Author: Stuart Macdonald

Spiritual journeys: the light on the trail ahead

This is the time of year that most of the world celebrates life, the passing of the old, birth and rebirth. In our country, amid the holiday hoopla, we also seek the spiritual connection that is at the heart of our religious traditions. For many of us, that includes a brisk walk under the bare trees in the wan winter light, or braving the slopes to feel the crunch of snow and a glimpse of distant hills. From frozen meadows to salty sandscapes, this season is a time to be with people we love while savoring our beautiful natural...

Read More

Trails are making a difference

We had a great conversation with Nancy Desmond of Cleveland Metroparks, who told us how trails had made a difference in her life and career. Nancy is Partnership & Planning Assistant with the park district: “I’ve been a mountain biker and trail runner for years but I worked in park interpretation and education. I came from a history museum background, so didn’t think much about trails, I just used them. “A few years back our park planner asked me to substitute for her presenting at the American Trails Symposium in Little Rock. Not knowing what to expect, I quickly...

Read More

Congratulations on Arizona National Scenic Trail milestone

Pam Gluck, Executive Director American Trails, sent this letter to be read Dec. 16 at the completion ceremony of the Arizona National Scenic Trail: “Thank you to the inspirational leaders of the Arizona Trail Association, the dedicated land managing agencies and their tireless employees, and to all the volunteers who helped make this trail possible. Without loyal and dedicated supporters like you, Dale Shewalter’s vision wouldn’t have come true. I know if he were here today, he would be so immensely proud of the work you have managed to accomplish over the last 26 years. (And, I firmly believe...

Read More

Training survey completed; sighs of relief heard

Somewhere near midnight on November 30 the last person taking the Trails Training Survey was counted. It turned out that 755 people actually went through the whole thing and hit the “Submit” button. This wasn’t the shortest or the easiest survey, by a long shot. So we would like to thank trails people all over the country for sticking with it and giving us the benefit of their experience. Just that fact shows there is indeed considerable interest in training for trail skills. But there are a lot of things we hope to learn, such as the kinds of...

Read More

What draws people to a trail?

Amy Pendergast of Healthy Shasta asked a question that made me stop and think: “What are the top things that are most likely to draw people to the trail as repeated trail users?” We want trails to be attractive, in the broadest sense of the word, but what does that mean? For walkers, the classic popular trail is a loop around a lake that provides a half to two mile trip. Whether biking or walking, people like loop trails way better than backtracking. You’ll even see people walking around and around a ballfield or park. However, a trail up...

Read More

About Us

American Trails strives to enrich the quality of life for all people and the sustainable development of communities by advancing and promoting the development, preservation, and enjoyment of diverse, high quality trails and greenways. Learn more at

Subscribe to our newsletter