Getting outside right now, especially on local trails, can provide a wealth of benefits to your body and mind—once you get in the habit. Some of the most common trail activities—biking, skating, running—can burn over a thousand calories in an hour’s time. And being out in nature—especially right now, as more people are staying home and cool weather is making people less inclined to step outside—can strengthen your resilience and mental health.
Nestled into the recreational playground of northeastern Tennessee, the Tweetsie Trail connects two charming towns in the Appalachian foothills, following a railroad corridor that once snaked through the mountains and crossed into North Carolina.
On Saturday, April 18, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) hosted “Celebrate Trails @Home,” our all-virtual tribute to America’s pathways and their impact on communities everywhere—especially right now as people flock to their local trail for physical activity and solace at a safe social distance.
Trail use has surged. An analysis of 31 trail counters for the week of March 16–22 by RTC found a nationwide trail usage increase of nearly 200% from that same week in 2019. Largely, this is good news.
It’s vital that people find ways to engage in physical activity during this time; the benefits to our immune systems and our mental health are significant. But it is critical that we do so in ways that will keep us safe and minimize the spread of the pandemic. While trails continue to serve as significant sources of health and wellness for Americans, RTC is urging everyone to practice safe and responsible trail use and self-care at all times.
Floating sinuously over America’s longest waterway, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge straddles the Missouri River between bustling Omaha—Nebraska’s largest city—and the quieter-feeling hometown of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The graceful structure, once hotly debated, played a transformational role in the riverfront’s redevelopment and continues to serve as a catalyst for upcoming projects.
When it comes to being physically active, trails provide a wide range of outdoor activities to keep us motivated year-round. Each activity has unique pluses; the key is to find one that’s right for you! Here are five fitness-forward trail activities that will help you embrace a healthy lifestyle and have a ton of fun in the process.
Here’s a look at RTC and a decade of rail-trails—their power and their impact. As the 2010s built momentum, opportunities to maximize the power of these essential community assets became clear, and a new focus took hold at RTC and across the movement: that of regional connectivity and, ultimately, connecting the country by trail like never before. Check out RTC's connectivity evolution over the past decade.
Today, more than 24,000 miles of completed rail-trails traverse the nation, often serving as backbones for regional trail systems that are transforming the places where we live, work and play. Here are just a few of the exciting new rail-trails added to the ranks in 2019.
On Nov. 16, 2019, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bicycle and pedestrian path—a new 6-mile trail that parallels I-580 in the San Francisco Bay Area, officially opened to the public in a special ribbon cutting ceremony. The opening of the new pathway—a fully protected east–west pedestrian and bicycle connection across the Bay—signifies an exciting time in California trail history, as people can now safely walk and bike between the North and East Bay for the first time.