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Trail quotations

Quotations from the trails and greenways (part 5)

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. 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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And I’m back on the trail again,
Missed you like some long lost friend,
Sometimes I think I’m just a part of the wind,
When I’m back on the trail again.
–WALKIN’ JIM STOLZ, long-distance hiker and song writer, Back On The Trail Again, Walkin’ Jim Music, BMI, 1984

Out on the Crest Trail, there’s a wind a-blowin’,
Mojave wind, blowin’ way my cares,
It’s pushing me northward, that’s where I’m a-goin’,
I’m bound for the border and I’ll soon be there.
–WALKIN’ JIM STOLZ, long-distance hiker and song writer, On the Crest Trail, Walkin’ Jim Music, BMI, 1996

When the sun’s behind the mountain and the frost is in the air,
We’re up and off and hiking on our way;
We don’t know where we’re going and we don’t supremely care,
But we’ll be there when the evening ends the day.
Up the rocky slopes we clamber and then down the other side,
Through forests and across the rocky streams,
Through a land of bright enchantment where the vision opens wide,
And we find the wide horizon of our dreams.
Sierra Club Song, in JOSEPH HAZARD, Pacific Crest Trails, 1946

This land is your land, this land is my land,
From [the] California to the [Staten] New York Island,
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters,
[God blessed America for me.]
As I went walking that ribbon highway
And saw above me that endless skyway,
And saw below me the golden valley, I said:
[God blessed America for me.]
I roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts,
And all around me, a voice was sounding:
[God blessed America for me.]
Was a high wall there that tried to stop me
A sign was painted said: Private Property,
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing–
[God blessed America for me.]
When the sun came shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling;
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting:
[God blessed America for me.]
One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
By the Relief Office I saw my people–
As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if
[God blessed America for me.]
–WOODY GUTHRIE, US folk singer, 1912-67, This Land Was Made For You And Me, 1940

I’ve been chasing rainbows since I was a kid
Seekin’ out the paths where no others did.
The life of the trail I took to my heart,
Wanderin’ wild, and livin’ the part.
I found my way down that endless track,
It fit me well, this life of the pack,
Out where the world is one, untamed and on the run,
Stretching out into the setting sun.
I walk the long trails, I came of age on the long trails,
I found my place in those wide open spaces
Out there a-walkin’ on the long trails.
–WALKIN’ JIM STOLZ, long-distance hiker and song writer, The Long Trails, Walkin’ Jim Music, BMI, 1997

Down at Springer Mountain I learned a thing or two,
Just a greenhorn city boy, starting out brand new,
I’d been feeling disconnected, kind of lost along the way,
But the first step that I took, found me coming home that day.

The Appalachian Trail was where it all began,
That’s where this boy first learned, to call himself a man,
It was the wind that taught me how to spread my wings,
It was the path, that led me on to other things.
It’s funny how just spirit will see you through hard times,
The blisters pain and freezin’ rain, and frozen boots were mine,
I look back now and think of how I could have thrown it in,
But the one who stands before you now, just never would have been.

(Repeat Chorus)

I still spend my days out walkin’ with the wind,
Now there’s silver in my beard, my hair is getting’ thin,
They say life is a circle and we’ll all come ’round again,
If that’s so, I’m looking for my Appalachian friends.

(Final Chorus)
–WALKIN’ JIM STOLZ, long-distance hiker and song writer, The Appalachian Trail, Walkin’ Jim Music, BMI, 1974

I love to go a-wandering
along the mountain track,
and, as I go, I love to sing,
my knapsack on my back.

Valderi, valdera
Valderi, valdera ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
Valderi, valdera,
My knapsack on my back,

I love to wander by the stream…
that dances in the sun,
so joyously it calls to me,
Come! Join my happy song!

(Repeat Chorus)

I wave my hat to all I see,
and they wave back to me,
and blackbirds all so loud and sweet
from every greenwood tree.

(Repeat Chorus)

O may I go a-wandering
until the day I die.
O may I always laugh and sing
beneath God’s clear blue sky.
–ANTONIA RIDGE and FREDERICK W. MOLLER, The Happy Wanderer, 1810

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you till we meet again.
Some trails are happy ones.
Others are blue.
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts.
Here’s a happy one for you.
–DALE EVANS-ROGERS, Happy Trails, 1951

The crystal morning is broken with the cooing of a dove
As you head on up the trail to the highlands up above
Where the colors of the rainbow, are the flowers at your feet,
And your heart sings a song with every beat.
–WALKIN’ JIM STOLZ, long-distance hiker and song writer, All Along The Great Divide, Walkin’ Jim Music, BMI, 1984


It is questionable how much of the destruction wrought by automobiles on cities is really a response to transportation and traffic needs, and how much of it is owing to sheer disrespect for other city needs, uses and functions. Like city rebuilders who face a blank when they try to think of what to do instead of renewal projects, because they know of no other respectable principles for city organizations, again face a blank when they try to think what they can realistically do, day by day, except try to overcome traffic kinks as they occur and apply what foresight they can toward moving and storing more cars in the future. It is impossible for responsible and practical men to discard unfit tactics–even when the results of their own work cause them misgivings–if the alternative is to be left with confusion as to what to try instead and why. –JANE JACOBS, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961

Speed shrinks distance. Roads shrivel parks. Keep out the cars and you will make what is now a two-hour routine drive from Gatlinburg to Cherokee into something more like a two- or three-day expedition on foot, bicycle or horseback. Set a man on foot at the entrance to the park, at any entrance, with no means to proceed except by his own energy and inclination, and he faces a vista as wild and immense as that which confronted Hernando de Soto, William Bartram or Daniel Boone. What was an excursion becomes an adventure. –EDWARD ABBEY, talking about the overuse of Great Smokies National Park in Appalachian Wilderness, 1988

Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf. –LEWIS MUMFORD, American social philosopher and urban planner, 1895—1990

The current tendency in the parks is to limit entrances by upping admission prices, requiring reservations, and so forth. These solutions may be necessary, and I would rather put up with them than see a park destroyed. But usually pressures could be better reduced by getting rid of the motor vehicles. A car takes up more space, makes more noise, pollutes more air, requires more facilities, and carries more trash than a person–or a lot of people. Let the visitors walk or put them on bicycles. That is what the parks are all about anyway. Let them stick their noses in flowers, gawk at the cliffs, wonder at the sunset, and get blisters on their feet. But for God’s sake, let them leave their gasoline engines somewhere else–we need parks, not parking lots. –RAYMOND BRIDGE, America’s Backpacking Book, 1973

Let’s work together to get America moving on both legs and on two wheels, and have a good time while we do it! –FEDERICO PENA, Secretary of Transportation, 1994

Saving old railroad corridors as trails is not only good recreation policy, it is good railroad policy. They [abandoned rail corridors] may be appropriate for rail use in the future. If they are destroyed now, we will never be able to reassemble them again. –DREW LEWIS, former Secretary of Transportation and a former Chief Executive Officer for Union Pacific Railroad, 1990

Road, n. A strip of land over which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to where it is too futile to go. –AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil’s Dictionary, 1881-1911

This is the vision–to create a changed transportation system that offers not only choices among travel modes for specific trips, but more importantly presents these options so that they are real choices that meet the needs of individuals and society as a whole. Making this vision a reality must begin now. – USDOT FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION, The National Bicycling and Walking Study, 1994

The automobile has not merely taken over the street, it has dissolved the living tissue of the city. Its appetite for space is absolutely insatiable; moving and parked, it devours urban land, leaving the buildings as mere islands of habitable space in a sea of dangerous and ugly traffic. –JAMES MARSTON FITCH, The New York Times, May 1, 1960

Transportation is about more than asphalt, concrete and steel. Ultimately it is about people. It is about providing people with the opportunity for a safer, happier and more fulfilling life. –RODNEY SLATER, US Secretary of Transportation, 1999

Perhaps our age will be known to the future historian as the age of the bulldozer and the exterminator; and in many parts of the country the building of a highway has about the same result upon vegetation and human structures as the passage of a tornado or the blast of an atom bomb…. –LEWIS MUMFORD, The Highway and the City, 1953


Adventure is worthwhile in itself. –AMELIA EARHART, US aviator, 1897-1937?

