“Hit the trail!” June 1 is National Trails Day

June 1, 2013

National Trails Day logo

National Trails Day is the first Saturday in June, each year.

June 1 is National Trails Day, celebrated the first Saturday of June each year.  It’s a day designated by hikers and users of trails, the people who use trails for health, fun and adventure.

This should be a particularly American, and broadly celebrated event.  We are a nation of trails throughout our history — including in no particular order the Natchez Trace, the Chisholm Trail, various Trails of Tears, the Cumberland Trail, the Oregon Trail, the Overland Trail, the Goodnight Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, the Mission Trails, and countless others.  We fly across the continent in five hours today; when European explorers came, they explored the place on foot, first.  When humans migrated across the Bering Land Bridge, they came on foot, and populated the Americas from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego.

Hiking is much of who we are.

When is National Trails Day®?

This year National Trails Day® will occur on June 1, 2013. National Trails Day is always the first Saturday in June.

What is National Trails Day®?

American Hiking Society‘s National Trails Day® (NTD) is a celebration of America’s magnificent Trail System, occuring annually on the first Saturday in June. NTD features a series of outdoor activities, designed to promote and celebrate the importance of trails in the United States. Individuals, clubs and organizations from around the country host National Trails Day® events to share their love of trails with friends, family, and their communities. NTD introduces thousands of Americans to a wide array of trail activities: hiking, biking, paddling, horseback riding, trail running, and bird watching and more. For public and private land managers alike, National Trails Day® is a great time to showcase beautiful landscapes and special or threatened locales as thousands of people will be outside looking to participate in NTD events.

National Trails Day® evolved during the late ‘80s and ‘90s from a popular ethos among trail advocates, outdoor industry leaders and political bodies who wanted to unlock the vast potential in America’s National Trails System, transforming it from a collection of local paths into a true network of interconnected trails and vested trail organizations. This collective mindset hatched the idea of a singular day where the greater trail community could band together behind the NTD moniker to show their pride and dedication to the National Trails System.

View the National Trails Day® historical timeline.

Why Celebrate Trails?

America’s 200,000 miles of trails allow us access to the natural world for recreation, education, exploration, solitude, inspiration, and much more. Trails give us a means to support good physical and mental health; they provide us with a chance to breathe fresh air, get our hearts pumping, and escape from our stresses. All it takes is a willingness to use them!

National Trails Day® also aims to highlight the important work thousands of volunteers do each year to take care of America’s trails. Trails do not just magically appear for our enjoyment; their construction and maintenance takes hours of dedicated planning and labor. So give thanks to your local volunteers and consider taking a day to give back to your favorite trail.

Who Can Host a National Trails Day® event?

Anyone can host a National Trails Day® event. If you need help with programming ideas or would like more information, take some time to read through the materials on the host information page. There you will find all the information you need to host a successful event. Once you’ve planned the event, remember to register it!

Who Can Attend a National Trails Day® event?

Anyone is allowed to attend public NTD events, unless otherwise noted. All public events are listed under the event search page. Events registered as “private” will not appear on the event search page.

What Kinds of Events are Included?

National Trails Day® events involve a broad array of activities, including hiking, bike riding, trail maintenance, birding, wildlife photography, geocaching, paddle trips, trail running, trail dedications, health-focused programs, and children’s activities. Whatever you like to do outdoors, there is bound to be an event to fit your interests. If you don’t find the type of event you want, then plan it yourself — and be sure to register it.

How do Trails Make You Healthy?

Trails give you the opportunity to get your heart pumping, lungs expanding, and muscles working at various levels of difficulty, thereby improving your physical as well as mental well-being. With obesity rates skyrocketing, exercise is increasingly important, and trails provide a wide variety of opportunities for being physically active.

Does National Trails Day® have to be the first Saturday in June?

If your organization has a conflict with the first Saturday in June, plan your National Trails Day® event for a day or weekend that works best for you. No matter what day you choose, be sure to register your event with American Hiking Society; the national attention will draw more participants and media, and American Hiking Society will help you throughout the entire planning process.

Looking for ways to get involved year round?

Become a member of American Hiking Society or join the Alliance of Hiking Organizations.

Got a picture of your favorite trail?  Send it in, or link to it in comments.

Menunkatuck Blue-Blazed (CFPA) Trail. Particip...

Menunkatuck Blue-Blazed (CFPA) Trail. Participants in the National Trails Day 2010 inaugural Menunkatuck Trail hike sponsored by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA), Guilford Conservation Land Trust (GCLT) and the New Haven Hiking Club (NHHC). Wikipedia photo

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Missed National Trails Day, June 4? Catch up later, on the trail

June 6, 2011

This is a little embarrassing.

National Trails Day logo from the American Hiking Society

National Trails Day logo from the American Hiking Society; click to go to AHS site

I missed National Trails Day this year.

Heck, I’ve missed it every year since its inception in 1993.

As usual, I’ll have to hit the trails later in the summer — hello, Colorado Bend State Park.  You can make it up, too.  National Trails Day is a celebration that can be done any time you find to do it, really, any place you find to celebrate it.

So, hey, buddy:  Take a hike!

And have fun doing it.

Information and resources for National Trails Day:


Firefall in Yosemite: Horsetail Fall’s spectacular February show

March 2, 2011

New program from Yosemite National Park’s “Nature Notes.”

