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About RTC

Photo by Side A Photography

RTC’s Mission

At Rails to Trails Conservancy, we are building a nation connected by trails. We reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors.

Since 1986, RTC has worked to bring the power of trails to more communities across the country, serving as the national voice for the rail-trail movement.

With more than 1 million grassroots supporters, 25,000+ miles of rail-trails on the ground nationwide and more than 9,000 miles of rail-trails ready to be built, our focus is on linking these corridors—creating trail networks that connect people and places, bringing transformative benefits to communities all across the country. Our flagship initiatives—the Great American Rail-Trail®TrailNation™ and TrailLink.com™—bring that strategy to life, connecting millions of people by trail.

RTC’s Vision

A nation where trails connect everyone, everywhere.

Here’s how we’re turning vision into reality.

Ohio's Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail | Photo by Jason Cohn
Ohio’s Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail | Photo by Jason Cohn

WE ADVOCATE …
for transformative investments in trails, walking and bicycling at the federal, state and local levels. To date, nearly $24 billion in federal funding—including $1.4 billion+ in FY 2023—has supported 40,500+ projects via Transportation Alternatives and the Recreational Trails Program. In FY 2023, our advocacy alongside partners in 15 states helped secure more than $533 million in funding for trails, walking and bicycling.

Ben Franklin Bridge walkway connecting Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey | Photo courtesy RTC
Ben Franklin Bridge walkway connecting Philadelphia and Camden | Photo courtesy RTC

WE MOBILIZE …
people across the United States to advocate for safe walking and biking infrastructure in their communities and beyond. In FY 2023, supporters sent more than 20,000 messages to federal decision-makers in support of trails and active transportation.

Celebrate Trails Day event in Exton, Pennsylvania | Photo by Mark Yanigasawa
Celebrate Trails Day event in Exton, PA | Photo by Mark Yanigasawa

WE COLLABORATE …
with thousands of partners, including national organizations; federal, state and local agencies; public leaders; and grassroots advocates to create and connect trails and trail networks. A highlight of FY 2023 was Celebrate Trails Day, where we partnered with more than 200 organizations and brands to elevate and celebrate the impact of trails on people and communities.

Washington's Olympic Discovery Trail | Photo by John Gussman
Washington’s Olympic Discovery Trail | Photo by John Gussman

WE CONNECT …
people and places by developing trail networks that create healthy, thriving communities and serve as models for the nation. In collaboration with partners across our TrailNation™ portfolio and the Great American Rail-Trail®—which collectively span 27 states and the District of Columbia, and nearly 12,000 miles—we helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars in public and private funds for trail network development in FY 2023.

Black People Who Hike August 2023 event | Photo courtesy Black People Who Hike
Black People Who Hike August 2023 event | Photo courtesy Black People Who Hike

WE SUPPORT OUR NATIONAL TRAIL COMMUNITY …
by providing best practices and trail-planning resources, technical support and capacity-building grants to communities of every shape and size seeking to create and connect joyful, vibrant, equitable and inclusive public spaces. Our TrailNation Collaborative engages 7,500 trail advocates and professionals from across sectors to accelerate trail network development in America. Since 2008, we’ve also awarded nearly $3 million in the form of 380 trail development grants to 225 organizations nationwide.

U.S. Capitol Building | Photo courtesy Getty Images
U.S. Capitol Building | Photo courtesy Getty Images

WE PROTECT TRAILS …
continuing to lead a 30-years-plus effort to shape the legal framework around rail-trails and defend them in the courts. Since 1986, we’ve been involved in 60+ legal cases, including landmark state and federal cases that have laid the groundwork for the national trails movement.

Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Branch Trail | Photo by India Kea
Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Branch Trail | Photo by India Kea

WE ELEVATE …
the transformative power of trails, building demand for this infrastructure and encouraging people to make trails part of their everyday lives. In FY 2023, we connected millions of people to trails via TrailLink™, RTC’s trail-finder platform, and engaged millions more in loving and supporting trails via our national storytelling and engagement campaigns like #CelebrateTrails and #TrailMoments.

Ohio's Lake Front Bikeway | Photo by Jason Cohn
Ohio’s Lake Front Bikeway | Photo by Jason Cohn

RTC’s Shared Values

At RTC, we believe that everyone has the right to safely walk, bike and be active outside. Our work is guided by our shared values—centered on respect, equity, integrity and the opportunity to unite people around a common appreciation for trails. We are bold. We are inclusive. We are transformative. We are compassionate.

Reconnecting America

At RTC, we believe that every person—regardless of race, gender, geography, income, age, ability, sexual orientation or expression, or other minority status—deserves access to free, accessible and safe places where they can walk, bike and be active. We believe trails have the power to transform communities and create joyful, vibrant public spaces that are equitable and inclusive. Read our Equity Statement.

Our achievements are made possible by a group of nationally renowned leaders in their fields, experienced professionals and passionate visionaries committed to a more connected America. Photo by Joe LaCroix

David Burwell and Peter Harnik, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy co-founders | Photo by Robert Trippet

Since RTC’s inception in 1986, we have helped to create a powerful national movement that is connecting communities from coast to coast.

Learn About RTC’s History
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park | Photo by Frederick Schaedtler

By joining our dedicated team of professionals, you can help impact the lives of millions of people.

Learn About RTC’s Careers and Internships
Baltimore, MD | Photo by Side A Photography

RTC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies on the valuable support of our members to make trails a reality.

Learn About RTC’s Financials

Photo by Eric Kayne/AP Images

RTC's office on Google Maps Street View

CONTACT US

Rails to Trails Conservancy National Headquarters:
2445 M Street, NW Suite 650
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 202.331.9696

We want to hear from you!