Photo by Side A Photography
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.
A nation where trails connect everyone, everywhere.
Here’s how we’re turning vision into reality.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At Rails to Trails Conservancy, 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.
At Rails to Trails Conservancy, 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.
Photo by Eric Kayne/AP Images