Thoughts about the extension of the AT north into Canada, with especial consideration given to the Maine-Quebec Route, as this material has come from Quebec. After receiving it in the mail on a mysterious disk, without any return address or accompanying note, I decided to put it up on the webpage. Soon thereafter, a couple of people volunteered to translate the document. So, thanks to Roland Schaefer ( and Allan Gould (, here is the document in English.

There are some contact names and addresses at the bottom of the document, though it was not said whether the disk was sent by any of these people.

Possible Routes North for the AT

For nearly twelve years, for Quebec's open air fans, the dream of seeing the present AT extended soon torments them more each day occupying their most inner thoughts.

Even if the AT is at present situated entirely within the US, it does not occupy the minds of many Quebec walkers any the less, if only it were by the magnitude of the walking feat that it represents, that is, precisely 2109.5 miles or 3394.9 kms. (sic)

Many of these same Quebec people in their wildest dreams have thought of travelling over the trail in its entirety one day when they can afford a year's sabbatical or after having made their millions with the 6/49. However, very few have achieved such a project; but there are all the same several among the most determined; and even some who laid their amazing experiences of the long-distance walker, of the "modern-day forest hunter", to rest in writing. And even some of the most indomitable have published books to tell their story to numerous amateurs, most of whom could never live this unforgettable experience, this truly mythical, nay, mystical expedition, which changed them for ever, other than through another's eyes.

Project Albert/Katahdin

Many of Quebec's walkers and outdoor enthusiasts as well as several of New England's hikers wished to one day reach the Monts Chic-Chocs range, whether to go to Mt Albert, already well provided with recreational facilities and famous for its prestigious accommodation at the Gite of the same name; or even to attain the summit of Mt Jacques-Cartier in order to see its tundra, unique in the area south of the St Lawrence.

Also, many of the American hikers, and in particular those who have completed the long journey from Springer (GA) having left a few months earlier, would doubtless have wished to continue and walk the entirety of the Appalachians in order to go and admire the Rocher Perce [Pierced Rock] by air-conditioned coach-tour or relax in several places on the Gaspe peninsula, such as the St Elzear-de-Bonaventure caves to do a bit of caving, or even to go to Careton for some sailing; and all this having reached Mt Albert and its very welcoming Gite .... but since the northern terminus or the end of the line is on Katahdin in north-west Maine ...

Which brings us to the main subject of this report: the choice of one of the two possible routes to crystalize the continuation or extension into Quebec of the present AT, until now exclusively American, which has begged and cannot refuse to be opened up northwards for a long time, similar to a new road-crossing for its inhabitants, to breathe life back into the tourist economy of the inland areas of the lower St Lawrence and the Gaspe

Some supporting statistics for the new Quebec-Maine section

As shown in Appendix, the total of Route A measured on the regional map between Katahdin and Albert will be 515 kms (319 miles) of which 185kms (114m) is in Maine (36%) and 330 kms (205 miles) is in Quebec (64%)

As a result, the AT will be extended by 15%. At present, the AT measures 3395 kms (2108 miles) with its additions since Saturday 14 August 1937 which was the date when the Katahdin (ME) was joined to Springer (GA))

Two thirds of this chunk of 515 kms between Katahdin and Albert will be in Quebec,

The Quebec-Maine part of this new section of the AT will represent an extension of 1/7 of the new AT or 15% of the total length from Springer (GA), which constitutes the present southern terminus of the Trail.

The distance of 330kms on Quebec land will thus represent a little less than an eleventh of the length of the new route of the AT (3910 kms)

Consequently, in any possible bipartite agreement in the shape of a joint venture with the State of Maine, two-thirds of the maintenance of the Katahdin-Albert chunk should be undertaken by Quebec to attract its American counterparts in Maine.

Why choose Route A (QC-ME) in favour of Route B (QC-NB-ME)

Route A which goes by Pohenegamook/Estcourt Station will have the advantage, beyond the excellent panorama (high summits of Maine and picturesque watercourses of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway), of not going near the recognized and official Micmacs reserves; as would otherwise be the case if choosing Route B which passes through NB: where the countryside is much less outstanding than for Route A: few panoramic summits or only worthy of a brief note, compared to a possible route on ancient estuary alluvium supporting dense conifer forests ...

