National Trails Day is June 2nd

John McCarthy

Former Idaho Trails Association intern, Joe Pickett, works on a trail

John McCarthy

National Trails Day will be upon us Saturday, June 2nd. The American Hiking Society sponsors this annual event, which celebrates our nation’s 200,000 plus miles of recreation trails. Participants across the country join in to recognize the tremendous opportunities these trails provide in getting folks outdoors. Many National Trails Day activities are organized around volunteer trail cleanup projects, as well as guided hikes and walks.

I chose my internship with The Wilderness Society in large part due to my many hours on trails in protected areas throughout the country. Reviewing the catalog of National Trails Day events on the American Hiking Society website, I was pleased to see several of my favorite places getting the attention they deserve. Reelfoot Lake State Park, a place I visited many times as a youth, will be hosting a naturalist-guided walk that showcases the lake’s seismically shaken history and the great wetland habitat it now provides to hundreds of interesting species. Laguna Atascosa and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuges, which hold species found nowhere else in the country, will also feature ranger-led nature walks.

Many National Trails Day activities are put together by local groups. During the past year, I joined in hikes led by the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group. These excursions took me to parts of Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest I had not seen before and allowed me to meet plenty of friendly fellow hikers along the way.

The selection of offerings for National Trails Day is so great; you'll likely find one close to home.

National Trails Day is a terrific opportunity for everyone to participate, recreate, have fun and give back. If you have enjoyed a trail in your area, sign up to help with a trail maintenance project. You will be rewarded knowing many in your community will experience the outdoors through your efforts, and you may get to meet some of them in the process.