By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Today, October 19th, Brazil has created the Rede Nacional de Trilhas de Longo Curso e Conectividade (National Network of Long-Course and Connection Trails), formed by four main corridors connecting natural landscapes in the country where millions of people can hike.
The expectation is that in twenty years routes will be built along conservation areas and ecosystems, that together will add up to 18,000 kilometers, according to a government news agency.
Just over ten percent of this network is already completed, with the signage made with icons of a yellow footprint on a black base, indicating the direction to be traveled.
Swedish expatriate living in Rio and operator of destination management service Rio Love Story, Tavi Norén, shares, “The state of Rio de Janeiro has the possibility to be a hiking paradise because of all the surrounding mountains that offer spectacular views. In the trails you meet Brazilians from everywhere and foreigners that all noticeably love the trails in Rio.”
Among the trails already in place are the Caminho da Serra do Mar (RJ), the Transcarioca (RJ), the Transespinhaço (MG), the Rota Darwin (RJ-PE) and the Caminho das Araucárias (RS/SC), which together make up the Coastline trail network.
Others are the Caminho de Cora Coralina (GO) and the Caminho da Floresta Nacional de Brasília, which are part of the Caminhos dos Goyases; the Trilha Chico Mendes (AC); and the Transmantiqueira (RJ, MG e SP).
The other circuits are the Litorâneo, in Oiapoque (AP) to Chuí (RS); the Caminhos Coloniais, of Rio de Janeiro and Goiás Velho (GO); the Caminhos dos Goyases, accessing Goiás Velho and the Chapada dos Veadeiros (GO); and the Caminhos do Peabiru, connecting the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu (PR) to the coast of Paraná.
The hiking network will function as an alternative sporting activity in nature, contributing to efforts in forrest and plant preservation with the connection of federal, state and municipal conservation units.
Another expected result with the network is the support for local economies in cities along the routes. This is because residents will be able to explore lodging, camping, guides and food services, as well as trade in hiking equipment.
Security is an issue while hiking, especially in Rio where there have been many reports of trail robbery. Tavi Norén explains, “Unfortunately there are many people, visitors and locals, that choose not to hike in Rio because of the existing threat of being ambushed by robbers.”
Adding, “The way forward to improve the security in the trails is for the police to leverage on technology, with a system that can monitor the trails and surrounding areas and indicate suspicious activity, such as a person carrying a weapon.”
Still millions do hike in Rio and Brazil without incident, and with sensible precaution and calculated risk, enjoy some of the worlds most stunning scenery.