He that travels in theory has no inconveniences. –SAMUEL JOHNSON, English lexicographer and poet, 1709-84

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. –MARK TWAIN, The Innocents Abroad 1869

We must not cease from exploration. –T.S. ELIOT, British (US-born) dramatist and poet, 1888-1965

The initial mystery that attends any journey is: How did the traveler reach his starting point in the first place? –LOUISE BOGAN, US poet, 1897-1970

I learned a very important lesson on that journey… I need people, I can’t make it in this world alone and I don’t want to try. –CINDY ROSS, Journey on the Crest, 1997

It was so exciting to find out what was around the next corner, or across the rushing river ahead, or to see who we might meet in the next town or café. –PETER JENKINS, A Walk Across America, 1979

Tourism is the sum total of the travel experience. It is not just what happens at the destination. It involves everything that a person sees and does from the time he or she leaves home until the vacation is over. Getting there can be half the fun, but frequently it is not. There are many great destinations in America, but, unfortunately, there are very few great journeys left, which is why it is in the interest of the tourism industry to encourage the development of greenways, heritage corridor, bike paths, hiking trails, and other forms of alternative transportation. –EDWARD McMAHON, Tourism and the Environment: What’s the Connection? Forum Journal, Summer 1999

Tramping is a way of approach, to Nature, to your fellow man, to a nation, to a foreign nation, to beauty, to life itself. –STEPHEN GRAHAM, The Gentle Art of Tramping, 1926

And may you always have some Territory to light out for, my friend, before somebody civilizes you. – HARRY ROBERTS, Movin’ Out, 1977

There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find adventure and those who go secretly hoping they won’t. –WILLIAM LEAST HEAT-MOON, Blue Highways: A Journey into America, 1983

A Prayer for Travelers
O God, who did call Abraham to leave his home, and did protect him on all his wanderings, grant to those who now travel by land, mountain, sea or river, a prosperous journey, a quiet time, and a safe arrival at their travel’s end. Be to them a shadow in the heat, a refuge in the tempest, a protection in adversity. –PRIEST’S PRAYER BOOK, 1870

There is an expression–walking with beauty. And I believe that this endless search for beauty in surroundings, in people and one’s personal life, is the headstone of travel. –JULIETTE DE BAIRACLI LEVY, Traveler’s Joy, 1979.

Then, again, how annoying to be told it is only five miles to the next place when it is really eight or ten! –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

I confess my own leisure to be spent entirely in search of adventure, without regard to prudence, profit, self improvement, learning, or any other serious thing. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

So far as my experience goes, travelers generally exaggerate the difficulties of the way. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, 1849

The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do, just as one pleases. –WILLIAM HAZLITT, English essayist, 1778-1830

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. –SENECA, Roman statesman, 4 BC—65 AD

The Fool wanders, the wise Man travels. –THOMAS FULLER, English clergyman, 1608-61

A journey of a thousand miles starts must begin with a single step. –LAO-TZU, Chinese philosopher, 604—531 BC

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labor. –ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, El Dorado, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881

Methods of locomotion have improved greatly in recent years, but places to go remain about the same. –DON HEROLD, US writer, 1905-60

Those who would see wonderful things must often be ready to travel alone. –HENRY VAN DYKE, US poet, 1852—1933

A traveler. I love his title. A traveler is to be reverenced as such. His profession is the best symbol of our life. Going from–toward; it is the history of every one of us. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

‘Go West,’ said Horace Greeley, but my slogan is ‘Go Anyplace.’ –RICHARD BISSELL, US writer, 1913-82

Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything. –CHARLES KURALT, A Life On the Road, 1990

When one realizes that his life is worthless he either commits suicide or travels. –EDWARD DAHLBERG, On Futility, Reasons of the Heart, 1965

The thing to remember when traveling is that the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for. –LOUIS L’AMOUR, Western writer, 1908—88

Mileage craziness is a serious condition that exists in many forms. It can hit unsuspecting travelers while driving cars, motorcycles, riding in planes, crossing the country on bicycles or on foot. The symptoms may lead to obsessively placing more importance on how many miles are traveled than on the real reason for traveling. –PETER JENKINS, US writer, 1951—

The journey not the arrival matters. –T.S. ELIOT, English (US-born) poet, 1888—1965

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. –ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, Travels with a Donkey in The Cevennes, 1879

Urban Trails

To enjoy city walking to the utmost you have to throw yourself into a mood of loving humanity. – DONALD CULROSS PEATTIE, The Joy of Walking, The New York Times Magazine, April 1942

One of the best opportunities for building recreation into the environment is in the housing itself. The typical subdivision of postwar suburbia squandered the recreation potentials; it splattered houses all over the countryside in a rigid pattern of equal size lots, and thereby fouled the very amenities people moved outwards to seek. Lately, a new approach has been tried, and it works. Instead of forcing the developer to cover the whole tract with equal size lots, the community encourages him to cluster the houses into a more cohesive pattern and one far more economical to service with roads and utilities. The developer houses as many people as he would under the old pattern, but now he does not have to cut down all the trees and cover the streams to do it; over half of the tract is left open–for parks, bridle paths, and walkways. –OUTDOOR RECREATION RESOURCES REVIEW COMMISSION, Outdoor Recreation for America, 1962

If people are going to use trails then they need attractive, safe, accessible, convenient to use, paths and walkways in their neighborhoods. Whether it’s a tree-lined sidewalk in Manhattan or an open space network in suburban Denver, trails need to be a part of everyone’s daily lives. No one should be more than a 5-minute walk from a trail. –ROBERT SEARNS, founding owner of Urban Edges, Inc., a planning and development firm based in Denver, CO., 2001

Nothing could do more to give life back to our blighted urban cores than to reinstate the pedestrian, in malls and pleasances designed to make circulation a delight. –LEWIS MUMFORD, The Highway and the City, 1953

The Outdoor Recreation Resources Commission marked a notable point…. The simple, close-to-home activities, it discovered, are by and far away the most important to Americans…. The structure of our metropolitan areas has long since been set by nature and man, by the rivers and hills, and the railroads and highways. Many options remain, and the great task of planning is not to come up with another structure but to work within the strengths we have, and to discern this structure as people experience it in their everyday life. –WILLIAM WHYTE, The Last Landscape, 1968

Few actions can do more to make urban areas safer, healthier, prettier, and more environmentally balanced than setting aside corridors or trails for walking, biking, wildlife watching, and just plain breaking up the monotony of cars and concrete. –JAMES SNYDER, Publisher of Environment Today, 1990

As we examine ways to get trails built under uncertain circumstances, there is one fact we must face: no urban trail is going to get built without solid political and community support. –STUART MACDONALD, Building Support for Urban Trails, Parks & Recreation, 22(11), 1987

The new big issues [facing urban trails] are funding, user fees, and private sector involvement, not planning, programs, and social research. –STUART MACDONALD, Building Support for Urban Trails, Parks & Recreation, 22(11), 1987


