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Trail quotations

Quotations from the trails and greenways (part 3)

Contact the editor if you have a trail-related quotation to add to this document

Compiled and edited by Jim Schmid

Many of the quotes provided here were compiled for and published in Trail Quotes: From Advocacy to Wilderness, 2001, Jim Schmid, editor, South Carollina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Columbia, SC.

Many publications and conference presentations use quotations to add interest and to emphasize the importance of trails and greenways. By sharing the quotes collected by Jim Schmid, we hope that you might find just the right quotation for your publication or presentation, or you just might enjoy reading them on their own. The quotes are arranged loosely according to subject matter.

Any copyrighted material on these pages is used under "fair use" for the purpose of study and review. A thorough effort was made to clear any necessary reprint permissions. Any required acknowledgement omitted is unintentional.


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Long Distance Trails

To those who would see the Maine wilderness, tramp day by day through a succession of ever delightful forest, past lake and stream, and over mountains, we would say: Follow the Appalachian Trail across Maine. It cannot be followed on horse or awheel. Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, it beckons not merely north and south but upward to the body, mind and soul of man. –MYRON AVERY, In the Maine Woods, 1934

After more than two thousand miles on the [Appalachian] trail, you can expect to undergo some personality changes. A heightened affinity for nature infiltrates your life. Greater inner peace. Enhanced self-esteem. A quiet confidence that if I could do that, I can do and should do whatever I really want to do. More appreciation for what you have and less desire to acquire what you don’t. A childlike zest for living life to the fullest. A refusal to be embarrassed about having fun. A renewed faith in the essential goodness of humankind. And a determination to repay others for the many kindnesses you have received. –LARRY LUXENBERG, Walking the Appalachian Trail, 1994

I think if I could walk through a country I should not only see many things and have adventures that I should otherwise miss, but that I should come into relations with that country at first hand, and with the men and women in it, in a way that would afford the deepest satisfaction. –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

…hiking a 2000- or 3000-mile trail is a massive achievement. Unlike the Olympics or pro sports, it is achievable by ordinary people. Anyone in reasonable health can hike a long trail. The key ingredient is desire. –KAREN BERGER, Hiking the Triple Crown, 2001

The challenge of long-distance hiking goes beyond fitness; a connection also develops between the body and the land. –CHRIS TOWNSEND, The Advanced Backpacker, 2001

Hike your own hike. –APPALACHIAN TRAIL thru-hiker adage

I did it. I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it. [after she summited Katahdin] –EMMA ‘GRANDMA’ GATEWOOD, at age 67 first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (1955), 1887—1973

The Appalachian Trail. Those are magic words to anybody who has ever so much as spent a night in the woods. –PAUL HEMPHILL, Me and the Boy, 1986

The creation of the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conference) was one of two pivotal events in the history of the trail; the other was the signing of the National Trails System Act in 1968. The first provided a parent organization for clubs whose members work at maintaining the trail; the second provided federal protection for it. Achieving this protected status is the result of the enthusiasm and concern of a host of hikers during half a century. Perhaps it is unrivaled by any other single feat in the development of American outdoor recreation. –BENTON MACKAYE, foreword, The Appalachian Trail, 1972

Though new as an ‘endless footpath through the wilderness,’ the [Appalachian] Trail itself seems age-old, so naturally does it fit into its surroundings. Just a path, now through old clearings sweet scented with grasses in the sun, through dim forests, then up through scrub and out over bare mountain ledges, it seems it’s been since the beginning; it seems it will be till the end. –JEAN STEPHENSON, Impressions of the Maine Wilderness, Appalachian Trailway News, 1941

By dramatizing the long trail as the key to the Appalachian Empire, as he loved to call it, [Benton] MacKaye incited hundreds of others to participate in the laying out of the route, achieving by purely voluntary cooperation and love what the empire of the Incas had done in the Andes by compulsory organization. –LEWIS MUMFORD, US social philosopher and urban planner, 1895—1990

The Appalachian Trail is conceived as the backbone of a super reservation and primeval recreation ground covering the length (and width) of the Appalachian Range itself, its ultimate purpose being to extend acquaintance with the scenery and serve as a guide to the understanding of nature. –BENTON MACKAYE, founder of the Appalachian Trail, 1879—1975

We also come out here to learn about ourselves. The biggest prize in long-distance hiking is the gift of time. Time to look. Time to think. Time to feel. All those hours you spend with your thoughts. You don’t solve all of your problems, but you come to understand and accept yourself. –CINDY ROSS, Journey on the Crest, 1987

Our ultimate aim is more than just a trail–it is a whole system of them, a cobweb planned to cover the mountains of the eastern country. It is not ‘to turn the people loose in there’ and give vent to the vandal, but just the other way–to turn them loose to kill the vandal. Here is where the planning comes, for a playground and a living ground–well equipped, well cared for, and well used. –BENTON MACKAYE, Progress Toward the Appalachian Trail, Appalachia, 1922

The ideal mountain trail is one which has no end. The ideal trail journey is one which never turns back, but leads forever onward to discover what lies around the next bend and beyond the next crest. Such a trail is the Appalachian [Trail], and such is the kind of journey that, better than on any other trail in existence, may be made upon it. –ELMER ADAMS, Walking in the Clouds, 1939

We emerge then, with some of the philosophy of the ‘long trail.’ Basically the formula is simple. You start with a geological feature, such as a mountain range, that is not too highly developed yet close enough to the people that will use it. You clear a trail along it for recreational use, and mark the route with some standard marking. You build simple overnight shelters close to a supply of good, natural drinking water, and protect the land nearby so that you can keep the kind of trail you want. You tell the people about it and give them a guidebook to help them plan a safe and comfortable journey. The area encompassing a long trail may be too long and narrow to be managed efficiently by one single organization or agency, and a cooperative program of many groups may be needed. –STAN MURRAY, The Appalachian Trail, National Parks Magazine, December 1966

Pledge for Nature Lovers: To maintain and defend for the benefit and enjoyment of nature lovers the Pacific Crest Trailway as a primitive wilderness pathway in an environment of solitude, free from the sights and sounds of a mechanically disturbed nature. –CLINTON CLARKE, The Pacific Crest Trailway, 1945

….for travel on foot through the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. It is a means of sojourning among these lands, such that visitors may experience them by their own unaided efforts. In practice, the [Appalachian] Trail is usually a simple footpath, purposeful in direction and concept, favoring the heights of land, and located for minimum reliance on construction for protecting the resource. The body of the Trail is provided by the lands it traverses, and its soul is the living stewardship of the volunteers and workers of the Appalachian Trail community. –USDI NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, Comprehensive Plan for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, 1981

Myron [Avery] left two trails from Maine to Georgia. One was of hurt feelings and bruised egos. The other was the A.T. [Appalachian Trail]. The first will disappear, the second will last. –BILL MERSCH, speaking of Myron Avery, chairman of the Appalachian Trail Conference from 1931 to 1952

How can a book describe the psychological factors a person must prepare for … the despair, the alienation, the anxiety and especially the pain, both physical and mental, which slices to the very heart of the hiker’s volition, which are the real things that must be planned for? No words can transmit those factors, which are more a part of planning than the elementary rituals of food, money, and equipment, and how to get them. –CHUCK LONG, Pacific Crest Trail Hike Planning Guide, 1979

It was a clear day, with a brisk breeze blowing. North and south, sharp peaks etched the horizon. I felt as if atop the world, with a sort of planetary feeling. I seemed to perceive peaks far southward, hidden by old Earth’s curvature. Would a footpath some day reach them from where I was then perched? Little did I dream…. –BENTON MACKAYE, (founder of the Appalachian Trail), relating his climb to the summit of Stratton Mountain, VT, summer of 1900, in a letter to the general meeting of the Appalachian Trail Conference, 1964

At trail’s end no fertile valleys, no gold mines, no thriving ports are reached. The Pacific Crest Trail, like the other National Scenic Trails, is not a corridor to an economic end but rather is a process for individual change and growth. Although the trail’s end is a desirable goal, it is not a necessary one, for the traveler is enriched in a nonmaterial sense with every step he takes along the way. –JEFFREY SCHAFFER & DRS. BEV & FRED HARTLINE, The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume 2, 1979

The Appalachian Trail as originally conceived is not merely a footpath through the wilderness but a footpath of the wilderness. –BENTON MACKAYE, address to the members of the Seventh Appalachian Trail Conference, held at Skyland, VA, June 22, 1935

We celebrate not the trail, but the wild places it passes through. –RAY JARDINE, The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker’s Handbook, 1996

I want to see what’s on the other side of the hill–then what’s beyond that. –EMMA ‘GRANDMA’ GATEWOOD, at age 67 first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (1955), 1887—1973

The purpose of this organization shall be first to promote, construct, and maintain a connected trail, with related trails, to be called The Appalachian Trail, and to preserve and restore the natural environment of the Trail and its adjacent lands; and to provide an educational opportunity to enjoy the Appalachian Trail, related trails and adjacent lands. This Trail shall run, as far as practicable, over the summits of the mountains and through the wild lands of the Atlantic Seaboard and adjoining states from Maine to Georgia, so as to render accessible for hiking, backpacking, and other forms of primitive travel and living, the said mountains and wild lands, and shall be a means for conserving and developing, within this region, the primeval environment as a natural resource. –APPALACHIAN TRAIL CONFERENCE constitution, 1925

.…ultimate purpose is to conserve, use, and enjoy the mountain hinterland which penetrates the populous portion of America from north to south. The Trail (or system of trails) is a means for making the land accessible. The Appalachian Trail is to this Appalachian region what the Pacific Railway was to the Far West–a means of ‘opening up’ the country. But a very different kind of ‘opening up.’ Instead of a railway we want a ‘trailway’...
But unlike the railway the trailway must preserve (and develop) a certain environment. Otherwise its whole point is lost. The railway ‘opens up’ a country as a site for civilization; the trailway should ‘open up’ a country as an escape from civilization…. The path of the trailway should be as ‘pathless’ as possible; it should be the minimum consistent with practical accessibility.
–BENTON MACKAYE, founding meeting of the Appalachian Trail Conference, March 2-3, 1925

The [Appalachian] Trail is an entity of public and private hope–public because its establishment and perpetuation represent a curious maturity of civilization and private because the average hiker still has certain portions of the Trail he’s never seen and wants to hike as soon as he can. –ANN and MYRON SUTTON, The Appalachian Trail: Wilderness on the Doorstep, 1967

