Impact report cover photo from Baltimore, MD | Photo by Side A Photography

IMPACT REPORT

Since 1986, the team at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has been standing shoulder to shoulder with passionate partners, trail advocates and public leaders to grow the nation’s trails and trail networks—inspiring movement, spurring economic development, celebrating and lifting up America’s diverse heritage, and connecting the nation by trail like never before.

With more than 1 million grassroots supporters, 24,000+ miles of rail-trails on the ground and more than 8,000 miles of rail-trails ready to be built nationwide, our focus is on linking these corridors—creating trail networks that connect people and places, and 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.

We are proud of the impact we’ve made, and we are humbled by the incredible contributions to our movement among the partners, advocates and public leaders who together are making big strides in creating a nation connected by trail.

Join us in exploring that impact throughout this interactive report—dig in on the stories and the statistics that represent progress and persistence in a movement dedicated to delivering safe spaces where we all can walk, bike and move.

Image Above: Baltimore, Maryland | Photo by Side A Photography, Graphic by RTC

BUILDING A NATION OF TRAILS

RTC’s strategic plan guides our work to build a nationwide network of trails, with five ambitious goals to anchor us:

1Create Models of Success by advancing a vibrant portfolio of nationally significant trail system projects through our TrailNation program.

2Advance Innovative Trail and Active Transportation Policy by securing increased and sustained public investment at the federal, state and local levels.

3Increase Demand for Trails by Encouraging Trail Use via resources, public education and TrailLink.com—the nation’s most comprehensive trail database.

4Expand Reach and Encourage Replication by using our national platform to showcase successful project and policies.

5Build the Backbone by Strengthening RTC and the Community, ensuring diversity and equity in all facets of our work.


A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT


Ryan Chao addressing the crowd at the Great American Rail-Trail preferred route reveal in Washington, D.C., in May 2019 | Courtesy RTC
Ryan Chao addressing the crowd at the Great American Rail-Trail preferred route reveal in Washington, D.C., May 2019 | Courtesy RTC

Building a Brighter Future

07/02/20 by Ryan Chao

“The pandemic has made clear that trails are essential assets for the well-being of people and places, and our country needs a trail in every community. While FY 2019 in many ways seems like a distant time, our work last fiscal year, and in the decades leading up, positioned us to meet the current moment and be part of helping to shape a brighter future.”

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HOW WE DELIVER


Here’s how we deliver on our strategy and create meaningful impact for people and communities.

Building a Nation of Trails gif
United States Capitol
United States Capitol

WE ADVOCATE …

On Capitol Hill, and to state legislatures and local governments—for investments and policies that support safe trail, walking and bicycling networks for people of every age and ability. In FY 2019, $850 million in federal funds were dedicated to trails and active transportation via Transportation Alternatives and the Recreational Trails Program, and $160+ million in new funds were secured for trails at the state level.

2019 Opening Day for Trails celebration in Brownsville, Texas | Courtesy RTC
2019 Opening Day for Trails celebration in Brownsville, Texas | Courtesy RTC

WE MOBILIZE …

Trail supporters and the public to advocate in their own communities for safe walking and biking infrastructure. Nearly 29,000 federal and state advocacy actions were taken from RTC members and supporters in FY 2019, and we engaged 6,000+ people from all 50 states and D.C. via our Trail Expert Network.

Ribbon cutting of the Bozeman to Bridger Mountains Trail, Montana | Courtesy Gallatin Valley Land Trust
Ribbon cutting of the Bozeman to Bridger Mountains Trail, host trail along the Great American Rail-Trail in Montana | Courtesy Gallatin Valley Land Trust

WE PARTNER …

With nationally respected organizations; federal, state and local agencies; public leaders; and trail advocates to build trails and educate Americans on their value. In FY 2019, we engaged hundreds of partners on advocacy initiatives aimed at innovating trail policies and furthering our national TrailNation™ portfolio and the Great American Rail-Trail™, which collectively span 21 states and cover nearly 10,900 miles.

Quad Cities event in the fall of 2019 to demonstrate how trails transform American communities | Courtesy RTC
Quad Cities event in the fall of 2019 to demonstrate how trails transform American communities | Courtesy RTC

WE HELP SECURE FUNDING …

To develop regional trail networks that create and connect healthy, thriving communities and raise the quality of life for Americans. Our collaborations helped raise millions of dollars in public and private funds for trail projects in FY 2019, including $7.2+ million secured to assist in completing projects along the Great American Rail-Trail.

RTC resources | Courtesy RTC
RTC resources | Courtesy RTC

WE CREATE RESOURCES …

In the form of trail planning, capacity-building grants, technical support and best practices for rural, suburban and urban communities seeking to build trails and connect trail systems. Since 2008, we've awarded nearly $2 million in grants to 178 trail organizations in 32 states and Washington, D.C.

Willits rail-with-trail in California | Photo by Laura Cohen, courtesy RTC
Willits rail-with-trail in California | Photo by Laura Cohen, courtesy RTC

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. In FY 2019, more than 20,000+ actions were taken by RTC members and supporters to protect railbanking.

Cobbs Creek Trail in Philadelphia | Photo by Thom Carroll
Cobbs Creek Trail in Philadelphia | Photo by Thom Carroll

WE SPEAK OUT …

About the transformative power of trails, encouraging their use and generating demand for trails. We do this by engaging more than 7.2 million trail users via TrailLink.com, as well as our 1-million-strong grassroots community of trail supporters nationwide.

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FINANCIALS

Summary of Activities and Changes in Net Assets for the Fiscal Year Ending Sept. 30, 2019

FY2019 Financials pie charts

FY2019 Financials pie charts

*Non-operating income represents realized and unrealized gains and losses on investment of restricted assets. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization as qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Codes.

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TEAM RTC

Great American Rail-Trail preferred route reveal in Washington, D.C. | Courtesy RTC
Great American Rail-Trail preferred route reveal in Washington, D.C. | Courtesy RTC


Board of Directors


Our board members come from diverse backgrounds but with a common purpose—to enrich the lives of millions of Americans by creating a nationwide network of trails. 

View a list of our FY 2019 Board of Directors.

FY19 BOD CURRENT BOD


Our Staff


We’re innovative. We’re passionate. We care about making a difference in communities nationwide.

View an FY 2019 Staff List.

FY19 STAFF CURRENT STAFF


Contact Us


Get in touch with us and engage with our national community.

CONTACT US

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