The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. –ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, US diplomat and politician, 1884-1962

The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision. –HELEN KELLER, deaf & blind US lecturer, 1880—1968

Let us green the earth, restore the earth, heal the earth. –IAN MCHARG, Design With Nature, 25th Anniversary Edition, 1992

The dreamer and the dream are the same … the powers personified in a dream are those that move the world. –JOSEPH CAMPBELL, US authority on mythology, 1904-87

I’ll tell you my vision. I’d like for most Americans to be able to reach a trail within walking distance of their home and work place. I would like us all to have available a significant natural corridor where we can stroll, exercise, or socialize with friends. I would like to see the National Trails System be as myriad and diverse as the American people. I would like to see us being committed to preserving enough significant corridors that we could have a trail system that is reflective of various communities of interest–so we are not confused by some as serving a single activity group. –WILLIAM SPITZER, Chief, Recreation Resource Division, National Park Service, Ninth National Trails Symposium, Unicoi State Park, Georgia, 1988

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. –ALBERT EINSTEIN, interviewed by George Viereck, The Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1929

It [a decent spiritual and economic connection to the land] will have to be done by making a bond with some place, and by living there–doing the work the place requires, repairing the damage that others have done to it, preserving its woods, building back its ecological health–undertaking, that is, the necessary difficulty and clumsiness of discovering, at this late date and in the most taxing of circumstances, a form of human life that is not destructive. –WENDELL BERRY, The Unknown Wilderness: Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, 1971

In the not-too-distant future, Americans will look back on those who created rail-trail parks with the same gratitude that we today feel for those visionary men and women who created our first national parks. But this ‘second wave’ of park creation must take place now, within the next decade or so, if we are not to lose the opportunity of using the abandoned rail corridors which are rapidly disappearing from the landscape. –PETER HARNICK, Converting Rails to Trails, 1989

In the nineteenth century we built the railroad system and in the twentieth century we built the highway system. In the 21st century we will reconnect America with a network of trails and greenways. My vision is to change the map of American. –DAVID BURWELL, President, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, 2000

A clear stream, a long horizon, a forest wilderness and open sky–these are man’s most ancient possessions. In a modern society, they are his most priceless. –LYNDON B. JOHNSON, Thirty-sixth US President (1963—68), 1908—73

Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you … beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. –EDWARD ABBEY, US environmental advocate, 1927—89

Technology continues to create more problems than technological thinking can solve, and we are faced with accepting the biblical injunction that, without vision, the people perish. –FRANK BERGON, editor of The Wilderness Reader, 1980

I find in this a note of optimism for our sometimes gloomy world. With pollution and overpopulation spawning a sprawling urban desert, I am encouraged by the knowledge that there are millions in America who care about wilderness and mountains; who go forth for strength to Mother Earth; who defend her domain and seek her secrets. I am proud to have played a role in the birth of the Appalachian Trail. And I am proud of the generations of hikers who have made my dream become a reality. –BENTON MACKAYE, foreword, The Appalachian Trail, 1972

Leisure, of course, will be greatly extended. A much shorter work week will no doubt prevail in 1980, and another ten or fifteen years will have been added to the average life space…. Not labor but leisure will be the great problem in the decades ahead. That prospect should be accepted as a God-given opportunity to add dimensions of enjoyment and grace of life. –DAVID SARNOFF, Chairman of RCA, The Fabulous Future, Fortune, 51(1), January 1955

Any trail which is to survive must be in public ownership. –MYRON AVERY, Appalachian Trailway News, January 1946

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again…. So why bother in the first place? Just this: what is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. In climbing, always take note of difficulties along the way; for as you go up, you can observe them. Coming down, you will no longer see them, but you will know they are there if you have observed them well.

One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. –RENÉ DAUMAL, French writer, 1908—44, Mount Analgue, 1952

Too many cities in America have become places to survive. We need more places to thrive. –DAN BURDEN, Florida Bicycle Facilities Planning and Design Handbook, 1997

America needs her forests and wild spaces quite as much as her cities and her settled places. – BENTON MACKAYE, founder of the Appalachian Trail, 1879—1975

The elegant simplicity and dazzling utility of the ban-all-motors solution to park problems may blind some to its feasibility. It is feasible. It can be done. Eventually it will have to be done. All that is lacking at present is the will on the part of the National Park Service officialdom. Or to phrase it more poetically, the guts. All it takes is a little guts. And this, or these, it is the duty of the park-supporting public to supply. –EDWARD ABBEY, talking about the overuse of Great Smokies National Park in Appalachian Wilderness, 1988

All of us are dreamers. Dreams are what started everything. Dreams are the most realistic way of looking at life. Dreamers are not shadowy ephemeral-thinking people. The dreamers are the realists. They are the ones who look through all the facades to all the things that we’re doing to our environment and see the end result as it affects humanity. We are asking ourselves a great question … and all of us interested in wilderness preservation are asking it all the time, and that is: What kind of world do we want? –SIGURD F. OLSON, speech at Ninth Biennial Wilderness Conference, San Francisco, 1965

It is not by whining that one carries out the job of a leader. –NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, French emperor (1804—15), 1769—1821

I dream of a day when one cannot only walk or bike from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but from Hudson Bay to the Caribbean. These routes will vary–some will stick to the back country, some will be on ‘blue’ highways, some through city neighborhoods, some past farms. But all can feature a variety of natural, recreational and cultural experiences which marks our diversity. The American Discovery Trail embraces this diversity, linking hundreds of communities from coast to coast. Would that there will be more American Discovery Trails criss-crossing North America, binding us together as the road system does now, but with an eye for community building, building a sustainable, inhabitable, safe earth for our children to the seventh generation. –WILLIAM SPITZER, Acting Assistant Director, National Recreation Programs, National Park Service, Trails Connecting Our Communities, Keynote Address at 12th National Trails Symposium, Anchorage, Alaska, October 1994

Our children and grandchildren deserve the opportunity to realize the fulfillment of the recommendations contained within Trails for All Americans [report]: they deserve the opportunity to hike through an old growth forest that has been protected by virtue of its greenway designation; they deserve the opportunity to feel the wind whistle through their hair as they glide across the snow in northern states on their solar powered, modern and quiet snowmobiles. Or as they hike, bike or ride their horse from the Atlantic coast, through the Appalachians, the prairies of the central plains, and across the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra and on to the Golden Gate Bridge. And, they deserve the opportunity to enjoy the quality of life that we have enjoyed as Americans–to walk, run and ride on a national system of trails and greenways that reflects the heritage and pride of our great nation. – CHUCK FLINK, President, American Trails, 1990

Trails in the 21st century will:

  • be located, designed, and managed as accessible and appealing to serve all Americans regardless of age, physical ability, cultural background, economic situation, or geographic location
  • develop apace with other infrastructure systems to meet the changing needs of a changing nation
  • be within easy and safe reach of every American
  • form a complete grid criss-crossing the nation, interconnecting at all levels, forming a new infrastructural network
  • be characterized by meaningful connections, whereby all Americans will have access to parks, places of employment, and neighboring communities
  • provide diverse experiences while respecting both the natural and man-made environments
  • provide numerous benefits, including recreation and transportation opportunities while conserving natural and cultural resources
  • be built through creative partnerships, relying heavily on citizen initiation, while combining the resources of nonprofit organizations, public agencies, foundations, and private corporations

– A vision for trails in the 21st century presented at the 12th National Trails Symposium, in Anchorage, Alaska, October 1994

