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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, millions of people have flocked to the outdoors. Spending time outside is one of the safest things we can do. As people seek out spaces near their homes to be active at a safe physical distance, trails have proven to be so important to so many—spaces to play, commute, walk, bike, run and explore.
At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we want to capture these moments—moments of joy, moments of solitude, moments for exercise and self-care. We hope these stories … your stories … will inspire others to explore trails and the outdoors close to home, while helping our local leaders understand how important trails are to the health and well-being of our communities.
Have you recently discovered trails, or are you a long-time trail enthusiast? Either way, we hope you’ll share your “Trail Moments”—and the stories of how trails have impacted your life during COVID-19. Take the survey below, or share using #TrailMoments on social media. Toma la encuesta en Español.
"I’m always so thrilled that you have such diversity; birding doesn’t just attract one section of the community or one type of person."
—Keith Russell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Having that daily mile walk really helps him be happier and healthier.”
—Katie Fullenkamp—on her son’s daily walk to school on the Met Branch Trail, Washington, D.C.
“When Oregon’s stay-at-home order was issued ... I was seven weeks pregnant. For me and many others, it’s been an isolating and anxious six months. To cope, I’ve been walking on ... Oregon’s beautiful trails. It's been essential to my physical and mental wellness.”
—Kayla Walker, Portland, Oregon
"During these times of uncertainty, it is reassuring to have trails as a constant. My local trail has never been so important to me."
—Jorge Brito, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“It’s kind of like another way of therapy for me due to my growing up getting in trouble. I get on that road and feel that wind touch my face ... it makes me happy.”
—Daiquan Medley, Washington, D.C.
"I've been trying out different bike routes to the office even though we're currently working remotely, so that I will feel comfortable commuting by bike in the future."
—Anthony Le, Washington, D.C.
"When the weight of it all is crushing, those moments outside have given us freedom and time to breathe."
—Brandi Horton, Arlington, VA
“It's as important as ever for people to know that when everything is out of control, one thing you can control is [going outdoors and taking] advantage of natural resources.”
—Dr. Sam Zizzi, Morgantown, West Virginia
"We take for granted these public spaces and the impact they can have … just to be able to take a run and connect with nature and back into your own mind is priceless."
—Quest Skinner, Washington, D.C.
"The countless hours spent on the trails have helped propel me through tough times. The awe-inspiring scenery and peacefulness of them provides such a gift!"
—Kasia Martin, Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
Find your next trail moment and new close-to-home trail experiences. TrailLink, RTC's free trail-finder website and mobile app (iOS and Android), has information on more than 40,000 miles of multiuse trails nationwide, including trail maps, walking and biking directions to get to the trail, and contact information for local trail management organizations.
Share the Trail and Recreate Responsibly
RTC has long urged everyone to learn and practice good trail etiquette to ensure safe experiences for all trail users. But as more and more people flock to the trails, and as individuals and families continue to look to trails for outdoor activity during the pandemic, sharing the trail and recreating responsibly have never mattered more. Do your part to Share the Trail and follow the #RecreateResponsibly guidelines anytime you head outdoors. It’s up to all of us to protect each other and the places we love.