The Appalachian Trail is a wilderness strip; it could be very wide–several miles wide–if possible. It is not a trailway. Actually, the trail itself could be a strip no wider than space for a fat man to get through. And that’s the trouble: ‘Trailway’ is a very unfortunate word; it gives the impression of a Greyhound bus and a great cement, six-lane highway, which is just the opposite of what the trail is supposed to be. The idea is a foot trail, and if there is a wheel on it at all, there is no point in the Appalachian Trail. People should get that through their heads…. –BENTON MACKAYE, AIA Journal interview where he bluntly repudiated the Trailway concept as adopted by the Appalachian Trail Conference, 1971

And what is the [Appalachian] Trail?… It always was a place for people. People who care for land and tend a simple footpath as if it were their garden. –APPALACHIAN TRAIL CONFERENCE, Member Handbook, 1988

The Long Cruise was finished. Already it seemed like a vivid dream, through sunshine, shadow, and rain–Already I knew that many times I would want to be back again–On the cloud-high hills where the whole world lies below and far away–By the wind-worn cairn where admiring eyes first welcome newborn day–To walk once more where the white clouds sail, far from the city clutter–And drink a toast to the Long High Trail in clear, cold mountain water. Beside me as I stood there, happy yet sad, was another weatherbeaten sign, on a post held up by a heap of gathered stones. –EARL SHAFFER, atop Katahdin, upon completing first uninterrupted solo-hike of the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, 1948

To maintain and defend for the benefit and enjoyment of nature lovers the Pacific Crest Trailway as a primitive wilderness pathway in an environment of solitude, free from the sights and sounds of a mechanically disturbed nature. –CLINTON CLARKE, mission of the Pacific Crest Trail, 1932

What is suggested, therefore, is a ‘long trail’ over the full length of the Appalachian skyline, from the highest peak in the north to the highest peak in the south–from Mt. Washington to Mt. Mitchell. – BENTON MACKAYE, An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning, The Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 1921

[Benton] MacKaye felt it proper that government agencies administer the land but essential that volunteers, through the clubs, maintain and protect the [Appalachian] Trail. –DAVID MUENCH, Uncommon Places, 1991

High and dry above the stupendous detail of our job we should hold the reason for it all. This is not to cut a path and then say–‘Ain’t it beautiful’ Our job is to open a realm. This is something more than a geographical location–it is an environment. –BENTON MACKAYE, on the vision of the Appalachian Trail, 1925

One man told me I could run [the Appalachian Trail] right through his house if I wanted to; his explanation was that he had met his wife on the Trail. –MURRAY STEVENS, negotiating for Appalachian Trail to cross private property, 1927

In few regions of the world–certainly nowhere else in the United States–are found such a varied and priceless collection of the sculptured masterpieces of nature as adorn, strung like pearls, the mountain ranges of Washington, Oregon and California. The Pacific Crest Trailway is the cord that binds this necklace. –CLINTON CLARKE, founder of the Pacific Crest Trail, 1945

To walk; to see and to see what you see. –BENTON MACKAYE, on the ultimate purpose for hiking on the Appalachian Trail, 1971

Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, it [the Appalachian Trail] beckons [or leads] not merely north and south but upward to the body, mind and soul of man. –MYRON AVERY, final report to Appalachian Trail Conference, 1952; also attributed to Harold Allen, one of the early AT volunteers

The Appalachian Trail derives much of its strength and appeal from its uninterrupted and practically endless character. This is an attribute which must be preserved. I view the existence of this pathway and the opportunity to travel it, day after day without interruption, as a distinct aspect of our American life. –MYRON AVERY, final report to Appalachian Trail Conference, 1952

Those of us, who have physically worked on the [Appalachian] Trail, know that the Trail, as such, will never be completed. –MYRON AVERY, Appalachian Trail Conference meeting in Gatlinburg, TN, 1937

It is the love of country, the love of primal nature and of human nature, the lure of crestline and comradeship, which we like to think of as being indigenous to our own homeland. In short, the object of the Appalachian Trail is to develop the Indigenous America. –BENTON MACKAYE, founder of the Appalachian Trail, 1879—1975

Each [national scenic trail] should stand out in its own right as a recreation resource ... be built to harmonize with the natural areas they cross ... and afford the visitor closeup instruction in nature and her ways. The entire length of each, together with sufficient land area on both sides to safeguard adequately and preserve its character, should be protected in some form of public control. Federal and state agencies should modify timber harvesting, livestock grazing, and special permit practices to protect trail quality … and the natural and scenic qualities and historic features along and near national scenic trails must be protected. –USDI BUREAU of OUTDOOR RECREATION, Trails for America: Report on the Nationwide Trails Study, 1966

I read about this [Appalachian] trail three years ago in a magazine, and the article told about the beautiful trail, how well marked it was, that it was cleared out, and that there were shelters at the end of a good day’s hike. I thought it would be a nice lark. It wasn’t. There were terrible blow-downs, burnt-over areas that were never remarked, gravel and sand washouts, weeds and brush to your neck, and most of the shelters were blown down, burned down, or so filthy I chose to sleep out of doors. This is no trail. This is a nightmare. For some fool reason, they always lead you right up over the biggest rock to the top of the biggest mountain they can find. I’ve seen every fire station between here and Georgia. Why, an Indian would die laughing his head off if he saw [that] trail. I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was, but I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t quit. –October 10, 1955 Sports Illustrated article about Emma ‘Grandma’ Gatewood, at age 67 first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail

.…opportunities for observation, contemplation, enjoyment and exploration of the natural world; a sense of remoteness and detachment from civilization; opportunities to experience solitude, freedom, personal accomplishment, self-reliance, and self-discovery; a sense of being on the height of the land; opportunities to experience the cultural, historical, and pastoral elements of the surrounding countryside; a feeling of being part of the natural environment; and opportunities for travel on foot, including opportunities for long-distance hiking. –APPALACHIAN TRAIL CONFERENCE, defining the Appalachian Trail experience, 1997

The old pioneer opened through the forest a path for the spread of civilization. Now comes the great task of holding this life in check–for it is just as bad to have too much urbanization as too little. It is just as vital today to open up our overcrowded areas as it was a century ago to open up the overwooded areas. Hence the Appalachian Trail. –BENTON MACKAYE, founder of the Appalachian Trail, 1879—1975


Some study has … been given to the differentiation of normal and abnormal erosion. This seems a question of academic rather than practical interest. If erosion is taking away land heretofore untouched, at a rate which will destroy that land within a generation, and if that erosion looks in any degree preventable, the first step is to prevent, not classify. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

Erosion, whether caused by boots, hooves, or bike tires, is still erosion. –PETER OLIVER, Bicycling: Touring and Mountain Bike Basics, 1995

A well-maintained trail is fun to hike on. With a broad, well-marked path free of debris, hikers can concentrate more on their surroundings and less on the footpath. –VICTORIA LOGUE, Backpacking: Essential Skills to Advanced Techniques, 2000

The desired standards of trail upkeep are those which are necessary to maintain the standard of construction established herein. Well-balance work, not polish, is wanted. To underdo maintenance is bad. To overdo it is worse, because a dollar unspent remains available to correct mistakes, while more dollars spent than necessary are simply wasted. –USDA FOREST SERVICE, Forest Trail Handbook, 1935

A slow and steady stream of water will, in time, erode the hardest rock… –DAVID CAMPBELL, If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You’ll Probably End Up Somewhere Else, 1974

A trail is as serviceable as its poorest link. –BENTON MACKAYE, An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning, The Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 1921

Ten years ago ... the job of the Trail Crew was to make passage through the mountains easier for the people who hiked. Now the main concern of the Trail Crew is to lessen the impact on the environment that great numbers of people make. –APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB trail crew leader, 1971

We have to get away from looking at [trail] maintenance as a ‘duty’ and as ‘work,’ and start selling it as a fun sport separate from hiking with its own types of equipment, styles, methods, approaches, rewards, etc. Why is the maintainer looking up to the hiker? Why is the greater dream to walk 2000 miles and not to maintain the perfect 5-mile section? –JOHN SCHOEN, member of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, 1981

The first priority for trail work is to correct truly unsafe situations. This could mean repairing impassable washouts along a cliff, or removing blowdown from a steep section of a packstock trail.
The second priority is to correct things causing significant trail damage–erosion, sedimentation, and off-site trampling, for instance.
The third priority is to restore the trail to the planned design standard. This means that the ease of finding and traveling the trail matches the design specifications for the recreational setting and target user. Actions range from simply adding ‘reassurance markers’ to full-blown reconstruction of eroded tread or failed structures.
Whatever the priority, doing maintenance when the need is first noticed will help prevent more severe and costly damage later.
, Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook, 1999

.…the rangers know how to locate trails wisely on a gradual traverse upslope instead of going straight up and down; they know how to put in water bars at regular intervals to shunt the water flow off the trails onto the forest floor where it can be slowly absorbed. To a great extent we already have the technical know-how, though admittedly we have yet to devise aesthetically pleasing techniques to preserve the naturalistic settings along the trails. What we frankly don’t have is the necessary staff of trail rangers to handle the upkeep problems created by the hordes of recreationists now exploring the mountain slopes. –E.H. KETLEDGE and R.E. LEONARD, The Impact of Man on the Adirondack High Country, The Conservationist, 25(2), 1970


We need no more words on the matter. What we need now are heroes. And heroines. About a million of them. One brave deed is worth a thousand books. Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul. –EDWARD ABBEY, Beyond the Wall, 1984

I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is my appreciation and encouragement. –CHARLES SCHWAB, CEO, Charles Schwab and Co., 1937-

The Possible’s slow fuse is lit by the Imagination. –EMILY DICKINSON, US poet, 1830-86

The mountains are calling me and I must go… –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838–1914

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. – ALAN WATTS, interpreter of Eastern philosophies for the West, 1915-73

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have. –EMILE CHARTIER, French philosopher, 1868-1951

We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing. –OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, US physician, poet, and humorist, 1809—94

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. –CHARLES E. DEDERICH, Synanon founder, 1914-97

Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult… –OG MANDINO, US motivational author and lecturer, 1923-96

Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top, it is the willpower that is the most important. This willpower you cannot buy with money or be given by others–it rises from your heart. –JUNKO TABEI, first woman to summit Mount Everest (1975), quoted in Women Climbing–200 Years of Achievement, Bill Birkett and Bill Peascod, 1989

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. –HELEN KELLER, deaf & blind US lecturer, 1880—1968

Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground. –THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Twenty-sixth US President (1901—09), 1858—1919

Self-respect is a product of doing difficult things, and doing them well. –GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Irish dramatist, 1856—1950

Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. –DAG HAMMARSKHJOLD, Secretary General of the United Nations, (1953—61), 1905—61

We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success. – HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