With Route A, in Quebec more municipalities will be passed by and benefit from the trail, that is to say that the trail will call in at the Lower St Lawrence area and the Gaspe; whereas only the Gaspe will be involved in the NB route of Route B.

In other respects, by a glance at the map of the area, you can even deduce from it that Route B could lead to an easy "catchment" or "diversion" of the potential clientele of walkers and hikers by the NB tourist industry (no slower than that of Quebec to spot every opportunity available to make money legitimately); such walkers and hikers could then end up so spoilt by the events, by the distractions offered and by the activities available, that they easily forget their bold aim of a walk of heroes, always further north. Thus, in total, having become so softened and idle by this return to an easier life (compared to the deprivation endured until that point and compared to the sparse meals of the harsh walk along the length of the AT), that most of them chose to stop their walk while guests of our neighbours to relax a little and to spend money on leisure activities as well as their souvenirs before going home as soon as their holidays are over. On balance, it would seem that Route B only serves the interests of NB

In summary, only a small part of the expected returns and the custom benefit Quebec under Route B. In fact, one should not wait for or expect anything from the creators whose only claim to "international" in their organisation (not more that 16 individuals according to the press cutting - Appendix C) is in their title

If you look carefully at the layout of Route B, there is only a very small section of about 130 kms which is on Quebec lands, and that doesn't go near or only hypothetically benefits a few small number of localities compared to Route A, whose length is 330 kms, i.e. more that two and a half times Route B. Only a few municipalities and hamlets of the "Baie des Chaleurs" could get any benefit from the choice of Route B as the official extension of the AT, and that, in all probability, after the lion's share which should safeguard the future Trail has passed into hands other than those of Quebec citizens, that it is say that the same pot of gold has been siphoned (legitimately) by the tourist industry of NB.

Therefore, by giving preference to Route A (QC-ME) rather than Route B (QC-NB-ME), more Quebec citizens will benefit. By the former rather than the latter, many more of the people of the Lower St Lawrence and the inner Gaspe or the respective inland areas will benefit from the proximity to the "Quebec AT". Finally, a "project of society" which could never produce the impossible unanimity will at least bring together the greatest number of citizens in the two regions.

For political reasons as well (and for the wrong languages or the intentions of possible misers: "excluding all political manoeuvring"), there would be a net advantage for Quebec to give preference to a bipartite solution rather than a tripartite venture. As a renowned stranger once said: "One is good, two's better, three's a crowd". And this, even if certain "opinions or characters" are likely to find themselves pushed around a little or a few lively discussions arise or points of friction between a few "neighbours" living near the "Republic of Madawaska"

And another point in favour of project A ... a point that adds much weight to Route A and which detracts a similar amount from Route B where it is does not exist. It's the fact that at the time of writing there is already in the extreme north-west of Maine and to the south of the border villages of Pohenegamook and Estcourt Stations which will become the start of the future Quebec route ("southern terminus") and very close to these (at least 60kms as the crow flies), vast tourist, recreational and nature facilities, i.e. an enormous complex of this nature, that we know simply as the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

What's more, still on the Maine side, that feature which divides the hamlets of Dickey and Allagash (50 kms south of Pohenegamook) running along the river of the same name would also parallel Route A, which would facilitate so much more the rapid (or in very reasonable timescales) installation the strategic corridor which should run from Pohenegamook towards Baxter State Park (adjoining the north-west part of the Allagash Waterway) where the northern terminus of the American AT is found, i.e. Katahdin (1606m, 1.4 times the height of Mt Albert)

Finally, Route B (QC-NB-ME) retains the very clear disadvantage of having to follow for a substantial distance the well-stocked Restigouch river where local fisherman as well as nature conservationists must have in the backs of the minds the indelible and cruel memory of numerous incidents of the endless problems of the '70s with the Micmacs of NB illegally over-fishing with lattice nets.

