Created by artist and naturalist Ed Dodd, Mark Trail was an environmentalist before it was fashionable to be one. His mission has always been that of preserving the American wilderness, water and wildlife for future generations. The strip was drawn by Jack Elrod from 1978 until his retirement in March 2014. He is succeeded by his assistant, James Allen. Mark Trail appears in 175 newspapers, reaching nearly 23 million readers worldwide.
Elrod was honored in 1988 by President Reagan for his efforts to develop more pride in America. In addition to Sunday pages in which Mark Trail urges everyone to reduce carelessness and abusive activity such as littering, vandalism and theft, and wildlife poaching, Elrod has also produced a variety of materials for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help teach schoolchildren respect for the environment. Mark Trail is now the official spokescharacter for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, making him the voice of the National Weather Service and NOAA Weather Radio.
In the years since his 1946 debut, Mark Trail has spent his time outdoors fishing, exploring the woods and being romanced by beautiful women. Not bad for a self-styled everyman and roving editor for Woods and Wildlife magazine.
Forever 32, this handsome outdoorsman and photojournalist for Woods and Wildlife magazine spends his days hunting, fishing and pursuing simple pleasures. But all too often his woodland paradise is threatened, and that's when Mark Trail springs into action! When not plying his trade, Mark is preserving the nation's dwindling wetlands, fighting the crass commercialism that is creeping into even the most remote forests, protecting wildlife from poachers, and keeping America's greatest natural treasures free from the thugs, gangsters and goons who sometimes invade it. When Mark's not on the trail, he returns to his charming country house on the Lost Forest Game Preserve, where he relaxes with his wife, Cherry, and his beloved dog, Andy. Mark's single most important goal: to preserve the integrity of the American wilderness for future generations.
When Cherry and Mark finally married after years of courtship, she thought her troubles had come to an end. However, this lovely brunette is often right in the middle of some natural catastrophe or inadvertently up to her pretty neck in some criminal caper. Willful and headstrong, Cherry literally grew up in the Lost Forest National Park. Her love of the woods, waters and wildlife it contains is fully as strong as Mark Trail's.
Cherry's father and, like Mark Trail, a longtime resident of Lost Forest. Doc is an active outdoorsman himself, and for years Mark has been like a son to him.
Johnny Malotte, who lives in the north country, is Mark's friend, a fellow outdoorsman and adventurer.
Mark happily took young Rusty under his wing, never imagining that the boy would often be the source of so much trouble! A good kid with a heart of gold, Rusty has a special knack for getting into jams. When Mark and Cherry married, they formally adopted Rusty.
Andy is Mark's dog and favorite hunting companion and now he's Rusty's best friend, too. In true St. Bernard tradition, Andy has rescued Mark from danger on many occasions!
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