The secret of success is constancy of purpose. –BENJAMIN DISRAELI, English author and politician, 1804-81

Fortune favors the audacious. –DESIDERIUS ERASMUS ROTERODAMUS, Dutch humanist and theologian, 1466-1536

That which we persist in doing becomes easier–not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability has increased. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Work is much more fun than fun. –NOEL COWARD, English playwright, actor, composer, director, 1899-1973

Begin where you are. Act into your goals. When you are hiking cross-country, it is often necessary to get to the top of one hill or plateau before you can see the next peak. From the starting point, you couldn’t have seen the peak that now stands before you. You had to get on the trail first. Always go as far as you can, based upon your current understanding. This creates a positive force of momentum. The more invested you are in the outcome, the less likely you are to turn back when the going gets rough. Go to the highest peak you can, and see what you can see from there. –LAURENCE BOLDT, Zen and the Art of Making a Living, 1991

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is to you. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Everybody lives by selling something. –ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, Scottish author and poet, 1850—94

The only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is the willingness to work very, very hard. –HELEN GURLEY BROWN, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan magazine [1965- ], 1922-

Life is what you make it, always has been, always will be. –ANNE MARY ‘GRANDMA’ MOSES, US folk painter, 1860-1961

It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem. –G. K. CHESTERTON, English novelist and poet, 1874-1936

Success is a journey, not a destination. –DEEPAK CHOPRA, US (Indian-born) holistic healing advocate, 1947-

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success. –JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, US oil industrialist and philanthropist, 1839-1937

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. –LINUS PAULING, US chemist and pacifist, 1901-94

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. –MARK TWAIN (Samuel Clemens), US writer and humorist, 1835—1910

Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps. – DAVID LLOYD GEORGE, British orator and politician, 1863-1945

When I was young, I observed that nine out of every 10 things I did failed, so I did 10 times more work. – GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Irish dramatist, 1856—1950

When we do more than we are paid to do, eventually we will be paid more for what we do. –ZIG ZIGLAR, US motivational author and speaker, 1926-

You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things, to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals. –EDMUND HILLARY, first to summit Everest (1953), 1919—

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people. –GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Irish dramatist, 1856-1950

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become. –BUDDHA, East Indian philosopher and religious leader, 563?-483?

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. –MARK TWAIN (Samuel Clemens), US writer and humorist, 1835—1910

The moment avoiding failure becomes your motivation, you’re down the path of inactivity. You stumble only if you’re moving. –ROBERTO GOIZUETA, CEO of Coca-Cola Co. [1981-97], 1931-97

Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains. –WILLIAM PENN, US Quaker religious leader, 1644-1718

There’s magic in you. Let it out. –DAVID BROWER, Executive Director, Sierra Club (1952—69), 1912-2000

Long-distance hiking is at least as much a mental challenge as a physical one. The most important ingredient for successfully completing a long-distance hike is your will to do so. Experience, skill, equipment, money, and time may all play a part, but none of them will be any use if you don’t really want to succeed, if you’re not really determined to finish. –CHRIS TOWNSEND, The Advanced Backpacker, 2001

Live with passion. –ANTHONY ROBBINS, Personal Power, 1989

The past does not equal the future. –ANTHONY ROBBINS, Personal Power, 1989

I think I am in this world to find beauty in lonely places. –LOUIS L’AMOUR, Jubal Sackett, Western writer, 1908—88

Well, we knocked the bastard off! –EDMUND HILLARY, on climbing Everest May 29, 1953, 1919—

The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds. –ALBERT SCHWEITZER, German medical missionary, 1875-1965

Only asset is the human imagination. –TOM PETERS, Tom Peter’s Seminar, 1994

Be bold about your actions. All life is an experiment. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

I woulda done some really cool stuff, but my boss wouldn’t let me. –TOM PETERS, Reinventing Work, 1999.

Action is everything. –ANTHONY ROBBINS, Personal Power, 1989

It’s not what happens. It’s what you do that makes the difference. –ANTHONY ROBBINS, Personal Power, 1989

Nonconformity is the highest evolutionary attainment of social animals…. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

We are always getting ready to live, but never living. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I do not believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they cannot find them, make them. –GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Irish dramatist, 1856—1950

To pursue is to explore, and the first step is to seek the mountain top. –BENTON MACKAYE, founder of the Appalachian Trail, 1879—1975

Make voyages. Attempt them. That’s all there is. –TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, US playwright, 1911—1983, Camino Real, 1953

The best antidote to fear is confidence– confidence that what you are working for is truly important. And it is! –PETER HARNICK, Converting Rails to Trails, 1989

I’ve never been interested in just doing with less. I’m interested in doing more with less. We don’t have to become vegetarians and ride bicycles to save the Earth. –AMORY LOVINS, Smithsonian, April 1990

Life is eating us up. We all shall be fables presently. Keep cool: it will be all one a hundred years hence. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Self-Reliance, Essays: First Series, 1841

A straight path never leads anywhere except to the objective. –ANDRE GIDE, Journals, 1922

Never before have we had so little time to do so much. New ideas can be good and bad, just the same as old ones. One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment. If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along. –FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Thirty-second US President (1933-45), 1882-1945

Life always gets harder toward the summit–the cold increases, responsibility increases. –FRIEDRICH WILHELM NIETZSCHE, German philosopher, poet, and critic, 1844-1900

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you’re sure to awaken someone. –HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, US poet, 1807-82

All things are possible until they are proved impossible–and even the impossible may only be so, as of now. –PEARL S. BUCK, A Bridge for Passing, 1962

For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice. –JOHN BURROUGHS, US essayist and naturalist, 1837—1921

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community … and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. – GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Irish dramatist, 1856—1950

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men who experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. –HELEN KELLER, deaf & blind US lecturer, 1880—1968

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for others? –GEORGE ELIOT, (pen name of Mary Ann Evans), English novelist, 1819—80

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

What we get from this adventure [climbing Mount Everest] is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for. –GEORGE MALORY, English mountaineer, 1886—1924

The wise man bridges the gap by laying out the path by means of which he can get from where he is to where he wants to go. –J.P. MORGAN, US financier, 1837-1913

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or worse as is his portion; that though the universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Self-Reliance, Essays: First Series, 1841

I am glad I did it, partly because it was well worth it, and chiefly because I shall never have to do it again. –MARK TWAIN (Samuel Clemens), US writer and humorist, 1835—1910

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something. Don’t just stand there, make it happen. –LEE IACOCCA, US automobile executive, 1924-

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Self-Reliance, Essays: First Series, 1841

A man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, can never regain its original dimension. –OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, US physician, poet, and humorist, 1809—94

Great things are done when men and mountains meet;
This is not done by jostling in the street. –WILLIAM BLAKE, English poet, 1757—1827

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what needs to be done and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. –GEORGE S. PATTON, US Army General, 1885—1945

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Go as far as the eye can see, and when you get there, look farther. –DAG HAMMARSKHJOLD, Secretary General of the United Nations, (1953—61), 1905—61

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing. –DALE CARNEGIE, US lecturer, 1888—1955

Be very careful what you set your heart upon, for you will surely have it. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success. –HENRY FORD, US industrialist, 1863—1947

Never, never, never, never give up. –WINSTON CHURCHILL, British statesman, 1874—1965

Speak what you think today in words as hard as cannonballs, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Self-Reliance, Essays: First Series, 1841

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it, if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. –THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Twenty-sixth US President (1901—09), 1858—1919

Some see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not. – GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Irish dramatist, 1856—1950

Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence, when you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably. –WALT DISNEY, motion picture producer, 1901—66

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. –MARK 11:24

If God be for us, who can be against us? –ROMANS 8:31

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Seize the day, put no trust in the morrow. –HORACE, Latin lyric poet, 65—8 BC

THIS IS WHAT YOU SHALL DO: Be loyal to what you love, be true to the earth, fight your enemies with passion and laughter. –EDWARD ABBEY, US environmental advocate, 1927—89

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a process; working together is success. –HENRY FORD, US industrialist, 1863—1947

Sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny. –WILLIAM JAMES, US psychologist and philosopher, 1842—1920

People usually fail when they are on the verge of success so give as much care to the end, as the beginning. –LAO-TZU, Chinese philosopher, 604—531 BC

In the long run, we only hit what we aim at. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. – CALVIN COOLIDGE, Thirtieth US President (1923—29), 1872—1933

The invariable mark of a dream is to see it come true every day. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. – MATTHEW 7:7

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Do what you can with what you have, where you are. –THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Twenty-sixth US President (1901—09), 1858—1919

As life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time, at the peril of being not to have lived. –OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, US physician, poet, and humorist, 1809—94

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. –VICTOR HUGO, French poet, novelist, and dramatist, 1802—85

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, things aren’t going to get better, they’re not! – THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL, (better known as Dr. Suess), 1904—91

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. –THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Twenty-sixth US President (1901—09), 1858—1919

The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do. –DENIS WAITLEY, motivational speaker and author, 1933

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. –THOMAS EDISON, US inventor, 1847-1931

There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There’s no such thing as life in-between. –PAT RILEY, NBA basketball coach, 1945—

Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it. –EDMUND HILLARY, first to summit Everest (1953), 1919—

Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing. –ZIG ZIGLAR, motivational speaker and author, 1926-

The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes. –BENJAMIN DISRAELI, British Prime Minister, (1874-80), 1804—81

Exceed expectations. We are not driven to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things extraordinarily well. –CHARLES GORE, English bishop and theologian, 1853—1932

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. –JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, German philosopher and writer, 1749—1832

It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. –EDMUND HILLARY, first to summit Everest (1953), 1919—

We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough. –HELEN KELLER, deaf & blind US lecturer, 1880—1968

Failure is impossible. –SUSAN B. ANTHONY, US crusader for women’s suffrage, 1820—1906

Enthusiasm was understood by the ancient Greeks to mean ‘God within us.’ And so it is that when we open ourselves to enthusiasm we receive something from above that makes us capable of achievements otherwise beyond our powers. Enthusiasm is the burning spirit within that says, ‘I can!’ It is the indomitable ‘Yes!’ without which nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished. –ROYAL ROBBINS, US climber and retailer, 1935—

Mountains cannot be surmounted except by winding paths. –JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, German philosopher and writer, 1749—1832

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood, and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans: aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram, once recorded, will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watch-word be order and your beacon beauty. –DANIEL BURNHAM, US architect and city planner, 1846-1912

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Circles, Essays, First Series, 1841

Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men. –JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, German philosopher and writer, 1749—1832

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live a life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. –MARGARET MEAD, US anthropologist, 1901—78