We have a vision for allowing every American easy access to the natural world: Greenways. Greenways are fingers of green that reach out from and around and through communities all across America, created by local action. They will connect parks and forests and scenic countrysides, public and private, in recreation corridors for hiking, jogging, wildlife movement, horse and bicycle riding. – PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION ON AMERICANS OUTDOORS, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987

Our common goal is the creation of a nationwide network of multi-use trails–local, regional, and national systems–that allow walkers, bicyclists, people with disabilities, equestrians, runners, skiers, hikers, and others to enjoy the beauty of the American landscape. WILLIAM SPITZER, Chief, Recreation Resources Assistance Division, National Park Service, 1993

Trail opportunities should exist within 15 minutes of most American’s homes;
The system should be made up of a combination of federal, state, local and private trails, with entities working together to make an interconnected system;
Trails must be planned as part of the nation’s infrastructure as are sewers, utilities and highways;
Planning for trail corridors and networks should be a grassroots effort to ensure there is adequate support for their development, management and long-term protection.
–AMERICAN TRAILS, Trails for All Americans report, 1990

.…we’re at a critical stage in the world. We have reached the point where we need to think about what kind of environmental future we’re going to have. I believe we can live in harmony with our environment; we don’t have to go out and pave every square inch. But we need a new ethic for living in our world. That’s why I do what I do. –CHUCK FLINK, President, Greenways Inc., 1988

We can’t all be great explorers, like Perry and Powell, nor great naturalists, like Thoreau and Humboldt. But anyone who prizes the sights and sounds of nature in action, whether robins at the window or muskrat in the stream, or bog born of ages, such a one is, within his measure, an explorer and naturalist. And his job is cut out for him: to make of his region, as seen from its highest hill, a place for taking expeditions. –BENTON MACKAYE, Expedition Nine: A Return to a Region, 1969

A vision without a task is but a dream; a task without a vision is drudgery; a vision with a task is the hope of the world. –Church inscription, Sussex, England, 1730

Recreational trails should provide the people of Illinois with opportunities to enjoy physical and social activities … they should provide opportunities to experience the natural, cultural and scenic amenities of the trail corridor … they should reflect landscapes typical of the state’s different regions … they should be accessible to the state’s citizens … they should provide a pleasurable, non-polluting alternative to automobile travel for short trips … they should be economic assets to communities along the trail … and they should contribute to the quality of life in Illinois.

These trails should be developed through partnerships among state, federal, regional and local units of government, constituent organizations and trail users … they should link communities and their parks and extend from cities into the countryside … they should connect Illinois’ diverse regions and with trails in neighboring states’… and they should evolve into a network of trails throughout the length and breadth of Illinois, easily accessible to all Illinoisans for their use and enjoyment.
–ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT of CONSERVATION, Illinois State Trails Plan, 1995

Little did I dream more than fifty years ago when I sat down with two men in the New Jersey Highlands and outlined to them my idea of a footpath through the Appalachians, that such plans would be translated into the institution that has now come to pass. I did little more than suggest the notion: I set the match to the fuse and set the chain reaction that has come about. –BENTON MACKAYE, founder of the Appalachian Trail, statement read to Appalachian Trail Conference meeting in Boone, NC, 1975

We can tie this country together with threads of green that everywhere grant us access to the natural world. Rivers and streams are the most obvious corridors, offering trails on the shores and boating at mid-channel. They could link open areas already existing as national and state parks, grasslands, forests, lakes, and reservoirs, the entire network winding through both rural and urban populations. Thousands of miles of abandoned rail lines should become hiking, biking, and bridle paths. Utility rights-of-way could share their open space not only with hikers and cyclists but also with wildlife. Citizens and landowners, both individual and corporate, can look for opportunities to establish and maintain greenways with the help of volunteer labor. Imagine every person in the U.S. being within easy walking distance of a greenway that could lead around the entire nation. It can be done if we act soon. –PRESIDENT’S COMMISSION ON AMERICANS OUTDOORS, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987

Keep your eye fixed on the path to the top, but don’t forget to look right in front of you. The last step depends on the first. Don’t think you’re there just because you see the summit. Watch your footing, be sure of the next step, but don’t let that distract you from the highest goal. The first step depends on the last. –RENÉ DAUMAL, French writer, 1908—44, Mount Analgue, 1952


Here is enormous undeveloped power–the spare time of our population. Suppose just one percent of it were focused upon one particular job, such as increasing the facilities for the outdoor community life. This would be more than a million people, representing over two million weeks a year. It would be equivalent to 40,000 persons steadily on the job. –BENTON MACKAYE, An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning, The Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 1921

So much work remains to be done in this unfinished and imperfect world that none of us can justify standing on the sidelines. Especially in a society like ours, volunteering is an expression of democracy in its purest form. For the volunteer is a participant, not a looker-on, and participation is the democratic process. –EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER, in President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, Report and Recommendations to the President of the United States, 1986

Enhancing the other person’s ability to live more beautifully and to grow is an exciting challenge for us. The purpose of life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, would you at least not hurt them? – LEO BUSCAGLIA, Living, Loving, and Learning, 1983

If you tell enough people what you’re doing, you’ll find someone who will want to help. –MICHELLE STURM, Programs Coordinator, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, 1990

….volunteerism is not a fad but a viable, long term solution to providing many recreation services. The success and importance of volunteer activities today are far exceeded by their potential for the future. Volunteer programs require a great deal of effort to initiate and sustain, and they are not free. However, when approached properly, these programs can have broad long term benefits that far outweigh costs. –ROGER MOORE, Appalachian Mountain Club, in President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, Report and Recommendations to the President of the United States, 1986

Many will be shocked to find
when the day of judgement nears
that there’s a special place in heaven
set aside for volunteers.
Furnished with big recliners,
Satin Couches, and footstools,
where there’s no committee chairman,
no group leaders or car pools.
No eager team that needs a coach,
no bazaar and no bake sale.
There will be nothing to fold or mail.
Telephone lists will be outlawed.
But a finger snap will bring
cool drinks and gourmet dinners
and treats fit for a king.
You ask, ‘Who’ll serve these privileged few
and work for all they’re worth?’
Why, all those who reaped the benefits
and not once volunteered on Earth.
Volunteers, God Bless Them, printed in ANN LANDERS’ advice column, May 5, 1999

Volunteers working in our wildlands are important today. In the future, they will become even more important. We volunteers will be needed not only to protect existing trails, but to demonstrate leadership in developing recreation opportunities for the people of the entire nation. –PAUL PRITCHARD, Director of Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, address to the 102nd annual meeting of the Appalachian Mountain Club, 1977

For volunteers to perform well, they need to have a sense of responsibility. Too often government agencies have seen volunteers as inexpensive, unskilled laborers, not as a tremendous resource waiting to be tapped. Under utilized volunteers rarely develop a solid sense of stewardship or participation. On the Appalachian Trail, where the clubs are clearly in the hot seat of responsibility, there is a remarkable level of commitment and resolve to do well. Public land managers must be willing to have faith in volunteer organizations with good track records. In some cases specific legislation will be necessary to give volunteer groups significant responsibility. –LAWRENCE VAN METER, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, in President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, Report and Recommendations to the President of the United States, 1986

Walkable Communities

Indeed, I think it would be tantamount to an astonishing revival of religion if the people would all walk to church on Sunday and walk home again. –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

Indeed, I think it would be tantamount to an astonishing revival of religion if the people would all walk to church on Sunday and walk home again. –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

No city should be too large for a man to walk out of in a morning. –CYRIL CONNOLLY, The Unquiet Grave, 1945

