America has 200,000 miles of trails that, as the American Hiking Society puts it, “allow us access to the natural world for recreation, education, exploration, solitude, inspiration, and much more. Trails take us to good physical and mental health by providing us with a chance to breathe fresh air, get our hearts pumping, and escape from our stresses.” We couldn’t have said it better.
Of course, these expansive trails come at the cost of a lot of hard work on the parts of the people who help organize for, plan around and essentially build the trails we use on a regular basis. As such, it’s only appropriate that we take time out of our busy lives to appreciate not only the trails themselves but also the work that goes into their very existence. National Trails Day — held every year on the first Saturday of June — is one such time when everyone can come together to celebrate trails through a wide range of events including “hiking, dog walking, bike riding, trail maintenance, birding, wildlife photography, geocaching, paddle trips, trail running, trail dedications, health-focused programs, and children’s activities,” among others. Pioneered by the American Hiking Society and its outstanding volunteers, National Trails Day boasts events in all 50 states —and you can easily find an event in your area here.
National Trails Day began in 1993 and every single year in the aftermath of the celebration, a report is created that highlight’s that year’s events and accomplishments. From last year’s report:
- 38,300 volunteers contributed 188,833 hours of volunteer labor, worth more than $4 million at 799 trail work projects
- 3,412 miles of trail were maintained or constructed by volunteer groups
- Participants hiked or walked 5,026 miles, paddled 386 miles, rode horseback for 885 miles and biked nearly 2,600 miles
We hope you get the chance to get out and explore the trails in your area this Saturday — and that you can become a part of this year’s National Trails Day festivities!
Here at Osprey, we’re committed to protecting the world around us. Each Thursday, we share stories, action alerts or news from the groups we support. To learn more about our commitment to the environment, please visit our website.