This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy. –SUSAN POLIS SCHUTZ, US writer, 1944-

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. –JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, German philosopher and writer, 1749—1832

The mountains can be reached in all seasons. They offer a fighting challenge to heart, soul and mind, both in summer and winter. If throughout time the youth of the nation accept the challenge the mountains offer, they will keep alive in our people the spirit of adventure. That spirit is a measure of the vitality of both nations and men. A people who climb the ridges and sleep under the stars in high mountain meadows, who enter the forest and scale the peaks, who explore glaciers and walk ridges buried deep in snow–these people will give the country some of the indomitable spirit of the mountains. –WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS, Supreme Court Justice and avid hiker, 1898—1980

The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the others willing to let them. –ROBERT FROST, US Poet, 1874—1963

We are not here merely to make a living. We are here to enrich the world, and we impoverish ourselves if we forget this errand. –WOODROW WILSON, Twenty-eight US President (1913—21), 1856—1924

Mountain Biking

Now, more than ever, responsible riding is essential to helping ensure the long-term health of mountain biking–and the areas that truly make the mountain biking experience what it is. –LEAVE NO TRACE INC., Mountain Biking, 2001

Today, mountain biking is one of the most popular forms of trail recreation–not only in North America, but in much of the world. In the US alone, more than 10 million people regularly ride mountain bikes on trails. –LEAVE NO TRACE INC., Mountain Biking, 2001

Mountain biking is an amazing mix of outdoor adventure, appreciation, thrill, exploration, skill and fitness. On a mountain bike, you can pedal at a pace that promotes intimacy and interaction with the environment, meandering through a section of quiet forest before stopping to take in the beauty around you. Or you can swoop along an open single-track before testing your skill on a steep descent. – LEAVE NO TRACE INC., Mountain Biking, 2001

Government authorities and public representatives at all levels are supposed to be accountable to all the people, including you and your mountain biking friends. If you have the right arguments and present them reasonably, chances are pretty good you’ll be able to secure or retain access in most cases where you and your bike don’t represent a serious threat to the environment. –ROB VAN DER PLAS, The Mountain Bike Book, 1990

I’ve seen mountain bike rides transform people–not just their bodies, but their way of thinking. Their spirit. –CHARLIE CUNNINGHAM, mountain biking pioneer, 1949-

It’s a feeling you get on certain trails, when you’re reacting like you and your machine are just one thing. It’s the feel of physical exertion and speed and technique all wrapped into one. –NED OVEREND, winner of first-ever mountain bike world championships (1990), 1955-

No model of bike has ever taken the US market the way these [mountain] bikes have. –BILL WILKINSON, Executive Director, Bicycle Federation of America, 1987

There were many steps in the evolution of the mountain bike. There was no single inventor. –JOE BREEZE, builder of the first frame specifically designed for mountain biking (1977), 1953-

IMBA Rules of the Trail:

  1. Ride on open trails only
  2. Leave no trace
  3. Control your bicycle
  4. Always yield trail
  5. Never spook animals
  6. Plan ahead
    , 1989

Perhaps the key message that can be learned from the evolution of cycling trail access is the importance of personal responsibility. Following trail rules, respecting fellow trail users, and leaving no trace are the simple methods that will help assure the sport’s future. –TIM BLUMENTHAL, Executive Director, International Mountain Bicycle Association, 1995

You’re moving through a wonderful natural environment and working on balance, timing, depth perception, judgment… It forms kind of a ballet. –CHARLIE CUNNINGHAM, mountain biking pioneer, 1949-

We were just having fun. I always liked that line. It’s true–that’s all we were doing in the late ‘70s. People think there was some marketing genius behind the development of mountain bikes, but we were just having fun. –JOE BREEZE, builder of the first frame specifically designed for mountain biking (1977), 1953-

Mountain biking helps people become environmentalists. A mountain bike is a vehicle to appreciate the backcountry. –NED OVEREND, winner of first-ever mountain bike world championships (1990), 1955-

Anyone who says that mountain bikers are always occupied with speed and precision doesn’t have a clue. –TIM BLUMENTHAL, Executive Director, International Mountain Bicycle Association, 1995

National Forests

Outdoor recreation ranks today as one of the major resources or utilities of the National Forests, not because of anything the government has done to facilitate or increase this form of use, but because of the demonstrated belief of several millions of people that Forests offer a broad and varied field of recreational opportunity. –USDA FOREST SERVICE, Report of the Forester, 1922

Trails will be maintained, reconstructed, and constructed in the interests of: (a) Fire control; (b) administration; (c) grazing; (d) recreation. The objects of trail construction are (a) to provide safe and unobstructed passage of loaded animals and foot travelers at a walking gait and in single file; (b) durability designed to meet expected use and liability of damage from natural causes. –USDA FOREST SERVICE, Forest Trail Handbook, 1935

A ranger must be able to take care of himself and his horses under very trying conditions; build trails and cabins; ride all day and all night; pack, shoot and fight fire without losing his head…. All this requires a very vigorous constitution…. Invalids need not apply! –USDA FOREST SERVICE help-wanted flyer, 1905

So great is the value of national forest areas for recreation, and so certain is this value to increase with the growth of the country and the shrinkage of the wilderness, that even if the forest resources of wood and water were not to be required by the civilization of the future, many of the forests ought certainly to be preserved, in the interest of national health and well-being, for recreation use alone. – TREADWELL CLEVELAND, National Forests as Recreation Grounds, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 35(2), March 1910

The national forests are designed by Congress for ‘multiple’ use. That is the professed policy. I had long suspected that ‘multiple’ use was semantics for making cattlemen, sheepmen, lumbermen, miners the main beneficiaries. After they gutted and ruined the forests, then the rest of us could use them–to find campsites among stumps, to look for fish in waters heavy with silt from erosion, to search for game on ridges pounded to dust by sheep. –WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS, My Wilderness: East to Katahdin, 1961

….recreation is a major value of the forests … the woods and mountains should be enjoyed by their owners, the citizens of the United States…. –JOHN SIEKER, Trees, Yearbook of Agriculture, 1949

There are many great interests on the national forests which sometimes conflict a little. They must all be made to fit into one another so that the machine runs smoothly as a whole. It is often necessary for one man to give way a little here, another a little there. But by giving way a little at present, they both profit by it a great deal in the end.
National forests exist today because the people want them. To make them accomplish the most good, the people themselves must make clear how they want them run. –GIFFORD PINCHOT, first Chief of the US Forest Service, (1905), 1865—1946

National Reports

The National Park Service has a twenty-first century responsibility of great importance. It is to proclaim anew the meaning and value of parks, conservation, and recreation; to expand the learning and research occurring in parks and share that knowledge broadly; and to encourage all Americans to experience these special places. As a people, our quality of life–our very health and well-being depends in the most basic way on the protection of nature, the accessibility of open space and recreation opportunities, and the preservation of landmarks that illustrate our historic continuity. By caring for the parks and conveying the park ethic, we care for ourselves and act on behalf of the future. The larger purpose of this mission is to build a citizenry that is committed to conserving its heritage and its home on earth. –NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM ADVISORY BOARD, Rethinking the National Parks for the 21st Century, 2001

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in order to preserve, develop, and assure accessibility to all American people of present and future generations such quality and quantity of outdoor recreation resources as will be necessary and desirable for individual enjoyment, and to assure the spiritual, cultural, and physical benefits that such outdoor recreation provides; in order to inventory and evaluate the outdoor recreation resources and opportunities of the Nation, to determine the types and location of such resources and opportunities which will be required by present and future generations; and in order to make comprehensive information and recommendations leading to these goals available to the President, the Congress, and the individual States and Territories, there is hereby authorized and created a bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. –PUBLIC LAW 85-470, 1958

Government has three basic responsibilities: (1) To insure, either directly or in cooperation with the private sector, that Americans have access to the outdoor environment and an opportunity to benefit from such activities as enjoyment of scenery and wildlife, picnicking, and hiking; (2) to recognize the importance of recreation in the management of its own lands; and (3) to preserve certain outstanding resources for future generations. –OUTDOOR RECREATION RESOURCES REVIEW COMMISSION, Outdoor Recreation for America, 1962

The outdoors lies deep in American tradition. It has had immeasurable impact on the Nation’s character and on those who made it’s history…. When an American looks for the meaning of his past, he seeks it not in ancient ruins, but more likely in mountains and forests, by a river, or at the edge of the sea…. Today’s challenge is to assure all Americans permanent access to their outdoor heritage. – OUTDOOR RECREATION RESOURCES REVIEW COMMISSION, Outdoor Recreation for America, 1962

The most basic thing that can be done is to encourage the simple pleasures of walking and cycling. It is something of a tribute to Americans that they do as much cycling and walking as they do, for very little has been done to encourage these activities, and a good bit, if inadvertently, to discourage them. We are spending billions for our new highways, but few of them being constructed or planned make any provision for safe walking and cycling. And many of the suburban developments surrounding our cities do not even have sidewalks, much less cycle paths.

Europe, which has even greater population, has much to teach us about building recreation into the environment. Holland is constructing a national network of bicycle trails. In Scotland, the right of the public to walk over the privately owned moors goes back centuries. In Scandinavia, buses going from the city to the countryside have pegs on their sides on which people can hang their bicycles. Car ownership is rising all over Europe, but in the planning of their roads and the posting of them, Europeans make a special effort to provide for those who walk or cycle.

Why not here? Along the broad rights-of-way of our highways–particularly those in suburban areas–simple trails could be laid out for walkers and cyclists. Existing rights-of-way for high tension lines, now so often left to weeds and rubble, could at very little cost be made into a ‘connector’ network of attractive walkways.

