Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.
Soo Line Trestle in Minnesota | Photo by Peter Ladd
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) serves as the national voice for more than 160,000 members and supporters, 31,000 miles of rail-trails and multi-use trails, and more than 8,000 miles of potential trails waiting to be built, with a goal of creating more walkable, bikeable communities in America.
Our national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Since 1986, we have worked from coast to coast, supporting the development of thousands of miles of rail-trails for millions to explore and enjoy. We’ve helped craft rural trails that spool out over a hundred miles of open prairie, snake through mountain passes, span canyons and hug riverbanks, offering views of the countryside often unknown to the highway traveler. We’ve been a part of the connections between towns and suburbs, linking communities along vibrant corridors in much the same way as the railroads did in their heyday.
RTC’s mission, and its value, is magnified in urban areas, where one mile of trail can completely redefine the livability of a community. Where trails are more than just recreational amenities, creating opportunities for active transportation and physical activity—improving our health and wellbeing—as they safely connect us to jobs, schools, businesses, parks and cultural institutions in our own neighborhoods and beyond.
And, through our promotion of rails-with-trails—trails alongside active rail lines—we are now unlocking the true potential of transportation systems that reflect how people really get around in the 21st century.
Explore the History of Rail-Trails
Check out our interactive timeline below to browse important moments in the history of RTC and trail development in America.
RTC is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. If you are interested in becoming a member, learning more about our trail development work, or finding out how you can get involved in local or national advocacy efforts to protect trails and trail funding, we want to hear from you!Contact Us