A city that outdistances man’s walking powers is a trap for man. –ARNOLD TOYNBEE, English historian and historical philosopher, 1889-1975

When I see the discomforts that able-bodied American men will put up with rather than go a mile or half a mile on foot, the abuses they will tolerate and encourage, crowding the streetcar on a little fall in the temperature or the appearance of an inch or two of snow, packing up to overflowing, dangling to the straps, treading on each other’s toes, breathing each other’s breaths, crushing the women and children, hanging by tooth and nail to a square inch of the platform, imperiling their limbs and killing the horses–I think the commonest tramp in the street has good reason to felicitate himself on his rare privilege of going afoot. Indeed, a race that neglects or despises this primitive gift, that fears the touch of soil, that has no footpaths, no community or ownership in the land which they imply, that warns off the walker as a trespasser, that knows no way but the highway, the carriage way, that forgets the stile, the footbridge, that even ignores the rights of the pedestrian in the public road, providing no escape for him but in the ditch or up the bank, is in a fair way to far more serious degeneracy. –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

Restore human legs as a means of travel. Pedestrians rely on food for fuel and need no special parking facilities. –LEWIS MUMFORD, American social philosopher and urban planner, 1895—1990

One can tell the health of a town by the meanness of its dogs. If they snarl and bark, down to the smallest runt, the town is mean and its inhabitants set a poor table for the sojourner. Well fed dogs are content to lie on their porches in the shade and make a ceremonial growl as the stranger passes. That town will have hospitality. –BARTON BROWN, 2,000-Miler Report to the Appalachian Trail Conference, 1977

.…to bring the pedestrian back into the picture, one must treat him with the respect and honor we now accord only to the automobile: we should provide him with pleasant walks, insulated from traffic, to take him to his destination, once he enters a business precinct or residential quarter. –LEWIS MUMFORD, US social philosopher and urban planner, 1895—1990

Europeans are redesigning entire cities to accommodate people on foot, benefiting mind, body, and spirit in the process. It’s high time we took note. –ZANE SMITH, Rambling: Will Americans Do It? American Forests, January/February 1989

A walkway system can be a showcase of how existing features in a landscape— an abandoned railroad right-of-way, utility corridors, city sidewalks, a canal towpath, a city dock— can be thoughtfully adapted to form a unified and useful outdoor space. It creates a public environment where people want to gather, explore, and learn. That promotes conservation at its most basic level— knowing our World. – CRAIG EVANS, President, WalkWays Center in Washington, DC, 1989

Great walking cities are those with destinations within a 15- to 20-minute walk of each other... varied architecture. Diverse neighborhoods and a lively street life energized by sidewalk vendors, entertainers, and window-shoppers... filled with open spaces and parks... widened sidewalks, auto-restricted zones, and amenities such as benches, signs, and fountains. The Walking Magazine, August 1991


We sit, we eat, and we walk. –BUDDHA, East Indian philosopher and religious leader, 563?-483?

Every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walking, Atlantic Monthly, June 1862

Of all exercises walking is the best. –THOMAS JEFFERSON, Third US President (1801—09), 1743—1826

There is a leisure about walking, no matter what pace you set, that lets down the tension. –HAL BORLAND, To Own the Streets and Fields, The New York Times Magazine, October 6, 1946

Why Walk? Because it makes you feel good and makes you look good. –JOHN MAN, Walk!, 1979

People walk for man reasons–for enjoyment, for relaxation, for challenge, for change, to revitalize, to think, to discover particularities usually blotted out by the modern world’s frenetic pace. –MARLYN DOAN, Hiking Light, 1982

The labyrinth literally reintroduces the experience of walking a clearly defined path. This reminds us that there is a path, a process that brings us to unity, to the center of our beings. In the simple act of walking, the soul finds solace and peace. –LAUREN ARTESS, Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool, 1995.

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

We have produced some good walkers and saunterers, and some noted climbers; but as a staple recreation, as a daily practice, the mass of the people dislike and despise walking. –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

Walking would teach people the quality that youngsters find so hard to learn–patience. –EDWARD PAYSON WESTON, long distance pedestrian, 1839-1929

Man takes root at his feet, and at best he is no more than a potted plant in his house or carriage till he has established communication with the soil by the loving and magnetic touch of his soles to it. Then the tie of association is born; then spring those invisible fibres and rootlets through which character comes to smack of the soil, and which make a man kindred to the spot of earth he inhabits. –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

We must walk before we run. –GEORGE BORROW, English author, 1803-81

I do not think I exaggerate the importance or the charms of pedestrianism, or our need as a people to cultivate the art. I think it would tend to soften the national manners, to teach us the meaning of leisure, to acquaint us with the charms of the open air, to strengthen and foster the tie between the race and the land. No one else looks out upon the world so kindly and charitably as the pedestrian; no one else gives and takes so much from the country he passes through. –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

For you, as well as I, can open fence doors and walk across America in your own special way. Then we can all discover who our neighbors are. –ROB SWEETGALL, Fitness Walking, 1985

….success in walking is not to let your right foot know what your left foot doeth. Your heart must furnish such music that in keeping time to it your feet will carry you around the globe without knowing it. –JOHN BURROUGHS, The Exhilaration of the Road, Winter Sunshine, 1875

Some people walk with both eyes focused on their goal: the highest mountain peak in the range, the fifty-mile marker, the finish line. They stay motivated by anticipating the end of the journey. Since I tend to be easily distracted, I travel somewhat differently–one step at a time, with many pauses in between. –HANNAH NYALA, Point Last Seen; A Woman Tracker’s Story, 1997

If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish. –CHARLES DICKENS, British novelist, 1812-70

The Americans never walk. In winter too cold and in summer too hot. –J.B. YEATS, Letters to His Son, W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922

It seems quite impossible to walk in America. –ROGER BANNISTER, British physician and track athlete, 1928-

Man is not man sitting down: he is man on the move. –STEPHEN GRAHAM, The Gentle Art of Tramping, 1926

I had better admit right away that walking can in the end become an addiction … even in this final stage it remains a delectable madness, very good for sanity, and I recommend it with passion. –COLIN FLETCHER, The Complete Walker III, 1989

We live in a fast-paced society. Walking slows us down. –ROBERT SWEETGALL, Fitness Walking, 1985

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it … if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right. –SOREN KIERKEGAARD, Danish philosopher, 1813-55

The true charm of pedestrians does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. –MARK TWAIN, A Tramp Abroad, 1880

Our walking is not a means to an end. We walk for the sake of walking. –THICH NHAT HANH, The Long Road Turns to Joy: A Guide to Walking Meditation, 1996

When I am not walking, I am reading. I cannot sit and think. –CHARLES LAMB, British essayist, 1775-1834

The [English] literary movement at the end of the eighteenth century was obviously due in great part, if not mainly, to the renewed practice of walking. –LESLIE STEPHEN, in The Art of Walking, edited by Edwin V. Mitchell, 1934

There are different reasons for walking–to increase the heart rate and build strength, to solve a creative problem, to finish that argument with yourself or someone else, to saunter and wake up to the world around you, and to mediate. I walk for all of them, but most days I go on walks for a ‘moving meditation’–fitness of the spirit. –SARAH BAN BREATHNACH, Simple Abundance, 1995

Walking connects you to the land, it sews a seam between you and it that is very hard to unstitch. – KELLY WINTERS, Walking Home: A Woman’s Pilgrimage on the Appalachian Trail, 2001

I walk regularly for my soul and my body tags along. –SARAH BAN BREATHNACH, Simple Abundance, 1995

It requires a direct dispensation from Heaven to become a walker. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

