From Leon to Gijon through the Picos de Europa mountains. The International Appalachian Trail is under way in Spain.

This trail joins continents together, and it wants to keep moving forward. By supporting its introduction into Spain, you can make it possible. Help us lay down the first 3.5 million steps.

IATS pain is a non-profit association set up to promote in Spain the introduction of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT).

Mirlo is a new Company that offers its clients the possibility of living their lives while leaving a positive footprint on the planet. We create environmental projects that generate positive footprint and we fund them with the help of our community of mirlos. We are a business model to change the world, an economic model that creates positive environmental footprint by definition.

We have come to understand that we have the opportunity to collaborate. IAT Spain needs Support if it is to make progress towards its goal, and Mirlo sees in the introduction of IAT as opportunity to grow and to extend its positive footprint projects, by linking them to the trail and its community of “hikers”. By pulling together, we can multiply our footprint and make the world a better place.

An example of one of Mirlo’s positive environmental footprint projects? Have a look here.

IAT Spain has been studying the route for some time now, and now it’s time for the action to begin.

With this project, we intend studying the layout of the first section that connects the cities of Leon and Gijon. We are going to walk along this route, and we are going to check out how viable the trail that IAT Spain has been studying up to now really is.

Three people will spend a month walking the trail, checking out its viability from the logistical point of view (accommodation options, places of interest, sign posting) and will make an initial identification of positive footprint projects that can be carried out in the area.

Ruth Hernández Paredes, a passionate geologist absolutely enamoured of the International Appalachian Trail, and a professional whose reputation goes before her, leads IAT Spain.

The Mirlo team is made up by professionals who specialise in the environment and who have considerable experience in field work and in carrying out successful environmental projects.

This is the team that is going to carry out the project:

Olga Herranz,
Project leader, a certified forester with ample experience in project management and hiking. She loves nature. She will ensure that the explorers make the most of their work, and she will identify the accommodation options and the positive environmental footprint projects that can be carried out along the trail.

Ruth Hernández,
President of IAT Spain. Following the guidelines of Nemesio Heredia (a geologist at the Spanish Geological and Mining Institute), she has defined the initial layout and she will be responsible for the relationship with IAT throughout the campaign, and also for validating the results of the work carried out.

Sonia Ibáñez,
her passion for rambling in the hills has no limits. Having trekked 3,500km from Maine to Georgia (USA) over 5 months in 2013, Sonia became the first Spanish female to have walked the entirety of the Appalachian trail.

Verónica Álvarez,
with a degree in Geology from the University of Oviedo, Verónica went on to earn a Master's and to specialize in GIS applications for environmental sciences. She is frequently involved in supporting overseas programs in Central America with the development NGO World Geologists.

The rest of the Mirlo team will be working on the design and development of this crowdfunding campaign: Jamie, Jesús, Káhina, Lucía and Yeray.

A number of regions of Spain are being considered for the introduction of the IAT into Spain.The aim of this crowdfunding project is to study the viability of the stretch of the trailthat runs from León to Gijon.


The stretch of the trail that we are going to study constitutes an exceptional example of the natural, geological and cultural richness of Europe. Its primary characteristics are due to the fact that it crosses part of the Picos de Europa Mountains, a region of Spain of outstanding value that has been declared a National Park and a Biosphere Reserve, among other protective categories.

Its route crosses zones that are populated by highly singular animal species such as the European brown bear, the Cantabrian Capercaillie, the chamois or the mountain goat. Among its other marvels, are the forests de beech and sessile oak, the geological formations of the Beyos Mountain Pass and the Cares Gorge, or its ancient farming culture that produces cheeses of international fame and repute.

A part of this stretch of the Spanish IATfollows the Road to Santiago along the coast, in such a way that its historical and cultural value is enhanced by this Jacobean route that pilgrims have walked along for centuries.

By introducing the Spanish IATinto this setting, we hope to contribute to its awareness and its preservation, and to collaborate with Mirlo Positive Nature in the future, by developing a positive environmental footprint and a sustainable economy for local communities.

First of all, our desk-team will revise the proposed layout in order to properly plan the route and the stages. Then it is the turn of our field team, made up by four people. Two of them will undertake a stretch of the route every day, marking out the layout and its unique elements (sign posting, fountains, crosses) with the help of a GPS. A third member will be responsible for checking out the logistical aspects such as accommodation, identifying possible Mirlo positive footprint projects and providing back-up for the people walking the trail on foot; and the fourth person will be busy telling everybody about the progress made on a daily basis, in the social networks.

We estimate that it will take us six weeks to walk the trail, and to draw up the detailed report (between August and the beginning of September 2014).

This is the breakdown of our estimated costs:

  • Team fees (projectleader plus two explorers): 4750 euros
  • Expenses (accommodation, travel, GPS, telephone, subsistence): 5125 euros
  • Returns from the crowdfunding and management of these returns by IAT: 3950 euros
  • Communication and management of the project and the crowdfunding campaign by Mirlo: 4685 euros
  • Credit card commission: 990 euros

What will we do if we raise the money?
We will get straight down to work. If we exceed our goals, the extra money will be dedicated to Mirlo’s positive footprint projects. Until these projects are carried out, the money will be generating positive footprintin a savings account in the Triodos Bank, a bank that only financesreal economy and sustainable development projects. In this way, we will ensure that your money only goes to generating positive footprint, even while it waits in the bank for the moment when it can be put to use.

If we only make it halfway, we have two options:
  • If we raise a minimum amount (approximately half of our objective, 9000 euros): we will study the proportionalpart of the layout that we can visit with this amount.
  • If we do not raise this minimum amount, we will return everybody’s contributions.


Our first joint crowdfunding campaign has come to an end and all of us at the International Appalachian Trail Association and Mirlo Positive Nature want to thank you all for your support and trust.

Despite not managing to raise the expected amount of money, we’re very pleased with the teamwork done over these last 40 days, all the support we’ve received and everything we’ve learnt from this adventure.

Several social networks and media have mentioned this initiative, the International Appalachian Trail in Spain. For example, we gave a live interview on the Hoy por hoy radio show broadcast by the Ser León channel; several blogs in Asturias and León have published news about it; and some of our Facebook and Twitter followers have shared our campaign and encouraged us to keep up the good work. Not to mention the upturn in our number of social media followers and the fact that several companies have taken a keen interest in this unique, world-pioneering project. That’s why we hope we can start checking the traceability of the first section, which runs from León to Gijón, quite soon.

Thanks for your trust and support.
Mirlo and SIA-Spain