Saturday is National Trails Day, a nationwide series of events hosted by local trail clubs, individuals, and organizations dedicated to keeping the United States Trail System in good working order. Throughout the country, events will be held encouraging people to get outside and hit the trail. Although National Trails Day is organized by the American Hiking Society, mountain biking, paddling, bird watching, trail running, and anything else that involves a trail are all supported by the program. Not only is this a celebration of our trail system and a chance to get more people outside and on the trail, it is also a chance to recognize the thousands of volunteers who spend their time keeping the 200,000 miles of U.S. trails in good working order. They are the ones out there on weekends and evenings doing the manual labor and maintenance it takes to make the trails passable and beautiful.
To that end, this weekend give a little something back and volunteer to help clear or cut a trail on public lands this Saturday. There are numerous opportunities to do so in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee with all the national park and national forest land and you can find a map of official National Trails Day clean up events on their website. We recommend heading for Ducktown, Tenn. and volunteering with the Tennessee Wild Helping Hands to clear up the eastern end of the John Muir Trail. The John Muir Trail is a National Recreation Trail, but is in need of rebuilding, reshaping, and other basic trail repairs. No previous trail maintenance experience is necessary and all tools and safety gear will be provided. Just bring your work boots, lunch, and enthusiasm – long pants would probably be a good idea also.
Give back to the trails that have given so much to you and make this Saturday a day of service. You’ll feel good, get some exercise, and set the tone for future generations of trail users.