This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act of 1968. The National Trails System Act of 1968 was the direct result of the Trails for America report. It established three different types of trails: National Scenic Trails, National Recreation Trails, and Connecting and Side Trails. As the Act stands today, as amended, National Scenic Trails are described as extended trails of more than 100 miles in length that provide for outdoor recreation and “for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which such trails may pass.” Of course, we love our National Scenic Trails because we are located on one!
Green infrastructure like trails and parks are true economic engines and provide for the economic vitality of a community—and a nation. Well-managed and funded parks and trails makes strong, economic sense and are job-creating enterprises for the economic vitality of communities and their surrounding regions. Trails are an integral part of the outdoor recreation experience in America and stimulate business creation, influence corporate location decisions, increase property values, reduce medical costs by encouraging exercise, and generate tax dollars. Trails also provide low or no-cost recreation opportunities and transportation options to the public.
Being outdoors, and hiking is becoming a popular activity. Having established trails such as the Appalachian Trail, encourages people to get outside and go for a hike! It benefits their health and mood to be outdoors and the trails help get them there.
Ways to get involved
The National Trails System has a lot of ways you can get involved this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Of course, you can volunteer every year on one of your favorite National Scenic Trails. But this year, there is an event map of all the trails and events nearby. It is a great tool to see what other trails are established by the National Trails Act, and to see where you can get involved. They are also having a photo contest, and you can submit your story about being on a National Scenic Trail. Be sure to check out your local hiking community to get involved and volunteer on a trail!