Connecting America's Trail Networks

Historic Battlefield Trail, part of the Caracara Trails | Photo by Mark Lehmann

RTC has a big goal: To connect the nation’s 37,000+ miles of multiuse trails and create a nationwide network of trails—delivering seamless pathways for walking, biking and rolling that are completely separated from vehicle traffic. And with it, we are delivering big, transformative outcomes for people and places, including new, equitable opportunities for mobility, recreation and social interaction, economic growth, health and wellness, and climate protection.

 

Great American Rail-Trail preferred route reveal in South Cle Elum, Washington, in May 2019 | Photo by Kathy Young
Great American Rail-Trail preferred route reveal in South Cle Elum, Washington, in May 2019 | Photo by Kathy Young

How We’re Creating a TrailNation™


RTC’s diverse portfolio of trail-network building projects, TrailNation, inspires us in the opportunities they represent for America. Each of these eight projects, collectively covering a footprint of nearly 7,200 miles, offers unique potential to deliver meaningful change through direct impact and the replication of these trail network models nationwide.

TrailNation Impact areas

With strong collaboration from our partners in each project region, we made some giant leaps—and some small-but-no-less-important bounds—in our efforts to connect the country by trail. These trail networks propel our movement forward and show how trails can benefit every community.


Together, we ...


Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in Washington, D.C. | Photo by Milo Bateman
Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in Washington, D.C. | Photo by Milo Bateman

Announced 40 impactful projects that will provide a powerful foundation for the Capital Trails Coalition, which aims to create equitable access to more than 800 miles of existing and future trails for the more than 6 million people in the D.C. Metro Region. This investment in mobility—costing less than it would to build one highway—will have a net health savings of $500 million annually.

North Bend Rail Trail leading into Cairo, West Virginia | Photo by Mike Tewkesbury
North Bend Rail Trail leading into Cairo, West Virginia | Photo by Mike Tewkesbury

Helped catapult connectivity in two major hubs of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, a developing 1,500-miles-plus trail network in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York that will redefine the region as a premier outdoor tourism destination.

In Cleveland, our cutting-edge Bikeable™ study, “Advancing Cleveland’s Active Transportation Agenda,” illustrates how the city’s planned projects could improve walking and bicycling access for more than a quarter of residents, with powerful results.

In West Virginia, a $223,000 federal grant secured for the Wood County Commission will help close a small but critical gap in the 150-mile Parkersburg to Pittsburgh Corridor with the potential to stimulate an economy worth tens of millions of dollars annually.

Hank Aaron State Trail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Photo by TrailLink usesr lixunz
Hank Aaron State Trail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Photo by TrailLink usesr lixunz

Solidified a transformative blueprint for the Route of the Badger, a 700-miles-plus trail system that will serve as a game-changer for the way residents live, work and get around in southeastern Wisconsin. Opportunity, equity and connectivity are at the heart of this effort, which seeks to reconnect many neighborhoods experiencing inequality in Milwaukee and improve regionwide mobility.

Fort Mason, San Francisco, California | Photo by Cindy Barks
Fort Mason, San Francisco, California | Photo by Cindy Barks

Celebrated the first protected east-west bike and pedestrian lane across the San Francisco Bay—crossing the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge—a vital piece of the Bay Area Trails Collaborative’s vision to connect nine counties across 2,700+ miles. The completion of this project signifies an exciting milestone in California trail history, as people can now safely walk and bike between the North and East Bay for the first time ever.

Matamoros, Mexico | Photo by Frontera Media
Matamoros, Mexico | Photo by Frontera Media

Put a national spotlight on the Caracara Trails, a powerful vision in the Lower Rio Grande Valley for a 428-mile trail network that leverages the area’s rich natural assets to inspire active lifestyles and transform the tropical landscape into a must-see active tourism destination. In the fall, our Active Plan Tour brought together partners, major media and decision-makers from across the state and the nation to build support for this transformative project.

Rickenbacker Trail in Miami, Florida | Photo by Ken Bryan
Rickenbacker Trail in Miami, Florida | Photo by Ken Bryan

Accelerated broad investment for projects within the Miami LOOP—a 225-mile active transportation network that will transform Miami-Dade County. In FY 2019, collaborative efforts with partners helped secure a $22.3 million federal BUILD Grant to advance the 10-mile Underline, as well as millions in state funds and $2 million in discretionary funds from Commissioner Xavier Suarez to build out the 5-mile Commodore Trail and connect The Underline with the planned 6-mile Ludlam Trail. Together, these two trails alone could help avoid some 8 million vehicle miles annually.

Burlington to Camden Trail corridor | Photo by Betsy McBride
Burlington to Camden Trail corridor | Photo by Betsy McBride

Executed two advocacy efforts in New Jersey to protect or secure tens-of-millions of dollars for trails—including $3.6 million for impactful projects in the Circuit Trails network, which will one day directly connect an estimated 3.1 million people by trail. For an inspiring example, check out the Atlantic Avenue Trail in Camden County, New Jersey—which has been designed to get walkers and bicyclists in 15 communities off a busy road and onto safe, separated trail for daily commuting and recreation.

Baltimore, Maryland | Photo by Side A Photography
Baltimore, Maryland | Photo by Side A Photography

Turned the connectivity dial in Baltimore by helping to raise $360,000 for the city to design a new 5.5-mile trail segment between the Gwynns Falls and Herring Run trails that will link numerous neighborhoods, a major shopping center, the 745-acre Druid Hill Park, Johns Hopkins University and Lake Montebello. The project is part of a larger 35-mile effort by the Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition to connect 85 neighborhoods—many that have been economically and socially segregated since the 1950s and 1960s.