American Hiking Society Announces 14th Annual National Trails Day

Get Outside and "Experience Your Outdoors" on June 3, 2006

Silver Spring, MD – All across the country, people are getting ready to celebrate the great outdoors at this year's National Trails Day – America's largest annual single-day trails and outdoor celebration. Organized by the American Hiking Society, the national nonprofit organization serving as the national voice for America's hikers, the 14th annual National Trails Day is set to kick off on Saturday, June 3. Hundreds of thousands of trail enthusiasts are expected to participate in a wide variety of activities on public trails at more than one thousand nationally sanctioned events across the land.

National Trails Day, American Hiking Society's signature trail awareness program, encompasses activities for all interests and abilities, in an inclusive, family-friendly manner. Events will include: hikes; paddles; horse and bike rides; outdoor festivals; trail openings and dedications; volunteer trail building and maintenance projects; educational programs; and much more. Besides allowing people to discover, learn about and celebrate our country's public trails system, it also provides Americans a chance to thank the volunteers, land-managing organizations and civic-minded businesses that maintain this irreplaceable national asset.

"Our nation's trails offer Americans from all walks of life boundless opportunities to enjoy nature, renew themselves, and establish a lifetime of fitness" notes Gregory Miller, President of American Hiking Society. "From city dwellers and suburban families to rural and country residents, children to senior citizens, recent immigrants to people with deep roots here, trails offer every American a healthy, enjoyable way to spend time outside."

Trail events in 2006 will embody this year's theme, "Experience Your Outdoors."

"The 'Experience Your Outdoors' theme personalizes National Trails Day for all Americans, and is meant to encourage everyone to get outside, get active and experience the myriad opportunities for outdoor recreation that trails afford. We hope that attending a National Trails Day event will expose people to the wonders of their community trails, and the variety of ways they can be enjoyed," says Miller.

National Trails Day events are hosted by local and statewide trail clubs, city, state, and federal public land and health agencies, community groups, and other nonprofit organizations, and outdoor-minded businesses. People interested in attending a local event should visit American Hiking's National Trails Day web site, www.NationalTrailsDay.org. The site includes a map allowing users to search for registered events in their local community and across the country.

The web site also includes detailed information on how you or your organization can "Experience Your Outdoors" and host your own National Trails Day activity or get involved with planned events in your area.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, almost 160 million Americans age 16 or older, or two-thirds of the population, participate in trail-oriented outdoor recreational sports, including hiking, backpacking, trail running and cross-country skiing.

"The significant increases we've seen in National Trails Day participation each year, coupled with the growing number of Americans who enjoy outdoor recreational activities, indicate the importance of and need for local trails, parks and open spaces. We salute the countless volunteers at clubs nationwide and our valued network of government, corporate and non-profit partners who make our country's outstanding trail network possible. We urge Americans to support this cooperative effort to expand, sustain and preserve our trails and natural areas," says Miller.

Since its debut back in 1993, National Trails Day has grown from 100 registered events attended by 10,000 people, to more than a thousand events attended by an estimated 125,000 outdoor recreationists last year. All 50 states, as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada and the Virgin Islands have participated in events.

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