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Active Citizenship

Dear Friend of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy,

It's easy to tell people they should be living actively. Showing them how it's possible, and then making that possibility a reality, is quite a different task. Which is why Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is lucky to have so many impressive and proactive examples of people literally talking the talk, and walking the walk.

Dasaniā„¢ water has joined forces with Lance Armstrong and RTC to form the Dasani Blue Bikes campaign, a community bike program designed to give people better access to their urban trail networks. See story, page 4.

Also in this issue you can read about voters in Florida who ousted the elected officials opposing a rail-trail that would connect their community, and the members of a Native American tribe who took their lack of public transportation by the horns and developed a rail-trail that provides community members with a direct transportation route to businesses, schools and recreation (See "Community Connections"). And on page 16, "Rx for Trails" explores how doctors across the country are turning to trails, prescribing walking and bicycling on these corridors to patients in need of a healthy lifestyle change.

The notion of active living is rising to the forefront of our nation's conscience. Last year RTC announced its vision of making it possible for 90 percent of Americans to live within three miles of a trail system—by the year 2020. That is a very ambitious goal, but one that I believe is attainable with the public support necessary to double federal investment in trails, walking and biking by 2010, when the next transportation bill will become law.

To achieve this dramatic increase in trails funding, we will need to prevail over the highway lobby in a fierce competition for scarce federal dollars. RTC cannot succeed in such a fight alone. To shift federal investment patterns to support active living, will require all of us to also engage in active citizenship. We will need all 100,000 of our members and supporters to let their local, state and federal representatives know that they support increased investment to encourage active living.

Over the next decade-and-a-half, RTC will be calling on you to add your voice to the growing chorus of Americans who want more trails and greenways in their communities. Together, I am confident that when the year 2020 comes around, active living will no longer be a novelty. It will be a given.

Happy Trails!

Keith Laughlin

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037