Going Green with National Trails Day June 2

The American Hiking Society encourages everyone to go green by getting outside on June 2, 2007, for National Trails Day, the largest annual single-day trails and outdoor celebration in the country.

More and more Americans are paying attention to environmental issues – hybrid vehicles are common sights on roads everywhere, eco-friendly products and services are gaining in popularity, and phrases like “carbon footprint” and “global warming” are heard at dinner tables and in schools across the country – but not everyone is aware of how great trails are for the environment. Take part in one of the many National Trails Day events and learn about how trails contribute to a healthier planet, including these top 5 environmental benefits of trails:

1. Trails protect habitat for plants and wildlife.
By protecting the surrounding land, trails keep plant and animal habitats safe and intact. Trails and greenways can also provide important connectors between large open spaces.

2. Trails protect the land from urban sprawl.
Trails not only conserve land for plants and animals; they protect it from development. By protecting land around urban areas, trails help limit sprawl and provide corridors for recreational use and environmental preservation.

3. Trails improve local air quality.
Trees found along trails are important filters and oxygen producers. They act as carbon sinks by removing greenhouse gasses from the air and can help slow climate change. Traveling along a trail avoids automobile use and lessens harmful emissions in the air.

4. Trails improve water quality.
Illegal waste disposal, acid rain, and run-off pollute America’s waterways. Trees along trails filter soil and rainwater before it reaches waterways. Trees also help prevent erosion. By protecting surrounding lands, trails also protect the streams, rivers, or lakes around them.

5. Trails instill a conservation ethic.
By connecting with nature through trails, hiking helps motivate people to preserve and protect our natural heritage. Hikers and other recreationists often become dedicated trail volunteers and passionate voices for conservation.

Start living a greener lifestyle by attending a National Trails Day event. Visit AmericanHiking.org to find an event near you and to learn more about the great benefits of trails.

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