Welcome to the 2016 Green Issue of Rails to Trails, highlighting the ways that trails inspire, connect and empower communities across America. 

What’s in This Issue?

Welcome to our 2016 Green Issue, which features one of the driving forces of the rail-trail movement: community. Highlighted below are many ways that trails create destinations, inspire connections, preserve our heritage and empower us as individuals and as a society. Through trails—we are connected. Enjoy!

Share the Trail Video Series

This summer, RTC is challenging everyone to be the best you can be on America’s trails. We’re pleased to present our brand-new Share the Trail video series—six super short, fun (and sharable!) “How-To’s” on the Six Golden Rules of safe trail use.

Check them out! And “Share the Trail”—because safe + fun = a great time for everyone.

Use Safe Speeds.

Keep Right, Pass Left.

Standing Still? Stand Aside.

Mind Your Pets.

Be Alert.

Know and Follow the Rules.

Destination: Virginia Beach

This slideshow by Contributor Scott Stark highlights the diverse sights and wonders of four trails around Virginia Beach—one of the state’s most popular destinations. Working together to help create a complete cultural experience, the Cape Henry Trail, Elizabeth River Trail, Norfolk Avenue Trail and Virginia Beach Boardwalk are also part of the proposed Beaches to Bluegrass Trail System, which could one day span all of southern Virginia.

For extended captions and information, check out “Destination: Virginia Beach” on our TrailBlog.

Credits: Photos and captions by Scott Stark

Destination Virginia Beach

Destination Missouri: Katy Trail State Park

Missouri’s Katy Trail State Park is the nation’s second-longest rail-trail (at nearly 238 miles) and arguably one of its most celebrated. The route bisects Missouri at its waistline, allowing trail users to glimpse a 100-foot-wide slice of the state and revealing some of the geographic variety, cultural diversity, historical significance and exceptional people therein. Each June since 2001, Missouri State Parks has hosted the five-day Katy Trail Ride. Here’s a taste of this year’s experience by Contributor Danielle Taylor.

For extended captions and information on these sites, check out “Destination Missouri: Katy Trail State Park” on our TrailBlog.

Credits: Photos and captions by Danielle Taylor. Clydesdale photo courtesy Anheuser-Busch at Warm Springs Ranch.

Destination Missouri: Katy Trail State Park

Eye On: Wisconsin’s Route of the Badger

RTC is currently working with local partners in Southeastern Wisconsin to create the Route of the Badger, a 400-500-mile multi-purpose trail system that will connect communities and establish the region as a major bicycling destination. This video by TeamTrumbull highlights this ambitious effort.

Credit: TeamTrumbull

Community Connections

Mobile Cyclist: Cincinnati Bike Culture

This 13-minute episode of Mobile Cyclist by Anthony Barr explores the burgeoning bike culture in Cincinnati, Ohio. The video features multiple bike-friendly hotspots and small businesses as well as the Little Miami Scenic Trail and Oasis Trail.

Credits: Anthony Barr, Mobile Cyclist

Take a Trip Back in Time on The 606

Since The 606 opened in Chicago, Illinois, 2.7-mile elevated pathway built on a former rail line has already become a local favorite. Built on a former rail line, the trail sits nearly 20 feet above four of the city’s neighborhoods. This video by The Trust for Public Land—featuring historian Jim Peters, talks about its rich history.

Credit: The Trust for Public Land

Green Access – Middlesex Greenway

The Middlesex Greenway is a 3.5-mile multi-use pathway situated on an historic portion of the Lehigh Valley rail corridor that traverses the communities of Metuchen, Edison and Woodbridge New Jersey. This film shows how it’s more than just a recreational path but a community connection, vibrant public space and community economic development catalyst.

Credits: Produced by Civic Eye Collaborative LLC in collaboration with Together North Jersey through an award by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development


What is placemaking? And why are trails catalysts for creating stronger, healthier and more connected communities? This video by the Woodstock Land Conservancy in New York—created for the Ulster County Catskill Mountain Rail Trail project—gives us a brief glimpse of this powerful and important phenomenon.

Credit: Woodstock Land Conservancy

Families on the Rail-Trail

Trails can have a powerful impact on youth and families. This video by the Woodstock Land Conservancy in New York—created for the Ulster County Catskill Mountain Rail Trail project—features some families who speak to the influence that trails have had on their lives.

Credit: Woodstock Land Conservancy

Best Of

Seven Wonders of the Ohio Sojourn (Coming This Fall!)

One state, 202 miles, four days, two wheels—it all adds up to an awesome biking adventure on the Ohio to Erie Trail. From Cleveland to Columbus, RTC’s Ohio Sojourn, our premier fall bike ride, provides a guided, up-close-and-personal tour of some of the state’s best trails. Read on for a sneak peek of all you’ll discover in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Credit: Photo courtesy Behnke Landscape Architecture

10 Parks That Changed America

This PBS video tells the story of the evolution of 10 of our nation’s iconic public spaces and the visionaries that made them a reality. Highlights include Gas Works Park in Seattle (along the Burke-Gilman Trail) and the High Line in New York City.

Credit: Photo by Adrian Cabrero

From Rail-Trails to Active-Transportation Super Highways

This year, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy celebrated its 30th anniversary. Check out our interactive timeline of the movement, and read about poignant moments—past and present—on our special 30th Anniversary site.

Members Network

Have something to say about the Green Issue of Rails to Trails? Post to our Facebook page, give us a tweet @railstotrails or send us an email.


Green Issue Staff

Editor-in-Chief: Amy Kapp
Staff Editor: Laura Stark
Contributors: Scott Stark, Danielle Taylor
Video Development: Joe LaCroix
Graphics: Joe LaCroix
Web Design: Brian Gerhardstein
Distribution: Ryan Cree

Other Green Issues