We have the choice of whether we want our communities as they grow to become a jumble of unsightly development and noisy concrete deserts, or whether we will preserve fresh, green pockets and corridors of living open space that cleanse our air and waters and refresh our populations. We have the responsibility and the capacity to choose, for ourselves, our neighbors, and for future generations. –PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION ON AMERICANS OUTDOORS, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987

[The Commission recommended that] all Americans be able to go out their front doors and within fifteen minutes be on trails that wind through their cities, town or villages and brings them back without retracing steps. They could travel across America on trails that connect one community to another and stretch from coast to coast, and from border to border. –PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION ON AMERICANS OUTDOORS, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987

More than anything else, we found in Americans a love of the land, and a shared conviction that it is our legacy for the future. We found that recreation is important to people in their daily lives, and that most of them cannot imagine a world in which they did not have access to the outdoors. We found that Americans are willing to work, and to pay, to see that quality outdoor opportunities continue to be available to them, and to their children’s children. –PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION ON AMERICANS OUTDOORS, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987

The Great Outdoors is still great. But we found that we are facing a deterioration of the natural resource base, and of the recreation infrastructure. Accelerating development of our remaining open spaces, wetlands, shorelines, historic sites, and countrysides, and deferred maintenance and care of our existing resources, are robbing future generations of the heritage which is their birthright. We are selling the backyard to buy groceries…. –PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION ON AMERICANS OUTDOORS, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987

According to 13 national surveys conducted between 1959 and 1978, trail-related activities consistently rank among the ten most popular outdoor recreation activities. Historically, trails in the United States are not the result of conscious recreation planning decisions. Consequently, many trail routes pass over private property or along public rights-of-way and are subject to disruption and environmental degradation as development threats grow. This susceptibility is of particular concern as public interest in trails continues to grow at a rapid rate. –LAWRENCE KLAR and JEAN KAVANAGH, Literature review for the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors report, 1986

Trail opportunities should exist within 15 minutes of most American’s homes. –AMERICAN TRAILS, Trails for All Americans report, 1990

The creation of a true national system of trails begins with all Americans in their own backyards–in neighborhoods and communities, in churches, schools and social organizations, in cities and towns, in every county and state. –AMERICAN TRAILS, Trails for All Americans report, 1990

The time for trails is now, if we all act now, we can begin to see results. We can realize the vision of a system of trails, connecting people and communities. This can be the era of the recreational interstate system–with a trail within 15 minutes of most of our homes. –AMERICAN TRAILS, Trails for All Americans report, 1990

.…a national system is one that is made up of trails in a city or town, those that pass through the countryside, those on private lands and on public lands in state and national parks and forests. Creating a system means learning where trails are and developing connections that link them together into networks and where desirable and necessary, building new trails that also connect. Just as the nation’s roads, whether interstate highways, state roads, county roads or village streets, are seen as a system, developed and managed by various entities and levels of government, so should trails be viewed. A system will result only when individual trails or a community or park or forest trail system are looked at and planned for in the context of a larger system. –AMERICAN TRAILS, Trails for All Americans report, 1990


Walking, hiking, and bicycling are simple pleasures within the economic reach of virtually all citizens. Horseback riding, even though increasingly expensive for urban dwellers, is available to a large portion of Americans. Opportunities to enjoy these basic activities have become increasingly limited for the American people as the society has urbanized and as economic development has preempted areas which had earlier been devoted to outdoor recreation areas. Today, with more leisure time and with rising amounts of disposable income available for recreation users, more and more Americans are seeking relaxation and physical and spiritual renewal in the enjoyment of the traditional simple pleasures.

The changing population characteristics of the United States point to a multiplying demand for outdoor recreation opportunities of all kinds. An expected two-fold increase in the number of people by the year 2000 will mean at least a three-fold increase in the demand for recreation according to the O.R.R.R.C. (Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission). Trails, with all other forms of outdoor recreation, will be in short supply unless adequate facilities systematically are provided.

Trails near metropolitan centers where a disproportionate share of the increasing population will be located are especially inadequate.

Walking for pleasure will increase from 566 million occasions of participation in 1960, to 1,569 million by the year 2000, a 277 percent increase. Hiking will jump 358 percent, from 34 million to 125 million.

Trails represent a major opportunity to satisfy the demand for outdoor recreation. By their nature, they afford a low-concentration, dispersed type of recreation that is much sought after today. Trails are the means to some of the most beneficial kinds of exercise–walking, hiking, horseback riding, and cycling. Trails enable people to reach prime areas for hunting, fishing, and camping; they lead to areas prized by students of nature and history; they are used by artists and photographers; they help to satisfy the craving many people have for solitude and the beauty of untrammeled lands and water.
–USDI BUREAU of OUTDOOR RECREATION, Trails for America: Report on the Nationwide Trails Study, 1966

National Trails System


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 9 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944, approved December 20, 1944 (58 Stat. 838), is amended by inserting at the end thereof a new subsection to read as follows:

"(d) For the construction and maintenance within the continental United States of a national system of foot or horse trails, not to exceed ten thousand miles in total length, to be devoted solely for foot or horse travel and camping, which activities will develop the physical fitness and self-reliance of, and an appreciation of nature in, the people of this Nation, and serve as a part of the basic training of our youth for service in the armed forces, there is hereby authorized to be appropriated the sum of $50,000 for the first fiscal year for which appropriations are made hereafter for purposes of this subsection, a like amount for each of the second and third years thereafter, and such sums as may be necessary for each fiscal year thereafter. The Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture is authorized and directed to construct, develop, and maintain said national system of trails, cooperating with other Federal agencies and with States and political subdivisions thereof in areas where trails of such system cross property under the jurisdiction of such other federal agencies or owned by States and political subdivisions thereof: Provided, That where trails of such system cross lands under the administrative jurisdiction of another Federal agency, or where they cross lands owned by a State or political subdivisions thereof, the Forest Service may perform the functions authorized herein with respect to such lands only with the approval of such other agency. All trails of such system shall be constructed, developed, and maintained in a manner which will preserve as far as possible the wilderness, historic, or scientific values of the areas traversed by the trails of such system. The Forest Service is authorized to acquire such lands and easements as may be necessary for such system and to provide shelters, signs, maps, guidebooks, and other attendant facilities. The Appalachian Trail, a mountain footpath extending from Maine to Georgia for two thousand and fifty miles, and the Pacific Crest Trail, extending from Canada to Mexico through Washington, Oregon, and California, shall be included as trails of the said national system of trails."
–THE "HOCH BILL" H.R. 5479, 80th Congress, 2d session (As re-introduced in the House of Representatives on February 19, 1948)


(Public Law 90-543, 1968) (16 U.S.C. 1241 et. seq.)

AN ACT To establish a national trails system, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 1. This Act my be cited as the ‘National Trails System Act.’


SEC. 2. (a) In order to provide for the ever-increasing outdoor recreation needs of an expanding population and in order to promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the Nation, trails should be established (i) primarily, near the urban areas of the Nation, and (ii) secondarily, within scenic areas and along historic travel routes of the Nation, which are often more remotely located.

(b) The purpose of this Act is to provide the means for attaining these objectives by instituting a national system of recreation, scenic and historic trails, by designating the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail as the initial components of that system, and by prescribing the methods by which, and standards according to which, additional components may be added to the system.

(c) The Congress recognizes the valuable contributions that volunteers and private, nonprofit trail groups have made to the development and maintenance of the Nation’s trails. In recognition of these contributions, it is further the purpose of this Act to encourage and assist volunteer citizen involvement in the planning, development, maintenance, and management, where appropriate, of trails.


SEC. 3. (a) The national system of trails shall be composed of the following:

(1) National recreation trails, established as provided in section 4 of this Act, which will provide a variety of outdoor recreation uses in or reasonably accessible to urban areas.

(2) National scenic trails, established as provided in section 5 of this Act, which will be extended trails so located as to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which such trails may pass. National scenic trails may be located so as to represent desert, marsh, grassland, mountain, canyon, river, forest, and other areas, as well as landforms which exhibit significant characteristics of the physiographic regions of the Nation.

(c) National historic trails, established as provided in section 5 of this Act, which will be extended trails which follow as closely as possible and practicable the original trails or routes of travel of national historical significance. Designation of such trails or routes shall be continuous, but the established or developed trail, and the acquisition thereof, need not be continuous on site. National historic trails shall have as their purpose the identification and protection of the historic route and its historic remnants and artifacts for public use and enjoyment. Only those selected land and water based components of a historic trail which are on federally owned lands and which meet the national historic trail criteria established in this Act are included as Federal protection components of a national historic trail. The appropriate Secretary may certify other lands as protected segments of an historic trail upon application from State or local governmental agencies or private interests involved if such segments meet the national historic trail criteria established in this Act and such criteria supplementary thereto as the appropriate Secretary may prescribe, and are administered by such agencies or interests without expense to the United States.

(4) Connecting or side trails, established as provided in section 6 of this Act, which will provide additional points of public access to national recreation, national scenic or national historic trails or which will provide connections between such trails. The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with appropriate governmental agencies and public and private organizations, shall establish a uniform marker for the national trails system.
–from the NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM ACT, as amended, Nov. 17, 1993

….in selecting the rights-of-way full consideration shall be given to minimizing the [trail’s] adverse effects upon the adjacent landowner or user and his operation. Development and management of each segment of the National Trails System shall be designed to harmonize with and complement any established multiple-use plans for the specific area in order to ensure continued maximum benefits from the land.
–Section 7(2) of the NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM ACT, 1968

The purpose of this Act is to provide the means for attaining … a national system of recreation, scenic and historic trails.
–Section 2(b) of the NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM ACT, 1968

If a State, political subdivision, or qualified private organization is prepared to assume full responsibility for management of such [railroad] rights-of-way and for any legal liability arising out of such transfer or use, and for the payment of any and all taxes that may be levied or assessed against such rights-of-way, then the Commission shall impose such terms and conditions as a requirement of any transfer or conveyance for interim use in a manner consistent with this Act, and shall not permit abandonment or discontinuance inconsistent or disruptive of such use.
–Section 8(d) of the NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM ACT, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1247(d) — referred to as railbanking, Amendments of 1983

Native American

Happily may I walk, may it be beautiful before me, may it be beautiful behind me, may it be beautiful below me, may it be beautiful above me, may it be beautiful all around me. In beauty it is finished. – NAVAJO CHANT

Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked in his moccasins. –SIOUX INDIAN PRAYER

We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams with tangled growth, as "wild." Only to the white man was nature a "wilderness" and only to him was the land "infested" with "wild" animals and "savage" people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and with brutal frenzy heaped injustices upon us and the families we loved was it "wild" for us. When the very animals of the forest began fleeing from his approach, then it was that for us the "Wild West" began. –CHIEF LUTHER STANDING BEAR of the Oglala Sioux, 1868-1939

I conceive that the land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living and countless numbers are still unborn. –IROQUOIS CHIEFTAIN

This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood that unites one family. All things are connected. –CHIEF SEATTLE, leader of the Suquamish Tribe in the Washington Territory, 1790—1866

We will be known by the tracks we leave behind. –DAKOTA proverb

Great Mother Earth, upon you the people will walk; may they follow the Sacred Path with light, not with the darkness of ignorance…. And may they know they are related to all that moves upon the universe. –BLACK ELK, Oglala Sioux Holyman, 1863—1950

This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth…. So if we sell you our land, love it as we’ve loved it. Care for it as we’ve cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you take it. And with all your strength, with all your mind, with all your heart, preserve it for your children, and love it … as God loves us all. –CHIEF SEATTLE, leader of the Suquamish Tribe in the Washington Territory, 1790—1866

