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.