Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation’s largest trail advocacy organization, is encouraging Americans to kick off the spring trail season on Celebrate Trails Day. Celebrate Trails Day, aligned with Earth Day this year, comes at a time of unprecedented opportunity for trails, walking and biking—bringing new focus to trails as essential infrastructure to the health and well-being of people, places and the planet.
Recently, RTC’s vice president of communications, Brandi Horton, participated in a satellite media tour campaign to talk about how to make the most out of America’s trails.
A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://youtu.be/wDHgN8pUxPY
A recent opinion poll conducted by RTC found that most Americans (87%) feel that trails contribute to the well-being of the community and two-thirds of Americans say they’re interested in using trails more than they do now—26% say a lot more and 36% say a little more. Overall, a majority of people (62%) report using trails once a week or less, but 24% say they’re using trails more than they did in the past year, which is particularly true for Black (35%) and Latino (27%) trail users.
The majority of trips taken in this country are within a 20-minute bike ride or less, more than one in four trips are within a 20-minute walk or less, and 11.5% of all trips are made by walking and biking. By swapping more of these trips from car trips to walking or biking, the U.S. economy could save more than $22 billion annually and save 54 million tons of CO2 annually.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 25% of Americans are inactive and that increasing our physical activity is one of the best things we can do for our health. Findings from the Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends parks, trails and greenways as infrastructure interventions that increase physical activity.
For the last decade, Celebrate Trails Day has been the nation’s annual spring celebration of America’s trails and a motivator for people to be active—more than 750 events have taken place nationwide, rallying tens of thousands of people. In 2022, participants reported more than 65 minutes being physically active outside on the trail, which contributed significantly to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity adults should get each week. Combined, participants logged over 812,000 minutes of physical activity on Celebrate Trails Day, and one quarter (24%) reported swapping a short car trip for a walk or a bike ride to their destination. This nationwide moment continues to be a meaningful and symbolic way to illustrate the direct impact that trails have on some of the most pressing issues facing communities across the country.
For more information about Celebrate Trails Day, to find events, and to enter to win prizes, visit railstotrails.org and follow #CelebrateTrails on social media.
About Brandi Horton
Brandi Horton serves as RTC’s vice president of communications. She has dedicated her career to communications for social change and is passionate about creating communities that promote health and well-being. For more than 20 years, she has partnered with nonprofit organizations and government agencies to leverage communications strategies to organize and engage audiences in support of social good. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her family, where she regularly frequents the Four Mile Run and W&OD trails en route to work, the playground and little league games.
About Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong. RTC is dedicated to building a nation connected by trails, reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Connect with RTC at railstotrails.org and @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.