On the trail marked with pollen, may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet, may I walk.
With dew about my feet, may I walk.
With beauty, may I walk.
–NAVAJO Indian saying

Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is! –BLACK ELK, Oglala Sioux Holyman, 1863—1950

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befall the sons of the earth…. –CHIEF SEATTLE, leader of the Suquamish Tribe in the Washington Territory, 1790—1866

We didn’t inherit the earth from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children. –NATIVE AMERICAN proverb

In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations. –From the Great Law of The Iroquois Confederacy

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. –CHIEF SEATTLE, leader of the Suquamish Tribe in the Washington Territory, 1790—1866

Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins. or Do not complain about your neighbor until you have walked a mile in his moccasins. –NATIVE AMERICAN saying


We need some contact with the things we sprang from. We need nature at least as a part of the context of our lives. Without cities we cannot be civilized. Without nature, without wilderness even, we are compelled to renounce an important part of our heritage. –JOSEPH WOOD KRUTCH, US literary naturalist, 1893-1970

Nature knows no indecencies: man invents them. —MARK TWAIN (Samuel Clemens), US writer and humorist, 1835-1910

We still think in terms of conquest. We still haven't become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Man's attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself... Now, I truly believe that we in this generation must come to terms with nature, and I think we're challenged as mankind has never been challenged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves. –RACHEL CARSON, Naturalist and author, 1907-64

Nature, even when she is scant and thin outwardly, satisfies us still by the assurance of a certain generosity at the roots. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817-62

For the Lord, our God, is bringing you into a good country, a land with streams of water, with springs and fountains welling up in the hills and valleys... –DEUTERONOMY 8:7

The ruin or the blank that we see when we look at nature is in our own eye. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walden, 1854

Our lives... need the relief of where the pine flourishes and the jay still screams. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817-62

We have invented exercise, recreation, pleasure, amusement, and the rest. But recreation, pleasure, amusement, fun and all the rest are poor substitutes for joy; and joy, I am convinced, has its roots in something from which civilization tends to cut us off. Some awareness of the world outside of man must exist if one is to experience the happiness and solace which some of us find in an awareness of nature and in our love for her manifestations. –JOSEPH WOOD KRUTCH, US literary naturalist, 1893-1970

We go back to nature every time we take a deep breath and stop worrying. BLISS CARMEN, The Making of Personality, 1908

I do not take readers to nature to give them a lesson, but to have a good time. –JOHN BURROUGHS, US essayist and naturalist, 1837-1921

I am not trying to imitate nature, I'm trying to find the principles she uses. –BUCKMINISTER FULLER, US architect, inventor, scientist, teacher and philosopher, 1895-1983

Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803-82

A forest changes with every step taken into it. It whispers much, but I always sense there is much more held back, much more to be discovered if I can only take the time to stop and stare and listen and sniff. And return again and again, because the forest will be different each time. MICHAEL W. ROBBINS, The Hiking Companion, 2003

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. –GEORGIA O’KEEFFE, US painter, 1887-1986

All my life through, the new sights of nature made me rejoice like a child. –MARIE CURIE, French chemist and physicist, 1867-1934

Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838-1914

When you are close to nature you can listen to the voice of God. –HERMAN HESSE, Swiss (German-born) author, 1877-1962

In the country it is as if every tree said to me, ‘Holy! Holy!’ Who can ever express the ecstasy of the woods. –LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, German romantic composer, 1770-1827

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. JOHN LUBBOCK, British biologist and politician, 1834-1913

…much earnest philosophical thought is born of the life which springs from close association with nature. –LAURA GILPIN, US photographer, 1891-1979

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. –ARISTOTLE, Greek philosopher, 384-322 BC

The natural world will always be there to save me from suffocating in my human problems. –HUNTER S. THOMPSON, US journalist and writer, 1939-

Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God. GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER, former slave, scientist, lecturer, 1864-1943

In this twentieth century, to stop rushing around, to sit quietly on the grass, to switch off the world and come back to the earth, to allow the eye to see a willow, a bush, a cloud, a leaf, is "an unforgettable experience"… –FREDERICK FRANCK, Dutch author, 1909-

Nature does nothing uselessly. –ARISTOTLE, Greek philosopher, 384-322 BC

Where you find a people who believe that man and nature are indivisible, and that survival and health are contingent upon an understanding of nature and her processes, these societies will be very different from ours, as will be their towns, cities and landscapes. –IAN MCHARG, Design With Nature, 1969

Nature…being the source of all beauty, is beauty’s permanent repository. –CHARLES BRIGHTBILL, Man and Leisure; A Philosophy of Recreation, 1961

Learn of the green world what can be thy place. –EZRA POUND, US poet, 1885-1972

We have the peculiar privilege … the freedom to walk this earth, see its beauties, taste its sweetness, partake of its enduring strength. –HAL BORLAND, US journalist and naturalist, 1900-78

I can enjoy society in a room; but out of doors, nature is company enough for me. –WILLIAM HAZLITT, English essayist, 1778-1830

This instinct for a free life in the open is as natural and wholesome as the gratification of hunger and thirst and love. It is Nature’s recall to the simple mode of existence she intended us for. –HORACE KEPHART, Camping and Woodcraft, 1917

I have a room all to myself; it is nature. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Journal, January 3, 1853

To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or seaside stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall. –THOMAS HUXLEY, English Biologist, 1825-95

Boy, Gramp! Nature's so much bigger in person than it is on TV. –HANK KETCUM, Dennis the Menace, August 15, 2001

All children deserve contact with nature as part of their heritage…. The more our children see and know of the natural world around them, the better equipped they will be to face the basic realities of life and realize the noble potential of existence this planet has to offer. –ANSEL ADAMS, US photographer, 1902-84

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. –FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, US Architect, 1869-1959

When wisely trod, the path to God through nature employs every faculty inherent in man. In nature, beauty shines in all its pristine essence before us. It is for us to newly discover and translate this beauty to our spirits and our senses. –REV. FLOWER A. NEWHOUSE, The Journey Upward, 1978

God is in every form of creation. Here you can meet the Creator face to face, if anywhere on earth, yet very few venture into nature with the purpose of making His acquaintance. –REV. FLOWER A. NEWHOUSE, The Journey Upward, 1978

Nature makes nothing in vain. –ARISTOTLE, Greek philosopher, 384-322 BC

Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803-82

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walking, Atlantic Monthly, June 1862

Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose we came from the woods originally. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

Commonly we stride through the out-of-doors too swiftly to see more than the most obvious and prominent things. For observing nature, the best pace is a snail’s pace. –EDWIN WAY TEALE, July 14, Circle of the Seasons, 1953

Hedge or qualify as we will, man is part of nature. –JOHN BURROUGHS, US essayist and naturalist, 1837-1921

To the dull mind nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803-82

We need the tonic of wildness–to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground…. We can never have enough of Nature. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walden, 1854

It were happy if we studied nature more in natural things, and acted according to nature, whose rules are few, plain, and most reasonable. –WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude, 1693

The clear realities of nature, seen with the inner eye of the spirit, reveal the ultimate echo of God. –ANSEL ADAMS, US photographer, 1902-84

It is the marriage of the soul with Nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Journal, August 21, 1851

And how should a man who has lived in towns and schools know anything about the wonders of the woods? –JAMES FENNIMORE COOPER, US author, 1789-1851

Solitude is a silent storm that breaks down all our dead branches. Yet it sends out living roots deeper into the living heart of the living earth. Man struggles to find life outside himself, unaware that the life he is seeking is within him. Nature reaches out to us with welcome arms, and bids us enjoy her beauty; but we dread her silence, and rush into the crowded cities, there to huddle like sheep fleeing from a ferocious wolf. –KAHLIL GIBRAN, The Prophet, 1923

Whatever befalls in accordance with nature should be accounted good. –CICERO, De Senectute, 44 BC

A nobler want of man is served by nature, namely, the love of Beauty. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803-82

Education is only second to nature. –HORACE BUSHNELL, creator of America’s first public park, 1802—76

Talk of mysteries! Think of our life in nature–daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it–rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! the sold earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we? –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

Every woodland or forest in addition to yielding lumber, fuel, and posts, should provide those who frequent it with a liberal education about nature. This crop of wisdom never fails but unfortunately it is not always harvested. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – KAHLIL GIBRAN, The Prophet, 1923

Let us teach about nature where nature is. –FRANK LUTZ, Nature Trails An Experiment in Out-door Education, 1926

In short, all good things are wild and free. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

Now away we go toward the topmost mountains. Many still, small voices, as well as the noon thunder, are calling, ‘Come higher, come higher.’ Farewell, blessed dell, woods, gardens, streams, birds, squirrels, lizards, and a thousand others. Farewell, farewell. –JOHN MUIR, My First Summer in the Sierras, 1911

It is not so much what we see in nature but how we interpret what we see. –JOHN BURROUGHS, US essayist and naturalist, 1837—1921

Our crude civilization engenders a multitude of wants, and law-givers are ever at their wit’s end devising. The hall and the theater and the church have been invented, and compulsory education. Why not add compulsory recreation? Our forefathers forged chains of duty and habit, which bind us notwithstanding our boasted freedom, and we ourselves in desperation add link to link, groaning and making medicinal laws for relief. Yet few think of pure rest or of the healing power of Nature. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. –ZENO of ELEA, Greek philosopher, 490—430 BC

After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on–have found that none of these satisfy, or permanently wear–what remains? Nature remains. –WALT WHITMAN, US poet, 1819—92

Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint. –ROBERT FROST, US poet, 1874—1963

Man and other civilized animals are the only creatures that ever become dirty. –JOHN MUIR, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf, 1868

To those devoid of imagination, a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part. –ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

I cannot see the wit of walking and talking at the same time. When I am in the country I wish to vegetate like the country. –WILLIAM HAZLITT, English writer, 1778—1830

Without love of the land, conservation lacks meaning or purpose, for only in a deep and inherent feeling for the land can there be dedication in preserving it. –SIGURD F. OLSON, conservation writer and wilderness advocate, 1899—1982

Up we climb with glad exhilaration. –JOHN MUIR, The Yosemite, 1912

If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends and nature: and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature. Nature we always have with us, inexhaustible storehouse of that which moves the heart, appeals to the mind, and fires the imagination–health to the body, stimulus to the intellect, and joy to the soul. –JOHN BURROUGHS, US essayist and naturalist, 1837—1921

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

Walking brings out the true character of a man. The devil never yet asked his victims to take a walk with him. You will not be long in finding your companion out. All disguises will fall away from him. – JOHN BURROUGHS, US essayist and naturalist, 1837—1921

