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  Keith Laughlin at Flat Branch Park in Columbia, Mo. © Jennifer Kaleba/Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Keith Laughlin at Flat Branch Park
in Columbia, Mo.

Keeping It Green

I don't know about you, but I'm always a little startled when the magazine cycles into a new year. Just seeing that "2009" on the cover of this issue makes me pause to take stock of what we've accomplished in the last year:

We've provided technical assistance, support and legal aid to rail-trails across the country so that more people have more opportunities to enjoy all the benefits of trails.

We've united more than 40 communities across the country in pursuit of one ultimate goal: a comprehensive campaign to double federal investment in trails, walking and biking.

We've recruited thousands of supporters who've pledged to Burn Calories, Not Carbon™, helping the health of people and the planet.

We've visited and mapped more than 11,500 miles of rail-trail across the country, providing anyone who wants to use and find a trail with free maps through

We've been able to do all of this... because of you. Your membership directly impacts the quality of life for millions of Americans. Thank you for choosing and trusting Rails-to-Trails Conservancy with your generosity.

In return, we strive to live up to and exceed your expectations of what a responsible, conservation-based nonprofit should be.To that end, we are taking a new, "green" step forward, starting with our magazine. Beginning in 2009, one issue each year of Rails to Trails magazine is going completely digital. From start to finish, we're vowing to waste no resources, from paper used in printing to the oil used in shipping.

On Earth Day, April 22, 2009, we will launch Rails to Trails: The Green Issue, complete with the quality stories, news, maps and photos you've come to expect from Rails to Trails—plus useful links and fun features we could only provide to you through the Web. By putting just one issue of Rails to Trails online, we can save 15,000 pounds of paper and nearly $40,000 in printing and postage—reducing our carbon footprint and putting more of your membership dollars toward the support of rail-trails.

We're also making enhancements to your other three standard Rails to Trails issues. In addition to continuing to print with non-petroleum-based soy ink, we've finally been able to make the switch to recycled paper, starting with this issue. And check your mailboxes this March, when you'll receive the first Spring/Summer "double issue" of Rails to Trails, offering extra pages with more trail destinations, more photos and more ways for you to enjoy rail-trails around the country.

Of course, we know not all of our members are active on the Web. We hope, however, that everyone can support the spirit of what we are trying to achieve. This next year will be a promising time for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's work—and we look forward to telling you all about it in exciting new ways.

Happy Trails!

Keith Laughlin

Winter 2009

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