Why does the Wild West Trail Need Your Support?
The Wild West Trail, like all long distance hikes, is a culmination of dreams, ideas, and real-life hiking trails. The WWT follows iconic trails like the Idaho Centennial Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, and Continental divide trail, as well as numerous unnamed hikes.
Besides the emotional reasons behind hiking, there is an extremely tangible side of long-distance trekking, the trails and landscapes themselves. Creating perennial funding mechanisms for hiking trails is difficult terrain to navigate. By incorporating a broad strategy and having many different aspects, all feeding into trail support, we are confident the WWT will thrive.
Hiking Trails Are the People’s Responsibility
When we first had the idea of creating a long-distance hiking trail, we came upon the same problem plaguing all hiking trails, not enough funding.
And this was perplexing.
As the planning of the hike unfolded, so to did the different funding mechanisms. Over time, this website was built not only to spread information but act as a centralized hub for all things support related.
The future of hiking is in our hands and everybody’s who enjoys the outdoors. It doesn’t matter if you’re a day hiker or a thru-hiker, our trail system and public lands belong to all of us and it is our responsibility to take care of them.
We thought about creating an NGO to solicit donations in order to keep the trail alive. After seeing the struggles non-profits have to find sufficient funding, we decided to go in a different direction. We are well aware of the monetary challenges facing all of America’s hiking trails and the idea of the WWT is in part, a reaction to that.
Helping Increase Trail Awareness
The Idaho Centennial Trail is in desperate need of attention and trail maintenance. Insufficient funding has allowed large sections to be overgrown and parts of the trail are non-existent. Its large wilderness areas and low name recognition have created a kind of black hole around this amazing route.
The WWT follows the ICT for its totality and it makes up the heart of the trek. If this website is able to inspire new hikers to take on this hike, then we will consider the WWT a success. Videos and content created will directly market Idaho’s long distance hiking trail. More hikers means better trails and overall, a better experience. Check out the Idaho Centennial Trail for yourself.
With more information coming online, it is the assumption of this organization that more hikers will hike these paths. Ideally, more hikers along less popular hikes will alleviate the overcrowding concerns of trails like the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.
We are committed to increasing trail popularity
Water Caches. For nearly 100 miles, the WWT follows the ICT through the Owyhee desert. The only method of ensuring water for this portion of the hike is to drive into the desert and bury it. The roads require a 4×4 vehicle in order to even reach the water drops. Unfortunately, most hikers do not have the means or the time to bury water themselves and it makes the ICT and WWT extremely prohibitive.
Starting in the Spring, 2018, we are offering a service to provide water caches for the next class of hikers, both WWT and ICT thru-hikers. Contact us to find out more.
Creating multiple revenue streams, all focused on the trail, is an opportunity to create a funding mechanism that directly invests back into the community.
- Monetizing content. Videos on Youtube and https://lbry.io/ provide marketing and a small revenue stream for Wild West Trail.
- Our store. We sell trail maps, and WWT inspired gear for fellow hikers. These tangible items are another excellent method of sustaining the trail. Plus, we hope they offer utility for when you are in the backcountry.
- Affiliate Marketing. Linking to products and gear used on the WWT creates a revenue stream. Anyone who purchases an item after following one of our links will directly lead to a commission of the sale, being earned by the WWT. If you are planning on investing in some new backpacking gear, checkout some of our links and support the trail.
The Wild West Trail and Long Distance Hiking
With an explosion in popularity over the last few years, long-distance hiking is quickly going mainstream. Crowds on the Pacific Crest trail have increased 200% over the past years. The Appalachian Trail has seen a similar phenomenon. The demand, and public support for the sport has never been higher. Hopefully, the addition of the WWT can help alleviate some of the crowding.
Yes, we want the Wild West Trail to be well known and become self-sufficient but our ultimate goal is to bring long-distance backpacking into prominence. Our website and future plans are all oriented on celebrating the wilderness and the athlete who dares challenge the unknown. We are grateful for the support that we receive and we want to continue helping our community.
Thank you for visiting the website. Take a look at the maps and videos and see if they inspire you to take on the WWT.
Hiking is a way of life, the outdoors are a precious resource that we all have the privilege of enjoying. Wild, ever-changing freedom still lies at the heart of every great hike.
Happy trails and hope to see you out there!