Previous AHS Mission, Vision, and Value Statements

Mission Statement

American Hiking Society champions conservation issues, builds public and private partnerships, supports volunteer stewardship, and provides critical resources to help plan, fund, and develop trails.  We also provide resources to the public about how and where to hike and are committed to increasing the participation and enjoyment of hiking by everyone.

Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national organization that promotes and protects foot trails, their surrounding natural areas, and the hiking experience.  As the national voice for hikers, American Hiking Society recognizes that foot trails and hiking are essential to connect people with nature, conserve open space, provide biological corridors for diverse plants and wildlife, and for the health of Americans and our natural environment.  We represent millions of hikers who are committed to beautiful places to hike and believe that the preservation of hiking trails and their environments is important and a worthwhile legacy to leave future generations.


The Intrinsic Value of Hiking
Hiking has long been an important outdoor activity, whether as a means of exploration, exercise or reflection. The act of setting foot down a path through natural areas provides unparalleled opportunities to build the human spirit, improve physical fitness and increase environmental awareness. Hiking offers all Americans a healthy, enjoyable and relatively simple way to deepen their connections to nature, people and place.

Conservation through Recreation
As a national conservation-based recreation organization, we work in partnership to build, maintain and protect hiking trails and their natural corridors so that current and future generations can experience the many joys and benefits of hiking and are inspired to protect this legacy.

Our programs are built around the concept of fostering and supporting trail stewardship and the public lands through which they travel. We accomplish this by promoting a sense of responsibility and culture of service among our individual members and member organizations and in the hiking community at large.

We support construction and maintenance of trails that limit hikers’ impact on the land and require minimal attention to maintain the integrity and safety of the tread. We promote Leave No Trace ethics to ensure that natural ecosystems and trail environments remain viable and healthy.

Through adaptability, responsiveness and a commitment to continuous improvement, we will remain a dynamic and relevant national organization. Our work is results-oriented, partnership driven and integral to the viability, success and future of our constituents – the hiking community.


Ours is a vision in which hiking, foot trails, and their surrounding natural areas inspire Americans to get outdoors, volunteer and protect trails. As the national voice for hikers, American Hiking Society will promote hiking, build a nationwide constituency of hikers and trail stewards, form strategic alliances with national, regional and local partners and advocate for hikers in the nation’s capital. Sustainable hiking trails and trail systems will bring people together, connect them with our natural and cultural heritage, promote healthy lifestyles and serve an integral role in conservation. We will expand our nation’s hiking community and motivate, recruit and educate tomorrow’s hiking leaders, advocates, and volunteers.