Beyond not having particularly noteworthy summits (except three mountains of less that 1000 metres about 50 kilometres to the east of St Quentin and to the south-east of Campbellton and Bathhurst), there is no way that the north-west of NB can pretend to be the continuation of the Appalachian Mountains, as Quebec can justifiably do with its Notre-Dame and Chic-Chocs mountains which can be seen to be in perfect alignment with the Adirondacks and the Whites. Therefore, one can find the traces of this same alignment beginning in the south of the Cantons of the East in order to subsequently continue in the direction of Thetford Mines, of the Beauce, of St Pamphile, of Pohenegamook, of the Lower St Lawrence and finally of the Gaspe.

Beyond this, in the American part of the hypothetical Route B (QC-NB-ME) which is about 155 kms long which follows a north-easterly line between Baxter and Van Buren/St Leonard, there is so little of interest that the Americans did not consider it worthwhile developing any significant recreational facilities that are found on the north-east coast. All this can only leave even the most ardent NB promoters of Route B very perplexed with many questions unanswered and with serious doubts. Finally, for the part of route B that is in NB, between St Leonard and Pointe-a-la-Croix (Indian Reserve: Micmacs), for a short distance of 115 kms between the Maine border to the south-west and the Quebec border to the north-est, there is only dense conifer forest on flat terrain, with no notable ruggedness. Therefore, no "Lac au Monstre" as at Pohenegamook, no lake at Temiscouata, nor Lac-des-Aigles, nor Lac-Humqui or river Matapedia. There is no more major incline to excite the walkers, or the hikers or the outdoor fanatics. Going as it does over a very old estuary, the path only offers flat land .... Sum total: neither very tempting or alluring as opposed to what can be found on Route A. Nothing very outstanding in terms of nature either, if it's not a huge densely wooded region with a few minor water courses ("hydrographically speaking") where the salmon migrate to the Atlantic.

Mt Albert

Located in the Gaspe conservation area, this mountain is part of the Chics-Chocs. Reaching a height of 1151 metres (3775 feet), there are two heights. The higher of the two, the south summit, and the north summit, separated by a plateau known as "Table a Moise [?]", a picture that you can enjoy from the road crossing the Gaspe peninsula from Sainte-Anne-des-Monts to new Richmond. Several other features of the area, Jacques-Cartier and Richards mountains contribute to a greater or lesser extent the bioclimatic characteristics which make Mt Albert an exceptional area of Quebec. Snow covers it for nine months of the year - at least in part; its alpine tundra is similar in several respects to that of the Grand Nord; at some points in the year, you will find caribou there, these animals being bred south of the St Lawrence in the Chic-Chocs. Mt Albert was named by the geological surveyor Alexander Murray, who reaches the summit on 26 August 1845, the day of the anniversary of the birth of prince Albert, wife of Queen Victoria.

Some elements for determining more precisely the future Track

Before more precisely defining the future path proposed by Tack A that one finds on the localization map, it is necessary to mark the terrain. As commercial geostationary satellites already exist that are able to give ground coordinates at a reasonable price, it is no doubt preferable to start with this technology available today to the public, to accept this new method of performing tasks than to use a costly and complicated conventional method.

To position oneself using a portable tool that is sophisticated but simple enough for a beginner or even and expert to locate oneself quickly on the ground with the use of existing geostationary satellites gives all of the advantages with none of the disadvantages of the old technique. The use of portable telemetric communications with satellites to position oneself brings a precision never before attainable with conventional methods using "large geodesic triangles" which was difficult in heavily wooded regions. This modern method of doing the same tasks thus enables us to pick better future track.

Thus the future track of the Quebecois Appalachian Trail and the proper completion of the trail is made more simple with the use of this technology which today is no longer futuristic but being carried in almost every bag.

In addition, it will also be possible to comment on the day to day progression of one's adventure using a Dictaphone; or also, at every evenings camp, at dusk or after dark, using a little portable "laptop" and the appropriate text processor (reduced model) we'll have the opportunity to write, report our adventures for posterity of simply to narrate for the intention of future readers not able to appreciate the original situation, to note the more notable, significant views of the too short day of hiking in the outdoors, surprised also ourselves sometimes by the importance of the trail won that day.

Finally, a graphics tablet could also be a contribution and an appreciable trump-card to draw and annotate the path by leaps and bounds, to note and report in a condensed fashion all the details significant and essential to know for the potential hiker who very often must rely on his own means and the rare resources of the area where he finds himself; to draw with sketches and plans each new position gained with hard effort against adversity. More often as a game to amuse oneself or moved by simple arrogance to do better and to not take fault with the proper projections of estimates made the night before around the fire; those who will be proved wrong or will be shown as too optimistic that day who will not resemble those of the night before and not more than others that came before them.