This one has something to appeal to the heart of almost everybody:  Photos from Ansel Adams, photos from Galen Rowell, interviews with sons of each, discussion of the (properly) much-maligned old “firefall” of hot fire coals for tourists — and the story of the natural firefall one might see, if the conditions are right, and if one is in Yosemite in the right place, on the right days of February.

This video was produced by Steven M. Bumgardner, with extra camera help from Josh Helling.  Those guys do great work.  It features photographer Michael Frye, Michael Adams, Ansel Adams’ son, and Tony Rowell, the son of  Galen Rowell.


Frazil ice in Yosemite National Park

February 1, 2011


As long as you’re in Nevada, see Fly Geyser

December 24, 2010

Way more than half the geysers in the world are in Yellowstone National Park.  There’s another big cluster in Iceland, and then a few in California.

But there are stragglers throughout the world, including this spectacular, nearly-man-made thing in Nevada:  Fly Geyser.

Nevada's Fly Geyser, Wikimedia image

Nevada's Fly Geyser, Wikimedia image, from Jeremy C. Munns; it's on private land, not open for tourists. Have you ever heard about it?

Lots of photos of the geyser at Kuriositas, where I learned of the thing.

It’s on private land, on Fly Ranch (from which the geyser and a nearby reservoir get their names), but visible from a public road.  You can find it about 20 miles north of Gerlach, on former State Route 34 (now County CR34) – in Washoe County in the northwest of the state.  From Interstate 80, one would need to drive west from Winnemucca on Nevada State Road 49(?), or north from Wadsworth on state highway 447, to Gerlach.

Locals drilled a well at the site in 1916.  For more than 40 years the well produced water with no problem.  But in 1960, the well blew out.  Hypothesis is that the well passed through heated rocks that contained water, and this heated, pressurized water blew out the well casing.  The geyser has been erupting since 1960, building the impressive mineral mountain seen in the photo.

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I get e-mail, from the President on the Gulf oil eruption

June 5, 2010

First time in years I’ve gotten solid information from a politician that didn’t come wrapped in a plea for money. I got a message from President Obama today (I’m sure a few million of his closest friends got the same one):

Ed –

Yesterday, I visited Caminada Bay in Grand Isle, Louisiana — one of the first places to feel the devastation wrought by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While I was here, at Camerdelle’s Live Bait shop, I met with a group of local residents and small business owners.

Folks like Floyd Lasseigne, a fourth-generation oyster fisherman. This is the time of year when he ordinarily earns a lot of his income. But his oyster bed has likely been destroyed by the spill.

Terry Vegas had a similar story. He quit the 8th grade to become a shrimper with his grandfather. Ever since, he’s earned his living during shrimping season — working long, grueling days so that he could earn enough money to support himself year-round. But today, the waters where he has worked are closed. And every day, as the spill worsens, he loses hope that he will be able to return to the life he built.

Here, this spill has not just damaged livelihoods. It has upended whole communities. And the fury people feel is not just about the money they have lost. It is about the wrenching recognition that this time their lives may never be the same.

These people work hard. They meet their responsibilities. But now because of a manmade catastrophe — one that is not their fault and beyond their control — their lives have been thrown into turmoil. It is brutally unfair. And what I told these men and women is that I will stand with the people of the Gulf Coast until they are again made whole.

That is why, from the beginning, we have worked to deploy every tool at our disposal to respond to this crisis. Today, there are more than 20,000 people working around the clock to contain and clean up this spill. I have authorized 17,500 National Guard troops to participate in the response. More than 1,900 vessels are aiding in the containment and cleanup effort. We have convened hundreds of top scientists and engineers from around the world. This is the largest response to an environmental disaster of this kind in the history of our country.

We have also ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and this week, the federal government sent BP a preliminary bill for $69 million to pay back American taxpayers for some of the costs of the response so far. In addition, after an emergency safety review, we are putting in place aggressive new operating standards for offshore drilling. And I have appointed a bipartisan commission to look into the causes of this spill. If laws are inadequate, they will be changed. If oversight was lacking, it will be strengthened. And if laws were broken, those responsible will be brought to justice.

These are hard times in Louisiana and across the Gulf Coast, an area that has already seen more than its fair share of troubles. The people of this region have met this terrible catastrophe with seemingly boundless strength and character in defense of their way of life. What we owe them is a commitment by our nation to match the resilience they have shown. That is our mission. And it is one we will fulfill.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Good news is that BP now reports some success in stopping the flow of oil.  Information flows increase, oil flows decrease — good trends.

Obama and Jindal, May 2, 2010 - Pete Souza, WH photo

Caption from the White House: President Barack Obama talks with U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen, who is serving as the National Incident Commander, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, aboard Marine One as they fly along the coastline from Venice to New Orleans, La., May 2, 2010. John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, is in the background. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza). (This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.)

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Wildflower Monday: Calfornia poppies

May 17, 2010

California poppies, near Bitter Creek - photo by Amanda Holland

California poppies, near Bitter Creek - photo by Amanda Holland

Kathryn got stuck in traffic on Spur 408 Friday evening.  She happily reported that a few bluebonnets remain, covered by now-taller grasses.  We’re in the seventh week of our Texas wildflower panorama.

But Amanda Holland’s shot of California poppies in the wild hills near Bitter Creek caught my eye.  Amanda’s out saving birds — the best photos of the wild almost always come while you’re on the way to do great stuff, I think.  That’s a good reason to find a job that gets you out of doors, and into the wild.

Notice that, even in the wild, in near-wilderness, there are still signs of human actions.  See the contrails?


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