Saturday, June 5, is the perfect day to reconnect with nature or affirm that connection. National Trails Day recognizes that hiking is both good for the soul and for your health, and it’s a day for all trail users to celebrate and enjoy their trails.
First created by the American Hiking Society in 1993, the annual event commemorates the many ways we enjoy our trails, whether it’s classic hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or walking our dogs.
“During the COVID-19 quarantines, many people discovered the mental and physical benefits of getting outside in their neighborhoods,” said Kate Van Waes, Executive Director of American Hiking Society. “(We are) encouraging everyone to take the National Trails Day Pledge to take action and care for trails and quality natural areas.”
During the pandemic, as many discovered the benefits of getting outdoors, some trails around the country saw a 200 percent increase in usage. At Greenbelt, we worked to keep the trails on our public reservations open so that all could continue to enjoy them.
Some of Greenbelt’s trails coincide and connect with the Bay Circuit Trail, Border to Boston Trail, and other local land trusts’ trails. We partner with the Essex County Trails Association, Cape Ann Trail Stewards, and Eagle Scouts on trail stewardship. Pre-pandemic, trails runs at Beverly Commons and the Pingree Reservation celebrated the trails on those Greenbelt properties.
“The more people we can get outside and on their local trails, the more we can get people interested in conservation and stewarding those trails. We want people thinking about ways they can volunteer with their local land groups,” said Van Waes.
The American Hiking Society has a straightforward message: leave a trail better than you found it.
On National Trails Day they ask for a commitment to “taking a trash bag with you whenever you hike or go for a walk. Collect trash on a local trail, along your neighborhood sidewalk, or in a natural space near you.”
Greenbelt is grateful to several professional and staff photographers whose work is featured prominently within our website.
Thank you Jerry Monkman / ecophotography.com, Lynne Holton, Kindra Clineff, Adrian Scholes and John Raleigh.