Above all, the most practical item and minimal encumberment (without forgetting the camera and/or the video camera) to recall the remarkable feats of his day. All that which is pertinent to hold in a journal (logbook) the most complete and which will be useful later, after his exhaustive evaluation that of other scouts, to coordinators and others responsible. To those that otherwise do a sorting by potential proposed "target" and fix for once the whole track.

On the other hand, a "baseline" made from small scale maps and aerial photographs of sufficient large coverage should be sufficient for a preliminary marking before going to the desired terrain to conduct a survey of the ground to see what is there exactly. That's to say, in order to assure us of the choice and to recognize the eventual difficulties of the hike or also the potential advantages when this be to find future rest spots in front of "remarkable panoramas" or in "unobstructed views" that we should propose to hikers in order to win them, at last to record future which will be attractive to these same hikers for a stop in the dream-spot in order to recuperate and regain strength.

Above all, we should excel everywhere for the best result. The pathfinders who evaluate the possible trajectories should pay of themselves, to expend without counting and to go just to the ends to ensure the best possible selection of sites which will result from their reconnaissance of the terrain. It is important to always do more to chose the best for the Trail without more groping than necessary and also without too much inevitable but necessary trial and error .

The choice of an initial "base line or centre" from photos or maps should therefore allow a better sorting of potential targets on the ground, those that will be exploited to the best of their capabilities by the pathfinders, such that the job is not simply to hike the future Trail, but to rigorously verify the future path, to evaluate it's practicability or its accessibility and also to evaluate it's degree of difficulty and it's ease for the "average hiker".

The Quebecois portion of the extension of the Appalachian Trail or ATC and the necessity that it joins directly the northern extension in Maine.

To be imposed upon by force of by the groups of Project B by an organization unknown in Quebec which pretends to be "international" but are not more than 16 members as per Annex C; it would be like letting ourselves be intimidates or muzzled for very little.... By letting Plan B of new Brunswick be imposed on us with the outdoors "assistants" or the group that call themselves the SIA, Quebec will receive no more than 40km of the 330 km which comes from the original Tack A from Pohenegamook! In addition, none of the towns and villages found in Annex F are content with this. The said Track B has less than 12 % in common with Track A and this weak "participation" or "contribution" is found in the uninhabited zone in the Chic-Choc range before the terminus at Mont. Albert or at Mont. Jacques-Cartier. This inability to join the voices of the inhabitants of the people concerned of Bas Saint-Laurent and of the Gaspesie who are looking to take this into their own hands that this New Brunswick project is condemned by the people concerned. Also, this will be sufficient such that the said Track B is disqualified in the eyes of the Quebecois.

Selecting Track B passing in Quebec, New Brunswick and Maine is only in the interests of New Brunswick which is ready to take all the profits when the stretch between the Quebecois Chic-Chocs and the American ATC is established. And all this without mentioning that the main parties interested are far from being able to sustain their ambitions now or in the near future of a solid recreational/touristic infrastructure west of the Acadian regions of Madawaska which will prop up its project of partnership with the neighbours which are now more secure than them for welcoming hikers. If these neighbours condone this, they will only suffer and be robbed of the opportunities as well as being impoverished for having tried to achieve this end, even if those who would profit the most are poorly positioned despite their desire to achieve such a challenge. The Saguine ("Monkey") alias Viola Leger, one of the better known citizens of New Brunswick, would be able to say :"They had eyes bigger than their stomachs".

In addition, who are the current representatives of Quebec participating in the promotion of Trail B (QC-NB-ME) the said "International Appalachian Trail" or "SIA"? Who are the Quebecois who were at the meeting in the Valley of the Matapedia last June, about which to this day there has not been any mention in any of the daily papers in Quebec City?

The urgency of certain measures to be taken

The above is without a doubt a first draft of what should be undertaken as soon as possible. This represents the noble cause of the "Quebecois Appalachian Trail" which will also be the northern extension of the American ATC. It suffices to say that there is nothing gained by dropping the subject but to take into our own hands this subject as soon as possible.

