Skip to content
Using Trails

Trail Moments with Latino Outdoors Outings Leader Valerie Pasión

By: Valerie Pasión
June 14, 2023

Photo by Michael Ocasio
Photo by Michael Ocasio

We love hearing about individuals who share their passion for the outdoors with others, which is why our team was excited to learn more about Valerie Pasión, an outings leader with Latino Outdoors in the Baltimore area. We hope you enjoy reading her responses and are inspired to share your own #TrailMoments with us.

What I do

I am privileged to have many opportunities for working, learning and playing. My work at the Patterson Park Audubon Center, graduate studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and volunteer service-leadership with Latino Outdoors are all centered around my relationship with nature.

Related: Trail Moments with Latinx Hikers Co-Founder Adriana Garcia

Favorite quote

“We got this together. We can hold this together. I will continue to stand with you through it all. As so many others will too. You’re not alone. You have community here. I believe in you. And I love you and all of your parts that got you here and help you travel along the way.”

—“The Pain We Carry” by Natalie Y. Gutiérrez, LMFT

Person I admire

I admire all the women around the world who choose to engage in subtle, everyday rebellion.

Why I started using trails

My relationship with cycling here in Baltimore grew from my experience using biking and walking as my primary modes of transportation during Peace Corps service. There were so many things I didn’t know I would love about using trails to get around. My physical and mental health improved, I got to slow down and look at the plants and the birds, and I could enjoy a commute as an enriching experience rather than a burden.

My favorite rail-trails

Baltimore's Herring Run Trail | Photo by Molly Gallant
Baltimore’s Herring Run Trail | Photo by Molly Gallant

The ones closest to my home—the Herring Run Trail and the Jones Falls Trail. They are both situated by waterways and have such powerful potential to connect human and environmental health.

Related: Top 10 Trails in Maryland

Why trails/the outdoors are vital to quality of life in our communities

Trails bring everything together. They can meet so many different community needs: transit equity, human health, emissions reductions, native species habitat, erosion control, socioeconomic development, water quality—everything.

A meaningful life story

As the first person in my family for so many things—to be born in the United States, attend school here, travel through study abroad or through Peace Corps service—I feel a great responsibility. Not only to my parents for the sacrifices they’ve made for me, but also to every person, plant, animal, landscape that I have met and loved along the way.

How our collaboration with RTC is creating positive change in the community

Working with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy as a Latino Outdoors leader has opened a new avenue for connecting Latines of all backgrounds and intersecting identities to engage with the trails that we share. Having presence and representation in the [rail-trail] movement is key to making Latine community members feel we are welcomed and that we belong on the trails just as much as anyone else.

Related: Watch video of Valerie’s remarks as part of “Creating Community Through Trail Networks” panel

Why I support RTC

I support RTC for valuing the voices and lived experiences of local communities here in Baltimore and doing their best to elevate our perspectives on the future of trails.

Baltimore's Jones Falls Trail | Photo courtesy of Paola Tejeda
Baltimore’s Jones Falls Trail | Photo courtesy of Paola Tejeda

This article was originally developed for the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Rails to Trails magazine. It has been reposted here in an edited format. Subscribe to read more articles about remarkable rail-trails and trail networks while also supporting our work. Have comments on this article? Email the magazine.

This article is part of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Trail Moments initiative—to elevate new and tried-and-true trail voices around the country, and how trails impact the lives of Americans. Learn more at and #TrailMoments on social media. Share your story, or view a collection of trail moments stories.

Valerie Pasión
Valerie Pasión

As an outings leader for Latino Outdoors in the greater Baltimore area, Valerie Pasión works to foster a sense of belonging for all Latinxs in outdoor exploration, and to elevate Latinx knowledges and perspectives in approaches to conservation action.

Donate today!


Everyone deserves access to safe ways to walk, bike, and be active outdoors.