I have a low opinion of books; they are but piles of stone set up to show travelers where other minds have been, or at least signal smokes to call attention…. No amount of wordmaking will ever make a single soul to know these mountains. As well to seek to warm the naked and frostbitten by lectures on caloric and pictures of flame. One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books. See how willingly Nature poses herself upon photographer’s plates. No earthy chemicals are so sensitive as those of the human soul. All that is required is exposure, and purity of material. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

In the woods, too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever in life, is always a child. In the woods is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods we return to reason and faith. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

The knapsack of custom falls off his back with the first step he takes into these precincts. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Nature, 1836

But let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights. All is in divine harmony. –JOHN MUIR, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf, 1868

All the great naturalists have been habitual walkers, for no laboratory, no book, car, train or plane takes the place of honest footwork for this calling, be it amateur’s or professional’s. –DONALD CULROSS PEATTIE, The Joy of Walking, The New York Times Magazine, April 5, 1942

You cannot walk fast very long on a footpath. –RICHARD JEFFERIES, English naturalist and novelist, 1848—87

The outdoor trail is one of many useful devices through which the teacher-naturalist is able to bring the world of nature closer to children, school groups and adults. –CARL W. BUCHHEISTER, President, National Audubon Society, 1965

….that only true development in American recreational resources is the development of the perceptive faculty in Americans: that recreational development is a job, not of building roads into lovely country, but of building receptivity into the still unlovely human mind. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains–mountain dwellers who have grown strong there with the forest trees in Nature’s workshops. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

It must be a poor life that achieves freedom from fear. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

Emerson says that things refuse to be mismanaged long. An exception would seem to be found in the case of our forests, which have been mismanaged rather long, and now come desperately near being like smashed eggs and spilt milk. –JOHN MUIR, Our National Parks, 1901

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

If every citizen could take one walk through this [Sierra] reserve, there would be no more trouble about its care; for only in darkness does vandalism flourish. –JOHN MUIR, Our National Parks, 1901

Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. –JOHN MUIR, Our National Parks, 1901

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.… –WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, English dramatist & poet, 1564—1616, Troilus and Cressida

Society speaks and all men listen, mountains speak and wise men listen. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

Wildness is a necessity. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

Do something for wildness and make the mountains glad. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

Wherever we go in the mountains we find more than we seek. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

Keep close to Nature’s heart, yourself; and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the Mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar. – JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914, talking about the proposal to dam Hetch Hetchy

The mountains call and I must go. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

The battle we have fought, and are still fighting … is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

There are none happy in the world but beings who enjoy freely a vast horizon. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

In wildness is the preservation of the world [motto of the Wilderness Society]. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walking, Atlantic Monthly, June 1862

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and to see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness out of it and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience…. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walden, 1854

The evergreen woods had a decidedly sweet and bracing fragrance; the air was a sort of diet-drink, and we walked on buoyantly in Indian file, stretching our legs. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

A taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

Time and space— time to be alone, space to move about— these may well become the greatest scarcities of tomorrow. –EDWIN WAY TEALE, Autumn Across America, 1950

To get past the superficial, two-dimensional, merely aesthetic experience you must, eventually, leave the mechanical conveyances behind…. –EDWARD ABBEY, US environmental advocate, 1927—89

To learn something new, take the path you took yesterday. –JOHN BURROUGHS, US essayist and naturalist, 1837—1921

The attention of a traveler should be particularly turned, in the first place, to the various works of Nature. –WILLIAM BARTRAM, US naturalist, 1739—1823

Off-Highway Vehicles

Purpose of this order was to establish policies and provide for procedures that will ensure that the use of off-road vehicles on public lands will be controlled and directed so as to protect the resources of those lands, to promote the safety of all users of those lands, and to minimize conflicts among the various uses of those lands. –EXECUTIVE ORDER 11644: Use of Off-Road Vehicles on the Public Lands, 1972

My belief is the day that we can take off-highway vehicles across the national forest, across country, wherever you want, is over. Motorized vehicles need to be limited to designated roads and trails or areas. –DALE BOSWORTH, Chief of the US Forest Service, 2004

Perhaps the most important thing I have learned is the fact that nothing government agencies can do will go further toward managing trailbike use than developing adequate mileage of high-quality trails. After many years of firsthand experience, it is my belief that no amount of restriction or enforcement can begin to provide the environmental protection achieved through provision of adequate facilities and rider education. When quality trails are built riders use them. When riders use developed trails, environmental impact can be designed for, monitored, and controlled. The key is quality, adequate mileage and competent design. –JOSEPH WERNEX, A Guide to Off-Road Motorcycle Trail Design and Construction, 1984

As the number of off-road vehicles has increased, so has their use on public lands…. Increasingly, Federal recreational lands have become the focus of conflict between the newer motorized recreationist and the traditional hiker, camper, and horseback rider…. The time has come for a unified Federal policy toward use of off-road vehicles on Federal lands…. –PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON, message to Congress, 1972

This is not an easy issue (unmanaged off-highway vehicle use) to tackle, but if we wait a day, a week or even a year, the impact on the land and the issues surrounding the problem will become even harder to deal with. We need to address the issue now. –DALE BOSWORTH, Chief of the US Forest Service, 2003

A significant portion of the American public, in an effort to occupy leisure time with fulfilling activities, has rediscovered the attractions of areas away from permanent human habitation. They are using the products of modern technology to reach into the landscape for a more remote recreational experience with a greater degree of comfort and convenience. The internal combustion engine provides a power source for adventure. The off-road vehicle has come of age. –JOHN PEINE, Land Management for Recreational Use of Off-Road Vehicles. PhD dissertation, 1972

It is an easy thing to lock up a piece of ground; it is much harder to provide for multiple use of these lands. –K. LYNN BENNETT, State Director, BLM Idaho, December 2002

The successful [OHV] trail must: 1. satisfy the trailbike enthusiast; 2. provide protection for the environment; and 3. be developed and managed in a cost-effective manner. A trail that does not meet all of the above criteria is a failure. Fortunately, all three criteria can be successfully met by any land manager with a sense of fairness and a willingness to put forth the necessary effort. –JOSEPH WERNEX, A Guide to Off-Road Motorcycle Trail Design and Construction, 1984

….trailbike and ATV enthusiasts require considerable mileage for a quality outing. It is wise to plan multiple trail systems, each with adequate mileage to provide several full days of riding without having to retrace part of the previous day’s route. The lack of adequate trail mileage for OHV recreation is one of the most serious problems facing public lands managers. –JOSEPH WERNEX, Off Highway Motorcycle & ATV Trails: Guidelines for Design, Construction, Maintenance and User Satisfaction, 1994

I hope there is some way we could outlaw all off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, motorcycles, etc., which are doing more damage to our forests and deserts than anything man has ever created. I don’t think the Forest Service should encourage the use of these vehicles by even suggesting areas they can travel in…. I have often felt that these vehicles have been Japan’s way of getting even with us. –BARRY GOLDWATER, Senator from Arizona, 1973

The state of the art in motorized trail planning should be in constant flux. Constantly test new ideas. Implement the best ones. Planners should first acquire an understanding of the recreation and its participants, then develop an analytic approach to developing and managing trails and facilities. – JOSEPH WERNEX, Off Highway Motorcycle & ATV Trails: Guidelines for Design, Construction, Maintenance and User Satisfaction, 1994

We recognize that off-road recreational vehicle use is one of many legitimate uses of federally-owned lands. –ROGERS C.B. MORTON, Secretary of Interior, 1971

One man’s noise may be another man’s music. –MALCOM BALDWIN and DAN STODDARD, The Off-Road Vehicle and Environmental Quality, 1973

In the land use planning process, the question should not be, should we close an area to ORV use? But–can ORV use, in some form, be permitted on the area? One of the primary questions… is generally–How much resource impact can we live with in providing for a recreation activity such as ORVs. –USDA FOREST SERVICE, 1974

Whenever man with a machine comes in contact either with man without a machine or with nature, the man with the machine is rarely more than inconvenienced, while the man without a machine or nature can suffer anything from inconvenience to extinction. –RICHARD BUTLER, How to Control 1,000,000 Snowmobiles? Canadian Geographical Journal, 1974

It is convenient to think of a trailbike trail system as having three basic components. These are:
An adequate land base.
Developed areas to start and finish the ride, picnic, and camp, i.e., trailheads and campgrounds.
An interconnected network of trail loops of varying lengths and degree of difficulty.
–JOSEPH WERNEX, The Development of Trailbike Trail System, Forest Environment in Planning for Trailbike Recreation, 1978

Despite years and years of research, we really know very little about the behavior and needs of snowmobilers and off-road recreation (ORV) users. –STEPHEN MCCOOL, Snowmobilers, Off-Road Recreation Vehicle Users and the 1977 National Recreation Survey, University of Montana, 1978

I don’t want a pickle,
Just want to ride on my motorsickle. –ARLO GUTHRIE, The Motorcycle Song, 1967

.…as baby boomers age and society continues to urbanize, more and more people may turn to off-road vehicles as their primary way of enjoying the great outdoors. –MIKE DOMBECK, Chief of the US Forest Service, 2000

Open Space

We need to increase substantially the amount and usability of open space. –ALEXANDER GARVIN, Parks, Recreation, and Open Space, 2000

Although urban open space is usually thought of as providing recreation, it serves many other purposes as well. Open space can provide beauty, privacy, and variety; moderate temperature; and create a sense of spaciousness and scale. It can protect a water supply; provide a noise and safety buffer zone around an airport; or substitute for development on unsuitable soils, in flood plains, or in earthquake zones. –COUNCIL on ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, Environmental Quality, 1973

What makes life in our cities at once still tolerable, exciting, and stimulating is the existence of an alternative option, whether exercised or not, whether even appreciated or not, of a radically different mode of being out there, in the forests, on the lakes and rivers, in the deserts, up in the mountains … we cannot have freedom without leagues of open space…. –EDWARD ABBEY, US environmental advocate, 1927—89

What I have learned convinces me that there is one overriding consideration for any open space program. It is, simply, that open space must be sought as a positive benefit. Open space is not the absence of something harmful; it is a public benefit in its own right, now, and should be primarily justified on this basis. –WILLIAM WHYTE, Securing Open Space for Urban America: Conservation Easements, 1959

….efforts to develop open space should concentrate not on sheer physical size but on usable space. The linear dimension of the right-of-way trail makes it eminently usable and adds a dimension for hiking and biking that can seldom be realized within the normal park concept…. –CITIZENS’ ADVISORY COMMITTEE on ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, 1975

