Are you ready for National Trails Day®? Did you know the United States celebrates such an event? Well, we do! Since 1993, the first Saturday of every June is known as National Trails Day, inspiring the public and trail enthusiasts nationwide to seek out, discover, learn about, and celebrate America's trail system. And this Saturday, June 6th, marks the 17th annual National Trails Day!
Events are scheduled and include hikes, new trail dedications, workshops, educational exhibits, equestrian and mountain bike rides, rollerblading, and trail maintenance on our nation’s favorite trails. National Trails Day is organized by the American Hiking Society, a national nonprofit trail advocacy group based in Washington, DC.
How Did It Start?
National Trails Day evolved from the 1987 report of President Ronald Reagan's President's Commission on Americans Outdoors. The report recommended that Americans should be able to walk out their front doors and within 15 minutes, be on trails that take them through their cities or towns and bring them back without retracing any steps. The recommendation, also known as Trails for All Americans, inevitably motivated several public and private parties to join the American Hiking Society in launching National Trails Day in 1993.
Why Celebrate National Trails Day?
Firstly, trails are a great way to get people outdoors and increase activity. They allow for exploration, and recreation. Users can wander in solitude and find peace and tranquility or meet up with friends for a social activity. And with over 200,000 miles of trails, the U.S. is a prime spot for discovery.
Trails are also a great way to increase one’s health. Whether you walk, jog, or bike, moving around will get the heart pumping, muscles flexing, and lungs expanding. With obesity rates on the rise, trails not only bring about an inexpensive way to exercise, they also do so in a serene and calming environment.
While trails are here for our enjoyment, it is sometimes easy to forget just how many hours of planning, labor, and negotiating it takes to develop them. National Trails Day is the only nationwide celebration of trails, bringing recognition and thanks to the many works, volunteers, and partners for their support and hard work.
Finally, National Trails Day is an ideal way to introduce people to the many joys and benefits of trails. Those who don’t typically get out on trails may just be inclined to on this day. Attention is brought to trails others didn’t even know existed. It is a day for the seasoned pros and the beginners.
How to Get Involved
Check out my list of the Top Ten Trails in the U.S. and take a hike! You can also search online for a National Trails Day event happening in your area. Not matter your age, interests, or physical abilities, get out there to celebrate and promote America’s trails!