I still find each day too short for the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see. –JOHN BURROUGHS, US essayist and naturalist, 1837—1921

I have met with but one or two people in the course of my life who have understood the art of walking. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

Walking is easiest, you don’t need a lot of apparatus. Just shoe leather and good feet. –DR. PAUL DUDLEY WHITE, US cardiologist, 1886—1973

I used, when I was younger, to take my holidays walking. I would cover 25 miles a day, and when the evening came I had no need of anything to keep me from boredom, since the delight of sitting amply sufficed. –BERTRAND RUSSELL, English philosopher, 1872—1970

In our entrancement with the motorcar, we have forgotten how much more efficient and how much more flexible the footwalker is. –LEWIS MUMFORD, US social philosopher and urban planner, 1895—1990

Never did I think so much, exist so much, be myself so much as in the journeys I have made alone and on foot. Walking has something about it which animates and enlivens my ideas. I can hardly think while I am still; my body must be in motion to move my mind. –JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, French philosopher & writer, 1712—78

In the first place you can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you’ll see something, may be. Probably not. –EDWARD ABBEY, Desert Solitaire, 1971

If you want to know if your brain is flabby, feel your legs. –BRUCE BARTON, US author and advertising executive, 1886-1967

Walking companions, like heroes, are difficult to pluck out of the crowd of acquaintances. Good dispositions, ready wit, friendly conversation serve well enough by the fireside but they prove insufficient in the field. For there you need transcendentalists–nothing less; you need poets, sages, humorists and natural philosophers. –BROOKS ATKINSON, in The Art of Walking, edited by Edwin V. Mitchell, 1934

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

Walk and be happy, walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose. –CHARLES DICKENS, British novelist, 1812-70

We Americans are a funny people. We say that our favorite outdoor recreation is ‘walking for pleasure’ (or so it is reported in Outdoor Recreation Trends). Yet the average housewife will jump into the family car–or one of them–to go around the corner for a bottle of aspirin and a television guide. The businessman who walks four blocks to an appointment is the exception rather than the rule. – STEWART UDALL, Go Forth Under the Open Sky, Popular Gardening & Living Outdoors, Summer 1968

Let’s all start walking more and driving less. –LEWIS GRIZZARD, US humorist, 1946—94

Walking provides free, immediate, healthful, energy-efficient motion. Evidence shows that when neighborhoods and communities are designed at a human scale to support walking trips, there are increases in community interaction and involvement. There are also reduced costs of transporting the elderly, children, the poor, and the physically challenged. A walking community also greatly increases the success of transit. These increases in walking and transit greatly reduce the congestion of roadways, and hence help maintain the mobility of all. –FLORIDA DEPARTMENT of TRANSPORTATION, Florida Pedestrian Safety Plan, 1992

The civilized man has built a coach, but he has lost the use of his feet. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

People seem to think there is something inherently noble and virtuous in the desire to go for a walk. – MAX BEERBOHM, Going Out for a Walk, And Even Now, 1920

.…in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. –JOHN MUIR, Steep Trails, 1918

You get most out of walking by going along briskly, swinging the arms and breathing deeply. It also helps promote the circulation of blood to the brain. The Greek philosophers promenaded as they philosophized. –DR. PAUL DUDLEY WHITE, US cardiologist, 1886—1973

The art of walking is obsolete. It is true that a few still cling to that mode of locomotion, are still admired as fossil specimens of an extinct race of pedestrians, but for the majority of civilized humanity, walking is on its last legs. Scientific American, January 9, 1869

When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: what would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or mall? –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walking, Atlantic Monthly, June 1862

Walking has the best value as gymnastics of the mind. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

But man’s values change as his life changes. The deeper he plunges into the whirlpool of modern living, with its speeding transport, vexing problems, and harassing pressures, the more he prizes the escape of an adventure as old as mankind itself–a solitary walk in the wilds. –MIKE EDWARDS, Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail, National Geographic, June 1971

I can only meditate when I am walking. When I stop, I cease to think; my mind only works with my legs. –JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, French philosopher & writer, 1712—78

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least–and it is commonly more than that–sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walking, Atlantic Monthly, June 1862

[Walking’s] overwhelming advantage is that it can be done by anyone, anytime, anywhere–and it doesn’t even look like exercise. –DR. KENNETH H. COOPER, US physician, his Aerobics (1968) helped launch the 1970s fitness craze, 1931-

I find that the three truly great times for thinking thoughts are when I am standing in the shower, sitting on the john, or walking. And the greatest of these, by far, is walking. –COLIN FLETCHER, The New Complete Walker, 1974

It is great art to saunter. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

Whenever possible I avoid the practice myself. If God had meant us to walk, he would have kept us down on all fours, with well-padded paws. He would have constructed our planet on the model of a simple cube, so that that notion of circularity and consequently the wheel might never have arisen. He surely would not have made mountains.

There is something unnatural about walking. Especially walking uphill, which always seems to me not only unnatural but so unnecessary. That iron tug of gravitation should be all the re-minder we need that in walking uphill we are violating a basic law of nature. Yet we persist in doing it. No one can explain why. George H. Mallory’s asinine rationale for climbing a mountain–‘because it’s there’–could easily be refuted with a few well-placed hydrogen bombs. But our common sense continues to lag far behind the available technology.

There are some good things to say about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and therefore more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated and anyone can transport himself anywhere, instantly. Big deal, Buckminster. To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me. That’s God’s job, not ours.

The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key. That’s the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn’t matter whether you get where you’re going or not. You’ll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home. Right where you started. Which reminds me of circles. Which reminds me of wheels.

Which reminds me my old truck needs another front-end job. Any good mechanics out there wandering through the smog? EDWARD ABBEY, US environmental advocate, 1927–89

I favor parking a few miles from the office and walking to work. You get the benefit of exercise and besides it is easier to get a parking space. DR. PAUL DUDLEY WHITE, US cardiologist, 1886–1973

The swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot. HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817–62

All walking is discovery. On foot we take the time to see things whole.
–HAL BORLAND, US journalist and naturalist, 1900—78

A first walk in any new country is one of the things which makes life on this planet worth being grateful for. –CHARLES WILLIAM BEEBE, US explorer and naturalist, 1877—1962

It is good to collect things; it is better to take walks. –ANATOLE FRANCE, French writer, 1844—1924

Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees. –KARLE WILSON BAKER, Good Company, 1916

One of the problems of modern times is that we are separated from the world that supports us by the speed with which we traverse it. Walking is the best way to know a place, perhaps the only way. – CHRIS TOWNSEND, Walking the Yukon: A Solo Trek Through the Land of Beyond, 1993

Walking is the exercise that needs no gym. It is the prescription without medicine, the weight control without diet, the cosmetic that is sold in no drugstore. It is the tranquilizer without a pill, the therapy without a psychoanalyst, the fountain of youth that is no legend. A walk is the vacation that does not cost a cent. –AARON SUSSMAN and RUTH GOODE, The Magic of Walking, 1967

People don’t think me as queer as they did a while ago. Now I’m stopped on the street by people who tell me proudly they’ve started to walk three miles a day. That’s good. We’re bipeds, you know, and we were given muscles to use! –DR. PAUL DUDLEY WHITE, US cardiologist, 1886—1973

Walking is simple and second nature for most of us. It’s an everyday kind of activity, not something that’s frequently the rage of fashion or touted for its sex appeal. Yet few physical pursuits in this life are ultimately as rewarding. It’s a wonderfully satisfying way to spend an hour, and afternoon, a day, or longer. –CHARLES COOK, The Essential Guide to Nature Walking in the United States, 1997