The moral activity of all is creation of space for life to move around. –ROBERT PIRSIG, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, 1991

Linear open space can connect traditional parks and other activity centers such as schools and shopping centers. They can also accommodate popular recreational activities such as jogging, walking, bicycling, and canoeing which may be incompatible with traditional urban parks. When associated with streams, which are also linear systems, the open space allows flooding to occur without damage to buildings, or disruption of the local economy or individual lives. Environmentally, linear open space acts as a vegetated buffer along streams to protect water quality and fragile natural ecosystems such as wetlands. Further, the urban environment is enhanced through air quality, temperature, and noise moderation resulting from the conservation of vegetation. Finally, these areas function as wildlife corridors, allowing a greater diversity of animals to travel through and survive within urban areas. – BILL FLOURNOY, Capital City Greenway: A Report to the City Council on the Benefits, Potential, and Methodology of Establishing a Greenway System in Raleigh (NC) report, 1972

The towns of to-day can only increase in density at the expense of the open spaces which are the lungs of a city. We must increase the open spaces and diminish the distances to be covered. Therefore, the center of the city must be constructed vertically. –Le CORUSIER, The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning, 1929

It may not be crowding per se that degrades us, but a lack of relief from crowding—a lack of open space, a lack of green, of nature going its own way. –CHARLES LITTLE and JOHN MITCHELL, Space for Survival, 1971

If a label is required, say that I am one who loves unfenced country. –EDWARD ABBEY, US environmental advocate, 1927—89

We want a ground to which people may easily go after their day’s work is done, and where they may stroll for an hour, seeing, hearing, and feeling nothing of the bustle and jar of the streets, where they shall, in effect, find the city put far away from them…. Practically, what we most want is a simple, broad, open space of clean greensward, with sufficient play of surface and a sufficient number of trees about it to supply a variety of light and shade…. We want depth of wood enough about it not only for comfort in hot weather, but to completely shut out the city from our landscapes. –FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED, Public Parks and Enlargement of Towns, 1870

Concern for the environment and access to parks and open space is not frivolous or peripheral, rather, it is central to the welfare of people body, mind, and spirit. –LAURANCE ROCKEFELLER, US capitalist & philanthropist, 1910—

A town is saved, not more by the righteous men in it than by the woods and swamps that surround it. A township where one primitive forest waves above while another primitive forest rots below–such a town is fitted to raise not only corn and potatoes, but poets and philosophers for the coming ages. In such a soil grew Homer and Confucius and the rest, and out of such a wilderness comes the Reformer eating locusts and wild honey. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walking, Atlantic Monthly, June 1862

As leisure-rich Americans turn increasingly from the teeter-totter and turnpike to trail, and as large, natural open spaces become more and more difficult to acquire, comprehensive inventories of useable rights-of-way must be made available to state, county and local governments; and government must seize these opportunities before they are lost forever. It is no longer enough to remember that trails nurtured the growth of this nation. What is clearly needed now is a national effort to nurture the growth of trails. –CONSTANCE STALLINGS, Rights-of-Way, Open Space Action, 1969

Our options are expiring. As far as open space is concerned, it doesn’t make a great deal of difference when the projected new population reaches target or whether it is going to be housed in green-belted mega-structures or linear cities or what. The land that is still to be saved will have to be saved within the next few years. We have no luxury of choice. We must make our commitments now and look to this landscape as the last one. For us it will be. –WILLIAM WHYTE, The Last Landscape, 1968

The soul of a man, given time, can put some revealing marks upon his face. The soul of a people invariable makes an indelible imprint upon their land. –WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS, Supreme Court Justice and avid hiker, 1898-1980

Per acre linear strips are probably the most efficient form of open space, and there are plenty of practical examples on the ground to bear this out. When they are laid along the routes people travel or walk, or poke into the places where they live, the spaces provide the maximum visual impact and the maximum physical access. They provide us a way of securing the most highly usable spaces in urban areas where land is hard to come by, and, in time, a way of linking these spaces together. – WILLIAM WHYTE, The Last Landscape, 1968

The only possible way we can save much open space is to use every tool we can get our hands on and use them together. There has to be a unifying plan, and we must be as hard-boiled as the speculator in framing it. We must identify what cannot be saved, what can and should be saved, and tackle the job as though there will be no reprieve. –WILLIAM WHYTE, The Last Landscape, 1968

For most of the people most of the time, the edge of the open space is the open space. –WILLIAM WHYTE, The Last Landscape, 1968

The distribution of open space must respond to natural process…. The problem lies not in absolute area but in distribution. We seek a concept that can provide an interfusion of open space and population. – IAN MCHARG, Design with Nature, 1969

….as the painter George Catlin had anticipated the national park idea by suggesting a wild prairie reservation, so Thoreau anticipated the more modest urban-open-space idea by suggesting that every community should have its patch of woods where people could refresh themselves. His notion of nature as having healing powers has now the force of revealed truth. –WALLACE STEGNER, Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs, 1992

Outdoor Ethics

We can be ethical in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

…one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

Although the real threats to the wilderness come from industry–not hikers–those of us who walk the wild places should do so as lightly as possible, leaving little trace of our passing. –CHRIS TOWNSEND, The Advanced Backpacker, 2001

You shall have a designated area outside the camp to which you shall go. With your utensils you shall have a trowel; when you relieve yourself outside, you shall dig a hole with it and cover up your excrement. –DEUTERONOMY 23:12-13

If each of us fears the effects of our impacts on resources more than we fear the law, there will be little need for more regulations. –pamphlet issued by DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT in Colorado, 1995

We’re not just about changing behavior, but about empowering people to make informed, responsible Leave No Trace decisions in the backcountry and front country [urban and suburban parks]. –DANA WATTS, Executive Director, Leave No Trace, 2001 can go round-and-round fixing trails and campsites, but without education, you’ll never control the problem. –DANA WATTS, Executive Director, Leave No Trace, 2001

If a body takes out to follow a made trail down over the hills, he’d best hold to that trail, for there are not too many ways to go. Most of the trouble a man finds in the mountains is when he tries shortcuts or leaves a known way. –LOUIS L’AMOUR, Treasure Mountain, Western writer, 1908—88

That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics. That land yields a cultural harvest is a fact long known, but latterly often forgotten. –ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

It began to be noticed that the greater the exodus, the smaller the per capita ration of peace, solitude, wildlife, and scenery, and the longer the migration to reach them. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. –ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

Take only photographs; leave only footprints. –SIERRA CLUB dictum

When I reached the trailhead and started walking through the harmonious association of huge ponderosa pines, incense cedars, and white firs with its apparently endless diversity of wildflowers, shrubs, grasses, songbirds, and insects, I experienced a novel sense of rightness. Growing up in the suburbs had been an experience of fragmentation as roads and buildings dissected the landscape. The thought that this harmony would continue for dozens of miles without interruption was like relief from a headache so habitual I hadn’t known I had it. –DAVID RAINS WALLACE, The Forever Forests, Greenpeace, 15(5), Sept/Oct 1990

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and, to eat and sleep with the earth. –WALT WHITMAN, Leaves of Grass, 1855

A land ethic changes the role of homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such. – ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad. And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee. For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp…. –DEUTERONOMY 23:12-14

We can’t be light in wilderness and heavy in every other aspect of our lives. Going light has got to be applied right across the board or it ends up just another sentimental gesture. –ALBERT SAIJO, The Backpacker, 1972

It is legitimate to hope that there may be left … the special kind of human mark, the special record of human passage, that distinguishes man from all other species. It is rare enough among men, impossible to any other form of life. It is simply the deliberate and chosen refusal to make any marks at all. –WALLACE STEGNER, This Is Dinosaur: Echo Park Country and Its Magic Rivers, 1955

Let no one say and say it to your shame that all was beauty here until you came. –AUTHOR unknown

We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do. – BARBARA WARD, Only One Earth, 1972

A good walker leaves no tracks. –LAO-TZU, Chinese philosopher, 604—531 BC

Well. I do not know why our visitors had such good manners on our Trails in 1925 and we can scarcely hope that it will ever be entirely thus but–still–who knows? Perhaps if you ‘jolly’ the public instead of ordering it about, if you explain instead of dictate, if you ask people to help and to be one with you in protecting nature, they may do it. It is worth trying at any rate, especially as the other way clearly does not work in this land of the free. –FRANK LUTZ, Nature Trails: An Experiment in Out-door Education, 1926

Rules are for fools. –PAUL PETZOLDT, Founder, National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), 1908-99, preached outdoor education based on developing understanding and good judgement instead of rules

Seven Principles of Leave no Trace
1. Plan ahead and prepare
2. Camp and travel on durable surfaces
3. Dispose of waste properly
4. Leave what you find
5. Minimize campfire impacts
6. Respect wildlife
7. Be considerate to other visitors –LEAVE NO TRACE, INC., 1999

No Sierra landscape that I have seen holds anything truly dead or dull, or any trace of what in manufactories is called rubbish or waste; everything is perfectly clean and pure and full of divine lessons. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. –ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

An outdoor ethic means personal involvement in the outdoors as an essential part of life. It means a sense of appreciation for, and obligation toward the air, land, water and living things of the earth. It includes statesmanship: courtesy for others using the outdoors; and stewardship: our obligation to ensure future generations’ enjoyment of our natural heritage. –PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION ON AMERICANS OUTDOORS, Report and Recommendations to the President of the United States, 1986)

Recreationists need to be educated and then constantly reminded of their responsibility to the outdoors. –JACK LORENZ, Director, Izaak Walton League of America, 1997

Why do Americans, who love the outdoors so much, do so much to jeopardize its future? Are we oblivious to the insults we scatter in the form of trash along our country roads–or worse yet along trails to our scenic natural sites? How did we ever come to expect others to clean up after us at our campsites? Because we exhibit so little respect for the outdoors, we run the risk of converting our federal, state, and local recreation programs into law enforcement efforts. Enough! We can do better. We need to educate all Americans to their rights to enjoy the outdoors–and their responsibilities to use the outdoors well. –DERRICK CRANDALL, Director, American Recreation Coalition, 1986

For the past 100 years–especially during the past 25–we have emphasized the role of government in conservation and have given little attention to the individual. We have not developed a land ethic in the minds and hearts of citizens in a manner and scale that complements public programs. –LARRY TOMBAUGH, Michigan State University, President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, Report and Recommendations to the President of the United States, 1986

TREAD Lightly! Pledge:
Travel and recreate with minimum impact
Respect the environment and the rights of others
Educate yourself, plan and prepare before you go
Allow for future use of the outdoors, leave it better than you found it
Discover the rewards of responsible recreation
., 1998


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