Modern development has erased and paved over much of the ancient Native American trail systems of the Southeast.

Fortunately, three nonprofit groups in the Southeast have partnered to map these ancient trails.

Wild South, The Southeastern Anthropological Institute (SAI), and The Mountain Stewards, are working together to produce a map of the roads and trails system of the Cherokee Nation prior to 1838.

The Southeast Indian Trail project will produce a snapshot of the complex transportation network that evolved over thousands of years into a mosaic of foot-trails, horse paths and wagon roads. The effort will bring together decades of work from independent researchers, historical maps, early travelers (such as William Bartram), and the first federal surveys, which also provide the last look at the Native American domain.

Once completed, this map will benefit the Eastern Band Cherokee Indians by identifying and making known the many modern roads in and around the Smoky Mountains and North Carolina as having Native American origin.

The work has already begun. Wild South and SAI recently teamed up with the Alabama Chapter of the Trail of Tears to submit over 200 miles of unrecognized trails and roads to the National Park Service for inclusion into the National Historic Trails System.

More info: www.wildsouth.org