Why We Should All Participate in National Trails Day
In a world of being inundated by social media posts and hashtags and a national day for seemingly everything, it’s easy for something like National Trails Day to get lost in the shuffle.
But in our (very biased) opinion, American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day is the most important one to actually celebrate. Why? Because our trails need constant upkeep. And as lovers of the outdoors and frequent users of our trail systems, we should be the ones taking care of them.
In all 27 years that American Hiking Society has celebrated National Trails Day, this year’s is extra important. We recently saw firsthand during the government shutdown what happens when our trails are not maintained. And National Trails Day is the perfect opportunity to fix the disrepair and truly leave our public lands better than we found them.
Despite folklore told around campfires late at night, there is no magical trail fairy who creates and cleans trails while happy hikers sleep. Trails need to be cleared. And leveled. Steps need to be built into mountainsides. Invasive species need to be eradicated. Trash and dog poop needs to be removed. And it’s up to us to do it.
We will also have the opportunity to become a part of history by helping set the world record for the most people improving trails in a single day. Last year, American Hiking Society set and achieved the goal of doing 2,802 miles (the distance across the country) of trail work. This year, they have their sights set on something much bigger—a world record. That’s why it’s important to take the pledge to be counted as a part of the world record.
And finally, we should all volunteer on National Trails Day and every day because we should want to give back to the places we love. Whether there is a hashtag attached to the day, a contest to win prizes, or we’re just going out on a hike alone, we should make it a habit to always be good stewards of the outdoors.