May 31st, 2013 by

By Michelle Werts

Sometimes, amid the scientific reports, reforestation planning and general day-to-day activities, it’s easy to lose track of one very important aspect of the work we do: recreation! Forests aren’t just oxygen-producing, carbon-sequestering machines. They’re also places for play and relaxation, and tomorrow is a day designated just for that: It’s National Trails Day.

Hikers on the Little Zigzag Falls Trail in Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest

Hikers on the Little Zigzag Falls Trail in Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest. Credit: mthoodterritory.com

Sponsored by the American Hiking Society, the first Saturday every June is dedicated to celebrating and promoting trails and all their requisite activities, like hiking, biking, horseback riding and birding. With 200,000 miles of trails in the country, there are lots of places to see and explore.

National Trails Day, though, isn’t just about fun in the sun, as it also celebrates the men and women who work hard every day to ensure that the trails are safe and navigable. Over the years, American Forests has been proud to support some of their work restorating forested recreation areas, such as our work this year with Alcoa Foundation in Dorchester County, S.C., and California’s Angeles National Forest, both of which are projects designed to improve popular recreation sites.

So, if you hit up a trail tomorrow, remember to thank those who maintain it and make outdoor recreation possible. Also, if you’re planning on visiting one of America’s most famous trails, the Appalachian Trail, check out our Spring/Summer 2013 magazine feature “One Step at a Time: Hiking the National Scenic Trail” for an inside scoop on the 2,180-mile footpath before you go.

Don’t forget to tell us about your adventures in the comments section!

A view from the south end of the Trail of the Gargoyles in California’s Stanislaus National Forest

A view from the south end of the Trail of the Gargoyles in California’s Stanislaus National Forest. Credit: Ben Marshall/USFS