About American Trails

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American Trails advances the development of diverse, high quality trails and greenways for the benefit of people and communities. Through collaboration, education, and communication, American Trails raises awareness of the value these trail systems offer.



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american trails advances the development of
diverse, high quality trails and greenways

American Trails envisions the nation’s public trails and greenways being within reach of all people wherever they live, work, and play. This vision ensures that:

  • We connect people with the natural world by enabling those who build, maintain, use, and dream of trails.
  • We improve the nation’s quality of life, health, and well-being with trails and greenways used for recreation and transportation.
  • We invigorate communities financially by supporting trails that add valuable amenities that spur economic development.


Core Values:

At American Trails, we uphold a set of collective principles and ideals that guide our thoughts and work:

Teamwork — we understand we must work together as an organization and take an active role in serving the needs of trail communities.

Respect — we treat our staff, board members, colleagues, partners, and all members of the broader trails community with respect and dignity.

Fiscal Responsibility — we make sound economic decisions in order to generate the revenue that supports our work in service to our mission and vision.

Healthy Lifestyles — we understand the importance of health, fitness, and well-being, and reflect this understanding in our own lives.

Diversity — we promote diversity, as reflected in cultural background, age, gender, physical ability, and other factors, in the organization and its varied activities.

Inclusivity — we value the contributions each person makes, as staff, members of the Board and organization, delegates at the International Trails Symposium, and participants of American Trails programs.


Guiding principles:

American Trails seeks trails and greenways that promote:

Accessibility: A national infrastructure of trails and greenways that are a part of everyday life and accessible to all people of varying abilities, ages, and backgrounds

Healthy lifestyles: Improved fitness, health, and well-being for all people through trails and greenways that offer opportunities for physical activity, recreation, rejuvenation, and preventative health care

Economic vitality: A trail system that contributes to the financial strength and attractiveness of a community by enhancing business opportunities, tourism, and property values

Sustainable development: A trail system that offers alternative transportation opportunities, contributes to the health and vitality of a community, and connects people to nature

Best practices: Innovative, sustainable, and technically sound guidelines that are understood and applied by decision makers in the planning, design, development, and construction of high quality trail systems

Experiences in the outdoors: Responsible and enjoyable opportunities that are afforded to all trail users and contribute to each community of trail recreationists

Appreciation for the outdoors: Inspiring trail experiences that cultivate an appreciation for our natural and cultural heritage

Learning in the outdoors: Educational and interpretive opportunities that promote understanding, skills development, and appreciation of the environment

Connectivity: Trail systems that link communities, natural areas, and people as a means of recreation and transportation


If you're not already a member of American Trails, we hope you'll join us! Visit our Membership Center to learn about the various levels of membership and related benefits.

Thank you for supporting American Trails!




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