Former Rails-to-Trails President Keith Laughlin Named 2019 Rail-Trail Champion. When Keith Laughlin became the second president of RTC in 2001, he did not envision he’d help usher in a golden age for trails.
RTC was invited to Bogotá, Colombia by the city’s renowned Mayor Enrique Peñalosa to lend our assistance in the planning of the country’s first rail-trail project, just outside of Bogotá, culminating with a presentation to Colombia President Iván Duque Márquez.
A motorized wheelchair powered by sip-and-puff inputs coupled with the ever-improving voice recognition capabilities of a smartphone offered Mackay a degree of independence, and allowed him to get outside without a caregiver at his side at all times. The Olympic Discovery Trail, a rail-trail that runs near his home, called to him. “That trail is where I found my solace,” Mackay said. “I was a field biologist before. I spent a ton of time outside.” Now, he said, “I could start exploring the Pacific Northwest on my own and appreciate those loves I had before I was injured.”
The lasting gift Darwin Hindman helped to provide, not only to the state of Missouri, but to the entire country—the 237-mile Katy Trail State Park—a project, was convincing former Missouri Governor John Ashcroft and the state legislature to convert from an unused rail line.
Hundreds of trail enthusiasts gathered in Arcata, California, on May 4, for a Town Hall to learn more about the Great Redwood Trail—a 300-mile proposed walking and biking trail that would stretch from the shores of San Francisco Bay to the redwoods of Eureka on Humboldt Bay, highlighting California’s wine country as well as some of the state’s most treasured and remote natural areas.
On Saturday, April 13, people across the country kicked off the spring trail season on Opening Day for Trails (Opening Day). For the last seven years, Opening Day has brought trail newbies and long-timers together to say goodbye to winter and get outside on America’s spectacular trails and trails systems.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy was deeply saddened to learn that Hilda P. Jones—known to family members, friends and colleagues as “Pat,” passed away on Dec. 17 at her home in Williamsburg, Missouri. Pat and her husband the late Edward Jones, who died in 1990, are known for their important contributions to the conservation movement, including supporting the creation of two epic rail-trails in Missouri: the 240-mile Katy Trail State Park and the developing 144-mile Rock Island Trail.
One of the most important moments in the history of the rail-trail movement happened behind the scenes, with little fanfare or notice, when National Park Service (NPS) staffer Peter Raynor drafted an invaluable piece of legislation in just a few words.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) was super excited to learn that one of our own, Avery Harmon, was designated out of more than 150 applicants nationwide as one of 30 “Emerging Leaders” by SHIFT (Shaping How we Invest For Tomorrow), a program of The Center for Jackson Hole, in Wyoming.
In eight diverse areas across the country, through our TrailNation™ program, RTC is investing in projects that demonstrate what’s possible when trails are seamlessly linked together to form complete systems that are well integrated into the communities they serve—providing low-stress, high-quality and environmentally friendly transportation and recreation for all.
Friends. Teammates. Energizer bunnies. And don’t forget tenacious describe RTC’s 2017 Doppelt Family Rail-Trail Champions, Ross Greathouse, 79, and Lynn Lightner, 83, who have spent nearly four decades developing some of Nebraska’s most treasured pathways.