American Hiking Society is pleased to announce it’s publication of Hiking Trails in America: Pathways to Prosperity, a report that answers the need for a one-stop source for readily understood information about America’s hiking trails and the myriad of benefits these trails offer the nation. Hiking Trails in America provides information about the evolution of hiking trails in the U.S., the trails community, the benefits of trails, and in the 2015 inaugural issue, the economic benefits of trails, which are surprisingly significant.
The report provides a summary of activities and their results that have taken place in the 50 years since President Johnson’s “Conservation and Preservation of Natural Beauty” speech to Congress in 1965. Of particular note, the report focuses on the passage of the National Trails System Act of 1968 that created the National Trails System as we know it today and gave us such gems as the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.
Additionally, Hiking Trails in America provides a wealth of information on the hiking community today: who is hiking and where, as well as the “pay-it-forward” ethic of the hiking community which inspires thousands of hikers to volunteer on trails both near and far.
A highlight of the report is its attention to the economic impact of trails on local communities, the outdoor industry, and the nation as a whole. Many will be surprised to find that trails were responsible for the direct creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in 2012, as well as billions of dollars in economic activity.
Hiking Trails in America is available to the public as a free download. It is hoped that it will be a useful tool to better understand the value of hiking trails in our nation as well as provide useful information to policy makers, elected officials, corporations, and all those who have the opportunity to help continue and build upon the successes of these past 50 years.