Published: Nov 10, 2012 11:25 PM EST
Updated: Nov 10, 2012 11:27 PM EST

ATLANTA (AP) - A national group is working toward a long-term vision of providing a way for hikers on the Appalachian Trail to continue south until they reach the Gulf of Mexico.
 
They envision the Chattahoochee River, which runs through metro Atlanta, as a way to allow hikers to reach the Gulf after they finish the Appalachian Trail, either on trails along its banks or in a canoe or kayak.
 
The Chattahoochee's headwaters are in the north Georgia mountains near the southernmost section of the Appalachian Trail, which ends in Georgia.
 
The Georgia-Alabama state director of the Trust for Public Land says the group has already managed to acquire 17,000 acres of land that touch 76 river miles from the Chattahoochee's headwaters to Columbus.