>From what we know at the moment about Trail Bit is sufficiently instructive and eloquent to have a good idea of the necessity of the cause. It also shows the urgency that must be used to act or react before some foreign competitor with good intentions keep us as pions in this hypothetical tripartite collaboration (QC-NB-ME).

It follows from this document that it is necessary to quickly organize ourselves to not be caught off-guard. It is the hour of action to do something before the grass is cut down from under our feet by others.

This urgency is today at such a point that it is necessary to put into action fairly rapidly some measures or actions that ensure the survival of Project A and to guarantee the future of its viability.

Among the actions necessary immediately as those such as the reservation or acquirement of corridors that are necessary before a trail can be established. A band of terrain, a corridor large enough and sufficient for the future should be accounted for and established. This includes existing roads, forestry roads, rest-stops, camping sites, lean- tos, shelters or refuges, lodging sites or inns both large and small.

After deciding on a final trail based on the recommendations of the path-finders, it will be the time to reserve what is necessary for the "Appalachian Trail". It will never be soon enough to prepare ourselves for this stage. It is without doubt necessary to set the wheels in motion the possible purchase, exchange, protection of the lands necessary for the implementation of the trail.

For more than a dozen years, the dream of seeing the Appalachian trail extended has been in the imagination of nature lovers.

The Appalachian Project should not be the exclusive intellectual property of an individual or group, however powerful or "international" it may be because it is destined to be of service to all Quebecois. Since the idea has be around for more than a decade, ill advised would be those who persist with their egoistic designs. The idea is not new in particular for the rare Quebecois who have already hiked the ATC (Springer to Katahdin) and who have certainly juggles with this in their solitary and meditative march in an admirable nature. But this same idea could more than a hallucinogenic dream, it could also be a beautiful dream and could be soon realized with efficient non-redundant collaboration of thousands of Quebecois hikers all those also, without any sort of positive discrimination, who are interested in the project.

The Quebecois cannot be contented with Track B (QC-NB-ME). Nothing worth their while should be split in quarters. The New Brunswick project would do nothing but drain all the American hikers to them. It would do nothing to the enrichment of the lower Saint-Laurent and Gaspe back country where we know about the economic difficulties and the rarity of investment and the loss of population caused by youths in exile in the big cities to escape the high unemployment rates in their regions.

The chance to take advantage of the northern elongation of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail can thus only reside in a Quebec-Maine partnership (Trail A) and that, without regard to the real sympathies that we can suffer of the Acadians of the Mythical "Republic of Madawaska" who would do nothing different in our position and without regard also for the antipathies to those amongst them who are unjustified by this explanation given above.


The AT, as we commonly call it, occupies the minds of many Quebec hikers. Many of them have thought to see the connection to the "Tables of the Chic-Choc Mountains" (see Annex B) with Mt. Albert (1150m), already well setup with recreative centers, or even Mt. Jacques-Cartier (1268m) with its remarkable tundra flora. Many hikers of the AT have thought about going to see the Pierced [Rock] after having left several months earlier from the southern terminus in Georgia (Springer Mountain 1153m)...or several weeks later from the northern terminus in Maine (Mt. Katahdin 1606m). The problem now remains with which of the two possible tracks, A or B, will become the official northern extension of the ATC in Quebec and can thereafter be given this name.

     Possible contacts in Qu‚bec

     Pauline Filiatrault
     F‚d‚ration qu‚b‚coise de la marche
     C.P. 1000, succ. "M"
     4545, ave. Pierre-de-Coubertin
     Montr‚al, Qc
     H1V 3R2

     phone:  514-252-3157
       fax:  514-251-8038


     Denis Gravel
     F‚d‚ration qu‚b‚coise de la montagne
     C.P. 1000, succ. "M"
     4545, ave. Pierre-de-Coubertin
     Montr‚al, Qc
     H1V 3R2

     phone:  514-252-3004
       fax:  514-254-1363

     ( Youth Camp, Androscoggin Lake, near Lewiston, Maine )

     Patrice Boivin
     Camp T‚kakwitha, inc.
     278, bd. Valcartier
     Lorretteville, Qc
     G2A 2N1

     phone:  418-843-1532
       fax:  418-843-8655