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Wagner in the water on the Little Miami Scenic Trail, Ohio © Rick Wagner
Rick Wagner dips his toes in an ice-cold creek along the Little Miami Scenic Trail in Ohio.

Rick cooling off near the White Pine Trail in Michigan © Rick Wagner
Rick cooling off near the White Pine Trail
in Michigan.

Tell Us ...
If you had the opportunity, what you would like to say to the next president of the United States about the importance of trails, walking and bicycling? If you could tell him one thing that makes your community pathways so valuable, what would it be? Tell us what you'd say! In the Winter 2009 issue of Rails to Trails magazine, RTC will be running an "Open Letter to the New President" detailing our goals and recommendations for the next administration about the future of transportation. Selected "Tell Us" essays will accompany the open letter in the magazine.

Also: We are still accepting responses for last month's "Tell Us" question: What are the most creative ways you've helped raise money for a local rail-trail?

Please direct e-mails and photos*, including all credit and caption info and where you currently live, to Karl Wirsing at

*All photos submitted to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy may be used in any and all organizational materials.

Keeping it Cool:

In July, we asked you to tell us how you beat the heat and stay cool on rail-trails in the summertime. Depending where you live, June, July and August can burn the rubber off your tires and soles and send you scrambling for air conditioning. And fears of sunburn and dehydration can make a healthy trip on the trail feel like a romp through a campfire. But you don't have to let the temperature dictate your enjoyment of the outdoors. 

Whether you use your local pathways for exercise, relaxation, commuting or just plain fun, take a look at how these trail lovers found ways to stay comfortable and safe no matter how hard their thermometers were working.  

Rick Wagner - Columbia City, Ind.
Last summer we rode 60 miles on the Little Miami Scenic Trail in Ohio on a 100-degree July day. If a person knows the trails they ride, then they know how much shade there is available. The Little Miami follows a river a good deal, and being a north-south trail with a nice tree canopy, we were amazingly not overheated most of the time. It is surprising how just getting your legs and feet cooled off helps cool the body.  
Another example is the beautiful, ice-cold creek that is beneath a culvert on the
White Pine Trail, north of Rockford, Mich. We would never have known it was there because there is no trestle above this arched culvert and the area heavily treed. But a friendly retired gentleman we met on the trail asked us if we would like to see something interesting, and we rode down to it on an adjacent local street.

Kelly Pack - Washington, D.C. 
Growing up, I spent my summers at the pool or on my bike. Unfortunately, there weren't safe roads or trails for me to ride my bike to the local pools; if I needed to cool down after cruising the neighborhood on my bike, the sprinkler in our front yard had to suffice. Now, all grown up and living in the city, I found myself craving a dip in the pool after riding my bike in the swampy heat of Washington, D.C. My backyard trail, luckily, is the Capital Crescent Trail, which curves its way into the northwest section of D.C. and ends in Bethesda, Md.

If I'm feeling up for a workout, I can start my ride at the southern terminus in Georgetown and begin the four-mile ascent to the Bethesda Public Pool, located only a few yards from the trail. When I want to skip the workout, I take my bike on the Metro, hop off at the Bethesda station and catch the northern end of the trail for a short peaceful ride on the Capital Crescent.

A canopy of trees shades the trail, separating it from busy neighborhood streets. In fact, the trail is so enveloped by the trees that the faint sounds of splashing and the diving board springs are the only indication of the expansive public pool nearby. A steady stream of sun-kissed swimmers make their way on and off the trail as I turn into the pool's entrance. I hop off my bike, park it in the shade, and head straight to the diving board to work on my cannonball.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
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