Man Walking Entire Proposed Pipeline Route

By: Bill Schammert

A New York man is walking the entire route of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.  For Ken Ilgunas, it's all about the tar sands in Canada, and he hopes this journey will inspire some to change their minds.

The proposed pipeline would take oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, and transport it down to the Gulf Coast.

“I see what we're doing” Ilgunas said.  “And I'm just really concerned about what it means to expand them and expand the unconventional source of oil.”

To stop the pipeline, Ilgunas will walk the pipeline.  Tuesday, he was making his way through York County.  All he has are a couple walking poles, a tent and a backpack, but he's picked up some friends along the way.

“This is an incredible commitment he is making for the environment and I applaud him for it,” Rick Hammond said.

Hammond is a 60-year-old farmer who's been traveling with Ilgunas for the past three days.  He says, the new proposed route would go directly through one of his farms.

“We're all just very green and we need to get off oil,” Hammond said. “So why not get off sooner?”

Throughout the 1,700 mile journey, Ilgunas has trekked with both those for and against the pipeline.  Ultimately, he hopes his footsteps help continue a very serious conversation.

“You can criticize something from afar pretty easily,” Ilgunas said.  “But sometimes you need to take a direct approach.”

That direct approach has led to some incredible moments of kindness and hospitality.

“To travel in the way I'm traveling, is to fall in love with mankind.  That's what I've learned.”

We reached out to TransCanada, but they did not return our request for a statement on the issue.