Page 1   About / Contents
Page 2   Leadership / Origins
Page 3   Get involved / Places
Page 4   Reasons/ Urgency
Page 5   Group members
Page 6   IUCN Resolution

Page 7   Long-distance Trails

From top: Pacific Crest Trail, California, US; Rota Vicentina, Portugal; Great Ocean Walk, Victoria, Australia

IUCN Advisory Group on Long-distance Trails

The IUCN WCPA Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group has set up an Advisory Group on Long-distance Trails to explore what the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), working with other parts of IUCN, can do to promote long-distance trails as conservation tools. This effort was initiated by Pedro da Cunha e Menezes, a longtime Deputy Chair of the Specialist Group. Pedro is a career Brazilian diplomat who has been interested in long-distance trails for many years, both in secondments to the Ministry of Environment in Brazil, and as he has moved from one diplomatic post to another (he is currently at the Brazilian Embassy in Quito, Ecuador).
The subject relates to the brief of the Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group in that it relates to urban people, human settlements, and peri-urban conservation. It relates to WCPA because long-distance trails typically run through several protected and conserved areas. The role of the Specialist Group will probably be spawning a WCPA task force (and eventual specialist group). This exploratory effort will be coordinated with other WCPA specialist groups, as well as other IUCN Commissions and the Secretariat.  

Steering committee:

Pedro da Cunha e Menezes, Brazil (Chair), Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (resident in Quito, Ecuador)

Fook Yee Wong, Hong Kong, China, former head of Hong Kong Country Parks

Marta Cabral, Portugal, President, Rota Vicentina Association

Paddy Gordon, South Africa, General Manager, Garden Route National Park

Laura Belleville, US, Vice President, Conservation and Trail Programs, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Galeo Saintz, South Africa, Chair, World Trails Network


1. Promote a holistic vision of long-distance trails, not only as recreational infrastructure but also as conservation tools, especially in shaping new conservationists, young and old; and as connectors to places representing cultural, spiritual, aesthetic, and moral values. 

2. Examine connections between such trails and animals and plants, e.g., in terms of wildlife corridors, human-wildlife conflict, invasive species, and zoonotic disease.

3. Examining whether such trails can generate enough business to be justified from a tourism investment perspective.

4. Produce a volume in the WCPA Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series.

Contact: Pedro da Cunha e Menezes:


Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group            

World Commission on Protected Areas

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)

PAGE 7 of this section