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Success Brings Change

Dear Friend of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy,

Several articles have appeared in the news lately concerning an issue Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's founders would not have dreamed of back in 1986: overcrowding on trails. Many of the most popular rail-trails in the country—such as Virginia's Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park and Seattle's Burke-Gilman Trail—are experiencing a flood of traffic from visitors who ride bikes or horses, run or skate, push strollers or use wheelchairs on the trail.

I consider this exciting news. But with so many people and so many different uses, some trails are facing new challenges in planning, building and maintenance as a result of their inspiring success.

It's remarkable how success itself can bring a need for change. There always are improvements to be made and new ideas to consider, no matter how successful the venture. At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), we've completed our 20th anniversary celebration and now are looking toward new challenges to meet and new successes to achieve in the next 20 years.

If you're an RTC member, you've already received our latest endeavor in the mail—a redesigned Rails to Trails magazine. The magazine has been our primary vehicle for providing rail-trail news, updates and travel opportunities to you since it was first published in 1998. Nearly a decade later, we thought it was time for a fresh approach.

We've reinvigorated the look and feel of the magazine with more photos and a cleaner design. You'll find many of the features you have long enjoyed, plus additional sections you asked for—more RTC updates, improved directions to trails, detailed travel tips, and enhanced trail-building news and information. And look for increased interaction with our Web site; additional coverage and trail information we simply couldn't fit into the pages of the magazine will be available for you here, online.

By now you may have noticed that we've also given our Web site an update, with easier navigation tools, greater coverage of RTC's regional office activities, topical news stories and more information on ways for you to become involved in the movement. Sign up for Action Alerts, shop at our expanded online store, read updated trail reviews and join RTC's interactive community.

As you can tell, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is growing. Like many of our country's trails, we're expanding to meet the needs of our members, partners and the nationwide trail network we hope to advance.

Here's to the next 20 years of RTC, and to a happy 2007.

Keith Laughlin

Winter 2007

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