This Saturday—June 6—people in every US state will celebrate American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®. During the pandemic, people across the country have been realizing and appreciating the powerful health benefits of spending even a few minutes outside every day. Yet, racism rears its head even in the outdoors, evident not only in the fact that people of color, especially Black folks, are often not safe outdoors but also, even if indirectly, in the fact that many Americans lack easy access to natural spaces. On National Trails Day® 2020 American Hiking will harness the advocacy power of the millions-strong outdoor community to take action, while social-distancing, to preserve trails and help in the fight against systemic racism in the outdoors by calling for equitable access for all to natural spaces.
“During the COVID-19 quarantines, more and more people have been discovering the mental and physical benefits of getting outside in their neighborhoods, to the point of a 200% increase in trail usage in cities across the country. As the millions-strong hiking community that American Hiking represents grows even bigger, so does its advocacy power, and we need that now more than ever. The trails and parks we all value are under-resourced, even as usage is going up. At the same time, 1 in 4 people don’t live within walking distance of a park or other outdoor recreation space and many cannot easily get to recreation areas, partially because of systemic racism,” explains Kate Van Waes, Executive Director of American Hiking Society. “In honor of National Trails Day®, American Hiking is encouraging everyone to take the #NationalTrails Day Pledge to take action (even from home) to preserve trails and help fight for equitable access to quality green space.”
In addition to taking the #NationalTrails Day Pledge, anyone can join the National Trails Day® digital movement and share on social media why trails and natural spaces are important to them. Tag photos with #NationalTrailsDay and @AmericanHiking to be entered into a photo contest with a chance to win one of multiple prize packages of outdoor gear.
American Hiking’s National Trails Day® is made possible by the generous support of Corporate Sponsors – Athletic Brewing Co., Merrell, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., REI Co-Op, Popular Mechanics, Adventure Medical Kits. Federal Partners include the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Federal Highway Administration, and U.S. Forest Service.
Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering all to enjoy, share, and preserve the hiking experience.