A.T. Vista Newsletter - April 2021
Celebrating 100 Years
Welcome to the A.T. Vista Newsletter!
This monthly newsletter shares the updates along the way as we prepare for an inaugural program honoring the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Benton MacKaye's 1921 article,
“An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning.”
The Inaugural A.T. Vista begins in 2021 as a virtual program with hikes being organized throughout the states along the Appalachian Trail
More hikes to come!
Details for the hiking program and workshop signups will become available in the July A.T. Vista Newsletter
As we complete the plans we will share them with you
A New Approach to the Problem of Living
In Clarence Stein's introduction of the Benton MacKaye article, he claims the big cities of America have been planned as working places – a place of labor. Homes are congested around factories and parks are afterthoughts. The expansion of the cities is devouring the farms and forests as though man had been created for industry and not industry to serve man’s needs. The relief from the noise and strain of the industrial community is the quiet of nature. He commended MacKaye’s thinking as a new theme in regional planning not as a plan for efficient labor but as a plan for escape.
In the first part of Benton MacKaye’s article, he described the problem of living as an economic one. During the times of his writing in 1921, the world was in upheaval recovering for a major war, and living had become complicated. MacKaye felt something had been lost from the public mind. At the same time, he imagined the development of a special type of intentional community that he described as the recreation camp. Its goal was to provide an escape from the hectic and lonely nature of the industrial lifestyle. He claims the real problem of labor is how to reduce the day’s drudgery. That era saw the rise of labor-saving devices, and he anticipated the toil and chores of life should diminish, therefore providing more time for leisure and other higher pursuits.
However, the customary approach to the problems of living at that time related to work-related issues (such as the length of the workday, and oppressive working conditions) rather than play. He concluded that, if we increase the efficiency of our working time, then we should be able to widen the opportunities for more leisure. He further noted that urban dwellers neglected to improve their leisure activities. MacKaye asked whether the leisure that we do succeed in getting, could it be improved toward higher efficiency?
Finally, he noted that the ability to cope with nature directly is a need of the civilized times. He suggests more access to fresh air and personal comfort. This new approach reversed the mental process answering how to increase the efficiency of our spare time.
In our next newsletter, we will further explore MacKaye’s focus on
An Undeveloped Power – Our Spare Time
We are still seeking:
Clubs and organizations to organize a local hike along the Appalachian Trail or nearby Trail on August 7 or 8, 2021,
Got a Appalachian Trail or related workshop? Provide your recorded virtual workshop for online viewing,
Volunteers to assist in 2022 Planning and Implementation activities
Donations - $10 or more to support the A.T. Vista program