Wild South began historic trail mapping in northern Alabama where 200 miles of Cherokee Indian trails were researched, identified, and mapped. Several hundred yards of the original Cherokee wagon road from Gunter’s Landing to Fort Payne were discovered in the woods of Guntersville State Park. With the help of the Alabama Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association, Wild South incorporated the findings into a 300-page report that documented the removal of 1,100 Cherokees from Fort Payne, Alabama, to the Tennessee state line in 1838. Other states’ Trail of Tears groups mapped additional sections of the route between there and Oklahoma. To the Cherokees who were forced west, this trail became known as “The Trail Where They Cried.”
Wild South has since expanded research to trails across the entire Southeast. Wild South is a non-profit educational conservation organization working to preserve and restore the natural and cultural heritage of the Southeast.
Wild South’s cultural heritage research is partly funded by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving eighteen counties in Western North Carolina. The Foundation is a permanent regional resource that facilitates more than $14 million in charitable giving annually. CFWNC inspires philanthropy and mobilizes resources to enrich lives and communities in Western North Carolina.
Wild South’s cultural heritage research is partly funded by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. The CPF is an independent non-profit foundation created to preserve native culture, protect and enhance the natural environment, and create appropriate and diverse economic opportunities in order to improve the quality of life for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and communities in western North Carolina.
Wild South also works closely with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Historic Preservation Office. The EBCI THPO is charged with the responsibility of protecting Cherokee archaeological and cultural resources, ensuring historic preservation of significant Cherokee sites, protecting Cherokee burials from disturbance and excavation, and conserving and promoting the rich Cherokee heritage by encouraging an enhanced understanding of the importance of the Cherokee people to the broad patterns of United States history.
Additionally, Wild South spent several years mapping Cherokee trails with the Mountain Stewards. The Mountain Stewards is a nonprofit organization created to advocate and contribute to the preservation, development, maintenance, enjoyment and appropriate use of trails and open spaces in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, contribute to the preservation and awareness of regional cultural and historical features, and enhance educational opportunities to those who wish to know more about natural resources.