This Saturday is the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day. Noted as the largest annual U.S. trails celebration, National Trails Day is a day for hikers of all ages to head out a explore their local hiking trails and destinations. According to the American Hiking Society website, National Trails Day events will take place in every state, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. These events won’t just include hiking too: they include horseback riding, bicycling, birdwatching, and geocaching activities as well. The focus is simply on getting outside and appreciating our natural and outdoor spaces. Here’s a complete list of the events in each state. Here’s some more information:
According to the American Hiking Society website, National Trails Day “evolved during the late ‘80s and ‘90s from a popular ethos among trail advocates, outdoor industry leaders and political bodies who wanted to unlock the vast potential in America’s National Trails System, transforming it from a collection of local paths into a true network of interconnected trails and vested trail organizations. This collective mindset hatched the idea of a singular day where the greater trail community could band together behind the NTD moniker to show their pride and dedication to the National Trails System”. Here’s a neat timeline that shows the establishment of NTD up to its 20th anniversary event in 2012.
I’ve never heard of National Trails Day before now. I really like the celebration focus and appreciate that communities in each state will hold special events honoring the outdoors and protected natural spaces. According to the AHS, there are some 200,000 miles of trails just in the U.S. Respecting and appreciating these foot- and multi-use paths is important to our physical and mental wellbeing and to the health of our communities.
If you like photography and social media, AHS encourages National Trails Day participants to email or upload their photos or post them to Instagram (tagged with @AmericanHiking and #NationalTrailsDay). Participants who post their photos can enter a contest – here’s some more information.
Finally, if you live in the South Sound/Olympic Peninsula area, there are several NTD events going on. Here’s a list of events in Tacoma-Olympia area. On the Olympic Peninsula, there are events in Sequim, Port Townsend, Quinault, Shelton, and near Aberdeen. Here’s where you can find a list of all the events in Washington. Lots of great hiking and exploring going on this Saturday!