These men I have examined around the world who live in vigorous health to 100 or more years are great walkers. If you want to live a long, long time in sturdy health you can’t go wrong in forming the habit of long vigorous walking every day … until it becomes a habit as important to you as eating and sleeping. –DR. LEAF, Executive Health, 1977

There is one thought for the field, another for the house. I would have my thoughts, like wild apples, to be food for walkers, and will not warrant them to be palatable if tasted in the house. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Journal, October 27, 1855

And what exactly is nature walking? It’s any and every kind of walking you can do in the natural world. The activity encompasses strolling, striding, sauntering, stepping, treading, tramping, traipsing, traversing, rambling, roving, roaming, racewalking, hiking, meandering, wandering, wending, pacing, peregrinating, perambulating … in natural surroundings. –CHARLES COOK, The Essential Guide to Nature Walking in the United States, 1997

Unhappy business men, I am convinced, would increase their happiness more by walking six miles every day than by any conceivable change of philosophy. –BERTRAND RUSSELL, English philosopher, 1872—1970

Talk long walks in stormy weather or through deep snow in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

And the moral of my whole story is that walking is not only a joy in itself, but that it gives an intimacy with the sacred things and the primal things of earth that are not revealed to those who rush by on wheels. –JOHN FINLEY, Traveling Afoot, essay in The Art of Walking, edited by Edwin Valentine Mitchell, 1934

It’s about as nice a thing as anybody can do–walking, and it’s cheap, too! –EMMA ‘GRANDMA’ GATEWOOD, at age 67 first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (1955), 1887—1973

Now shall I walk or shall I ride? ‘Ride,’ Pleasure said; ‘Walk,’ Joy replied. –WILLIAM HENRY DAVIES, English poet, 1871—1940

Walking is the best way to gain an understanding of a place, to assimilate its rhythms and time scales…. Walking is the best way to know a place, perhaps the only way. –CHRIS TOWNSEND, Walking the Yukon: A Solo Trek Through the Land of Beyond, 1993

When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the shoe leather has passed into the fiber of your body. I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out. He is the richest man who pays the largest debt to his shoemaker. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

When you stroll you never hurry back, because if you had anything to do, you wouldn’t be strolling in the first place. –VIRGINIA CARY HUDSON, O Ye Jigs & Juleps!, 1962

I go to my solitary woodland walks as the homesick return to their homes. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult, than all the medicine and psychology in the world. –DR. PAUL DUDLEY WHITE, US cardiologist, 1886—1973

’Tis the best of humanity that comes out to walk. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

Never ride when you can walk. –BILL GALE, The Wonderful World of Walking, 1988

The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours … but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walking, Atlantic Monthly, June 1862

.…I dressed and went for a walk–determined not to return until I took in what Nature had to offer. – RAYMOND CARVER, US writer and poet, 1938—88, This Morning, Ultramarine, 1986

It is a gentle art; know how to tramp and you know how to live. Manners makyth man, and tramping makyth manners. Know how to meet your fellow wanderer, how to be passive to the beauty of Nature and how to be active to its wildness and its rigor. Tramping brings one to reality. –STEPHEN GRAHAM, The Gentle Art of Tramping, 1926

My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for so many years I have walked almost every day, and sometimes for several days together, I have not yet exhausted them. An absolutely new prospect is a great happiness, and I can still get this any afternoon. Two or three hours’ walking will carry me to as strange a country as I ever expect to see. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Walking, Atlantic Monthly, June 1862

I like to walk about amidst the beautiful things that adorn the world. –GEORGE SANTAYANA, Spanish born philosopher, writer, 1863-1952

He who walks may see and understand. You can study all America from one hilltop, if your eyes are open and your mind is willing to reach. But first you must walk to that hill. –HAL BORLAND, To Own the Streets and Fields, The New York Times Magazine, October 6, 1946

Before supper walk a little; after supper do the same. –DESIDERIUS ERASMUS ROTERODAMUS, Dutch humanist and theologian, 1466-1536

THE PREDICTION: Cities and town will become more livable thanks to the accouterments of walking. We will see a rash of nature paths, arcade malls, and auto-free zones mushrooming in cities large and small throughout the nation. –RAYMOND DREYFACK, The Complete Book of Walking, 1979

He who walks alone, waits for no-one. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

I have often started off on a walk in the state called mad–mad in the sense of sore-headed, or mad with tedium or confusion; I have set forth dull, null and even thoroughly discouraged. But I never came back in such a frame of mind, and I never met a human being whose humor was not the better for a walk. –DONALD CULROSS PEATTIE, The Joy of Walking, The New York Times Magazine, April 1942

I have two doctors, my left leg and my right. When body and mind are out of gear (and those twin parts of me live at such close quarters that the one always catches melancholy from the other) I know that I shall have only to call in my doctors and I shall be well again. –GEORGE MACAULAY TREVELYAN, Walking, essay in The Art of Walking, edited by Edwin Valentine Mitchell, 1934

Walking is nearly as natural as breathing. Most of us don’t remember learning how–it’s just something that happens. And when it does–one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other–thoughts are free to go skipping over the landscape like thistledown on the wind. –CATHY JOHNSON, Nature Walks, 1994

Going tramping is at first an act of rebellion; only afterwards do you get free from rebelliousness as Nature sweetens your mind. Town makes men contentious; the country smooths out their souls. – STEPHEN GRAHAM, The Gentle Art of Tramping, 1926

.…the brisk exercise imparts elasticity to the muscles, fresh and healthy blood circulates through the brain, the mind works well, the eye is clear, the step is firm, and the day’s exertion always makes the evening’s repose thoroughly enjoyable. –DAVID LIVINGSTONE, Scottish explorer in Africa, 1813—93

If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again–if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

How many different pleasures are brought together by this agreeable way of travelling, without counting strengthened health and brightened humor! I have always observed that those who traveled in good smooth-riding vehicles were dreamy, sad, scolding, or ailing, while pedestrians were happy, easygoing, and content with everything. How the heart laughs when one approaches lodging! How savory a coarse meal appears! With what pleasure one rests at the table! What a good sleep one has in a bad bed! When one wants only to arrive, one can hurry in a post-chaise. But when one wants to travel, one has to go on foot. –JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, French philosopher & writer, 1712—78

Part of the pleasure of any kind of walking for me is the very idea of going somewhere–by foot. – RUTH RUDNER, Forgotten Pleasures: A Guide for the Seasonal Adventurer, 1978

Few men know how to take a walk. The qualifications of a professor are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence, and nothing too much. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, from Country Life, the opening lecture of a course given in the Freeman Place Chapel in Boston, MA, in March 1858, first published in Natural History of Intellect and Other Papers, 1904

.…there are three prerequisites to going out into the world to walk for pleasure. One must have free time, a place to go, and a body unhindered by illness or social restraints. –REBECCA SOLNIT, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, 2000

If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. –HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Life without Principle, 1863

There is no orthodoxy in walking. It is a land of many paths and no-paths, where every one goes his own and is right. –GEORGE MACAULAY TREVELYAN, British historian, 1876—1962

Walking is man’s best medicine. –HIPPOCRATES, Greek physician, 460—377 BC

I can conceive of only one way of travelling that is more agreeable than going by horse. That is going by foot. The traveler leaves at his own good time; he stops at will; he takes as much or as little exercise as he wants. He observes the whole country; he turns aside to the right or the left; he examines all that appeals to him; he stops to see all the views. Do I notice a river? I walk along it. A thick wood? I go beneath its shade. A grotto? I visit it. A quarry? I examine the minerals. Everywhere I enjoy myself, I stay. The moment I get bored, I go. I depend on neither horse nor coachman. I do not need to choose ready-made paths, comfortable roads; I pass wherever a man can pass. I see all that a man can see; and, depending only on myself, I enjoy all the liberty a man can enjoy. –JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, French philosopher & writer, 1712—78

Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. The Europeans value themselves on having subdued the horse to the uses of man; but I doubt whether we have not lost more than we have gained, by the use of this animal. –THOMAS JEFFERSON, Third US President (1801—09), 1743—1826

Take a two-mile walk every morning before breakfast. –HARRY S. TRUMAN, Thirty-third US President (1945—53), 1884—1972

Virtually all of our township roads, at this date, have been stoned and paved the better to drive on. Few are still fit for walking. When you walk, you walk against traffic, wary, adapting, on the alert, keeping step with a fast-wheeling evolution, for the test of successful pedestrianism is, after all, survival. In the scheme of contemporary reversal such pleasures as walking–the time and the space to walk in–these become the luxuries. And naturally. For where many are riding few will be able to walk. Only those who feel rich can afford it–or those who are, or feel poor…. –WALTER TELLER, Area Code 215, 1962

Walking has been one of the constellations in the starry sky of human culture, a constellation whose three stars are the body, the imagination, and the wide-open world, and though all three exist independently, it is the lines drawn between them–drawn by the act of walking for cultural purposes–that makes them a constellation. Constellations are not natural phenomena but cultural impositions; the lines drawn between stars are like paths worn by the imagination of those who have gone before. This constellation called walking has a history, the history trod out by all those poets and philosophers and insurrectionaries, by jaywalkers, streetwalkers, pilgrims, tourists, hikers, mountaineers, but whether it has a future depends on whether those connecting paths are traveled still. –REBECCA SOLNIT, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, 2000

Time is not money; time is an opportunity to live before you die. So a man who walks, and lives and sees and thinks as he walks, has lengthened his life. –DONALD CULROSS PEATTIE, The Joy of Walking, The New York Times Magazine, April 5, 1942

I am not going to advocate … the abandoning of the improved modes of travel; but I am going to brag as lustily as I can on behalf of the pedestrian, and show how all the shining angels second and accompany the man who goes afoot, while all the dark spirits are ever looking out for a chance to ride. – JOHN BURROUGHS, US essayist and naturalist, 1837—1921

The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is best. –THOMAS JEFFERSON, Third US President (1801—09), 1743—1826

I never knew a man go for an honest day’s walk for whatever distance, great or small, and not have his reward in the repossession of his soul. –GEORGE MACAULAY TREVELYAN, British historian, 1876—1962

Let the people walk. Or ride horses, bicycles, mules, wild pigs–anything–but keep the automobiles and the motorcycles and all their motorized relatives out. We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert halls, art museums, legislative assemblies, private bedrooms and other sanctums of our culture; we should treat our national parks with the same deference, for they, too, are holy places. –EDWARD ABBEY, Desert Solitaire, 1971

A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Spirit. Only those thoughts that come by walking have any value. –FRIEDRICH WILHELM NIETZSCHE, Twilight of the Idols, 1888


…it is really not the wilderness that needs management (it has been doing quite well, after all, for a couple of billion years), but people. –RODERICK NASH, Wilderness and the American Mind, 1967

…wilderness is not so much a place, but a feeling about one. –RODERICK NASH, Wilderness and the American Mind, 1967

…the most distinctive and perhaps the most impressive characteristic of American scenery is its wildness. –THOMAS COLE, US romantic landscape painter, 1801-48

…I am asserting that those who love the wilderness should not be wholly deprived of it, that while the reduction of the wilderness has been a good thing, its extermination would be a very bad one, and that the conservation of wilderness is the most urgent and difficult of all the tasks that confront us, because there are no economic laws to help and many to hinder its accomplishment. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

Is it possible to preserve the element of Unknown Places in our national life? Is it practicable to do so, without undue loss in economic values? I say ‘yes’ to both questions. But we must act vigorously and quickly, before the remaining bits of wilderness have disappeared. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

Ability to see the cultural value of wilderness boils down, in the last analysis, to a question of intellectual humility. –ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

Above all, modern man, perplexed and beleaguered in mind and body, needs the wholeness and serenity that come from leisurely association with natural surroundings, particularly with nature it its pure, unadulterated state–true wilderness. –STEWART UDALL, Secretary of the Interior, address to the Eighth Wilderness Conference, 1963

Better a wounded wilderness than none at all. –WALLACE STEGNER, US environmental writer, 1909—93

We work for wilderness preservation not primarily for the right of a minority to have the kind of fun it prefers, but rather to ensure for everyone the perpetuation of areas where human enjoyment and the apprehension of the interrelations of the whole community of life are possible, and to preserve for all the freedom of choosing to know the primeval if they so wish. –HOWARD ZAHNISER, US conservationist, 1906-64

The basic problem of wilderness is how to enjoy it today and still have it tomorrow. –SIERRA CLUB first conference on wilderness, 1949

The wild requires that we learn the terrain, nod to all the plants and animals and birds, ford the streams and cross the ridges, and tell a good story when we get back home. –GARY SNYDER, The Practice of the Wild, 1990

Wilderness holds more answers to more questions than we yet know how to ask. –ANSEL ADAMS and NANCY NEWHALL, This Is the American Earth, 1960

Man is not long from the wilderness, and it takes him but a short time to go back to living with it…. – LOUIS L’AMOUR, To the Far Blue Mountains, Western writer, 1908—88

There are no words that can tell of the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm. –THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Twenty-sixth US President (1901—09), 1858—1919

In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world–the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and the wounds heal ere we are aware. –JOHN MUIR, Alaska Fragment, 1890

I have discovered in a lifetime of traveling in primitive regions, a lifetime of seeing people living in the wilderness and using it, that there is a hard core of wilderness need in everyone, a core that makes its spiritual values a basic human necessity. There is no hiding it…. Unless we can preserve places where the endless spiritual needs of man can be fulfilled and nourished, we will destroy our culture and ourselves. –SIGURD F. OLSON, speech at Sierra Club conference, 1965

Wilderness touches the heart, mind and soul of each individual in a way known only to himself. – MICHAEL FROME, The National Forests of America, 1968

Discovery is adventure. There is an eagerness, touched at times with tenseness, as man moves ahead into the unknown. Walking the wilderness is indeed like living. The horizon drops away, bringing new sights, sounds, and smells from the earth. When one moves through the forests, his sense of discovery is quickened. Man is back in the environment from which he emerged to build factories, churches, and schools. He is primitive again, matching his wits against the earth and sky. He is free of the restraints of society and free of its safeguards too. –WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS, Of Men and Mountains, 1950

….the most distinctive, and perhaps the most impressive, characteristic of American scenery is its wilderness. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

I realized that Eastern thought had somewhat more compassion for all living things. Man was a form of life that in another reincarnation might possibly be a horsefly or a bird of paradise or a deer. So a man of such a faith, looking at animals, might be looking at old friends or ancestors. In the East the wilderness has no evil connotation; it is thought of as an expression of the unity and harmony of the universe. –SUPREME COURT JUSTICE WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS, Go East, Young Man, 1974

Without enough wilderness America will change, Democracy, with its myriad personalities and increasing sophistication, must be fibred and vitalized by the regular contact with outdoor growths–animals, trees, sun warmth, and free skies–or it will dwindle and pale. –WALT WHITMAN, US poet, 1819—92

The only way we can save any wilderness in this country is to make it harder to get into, and harder to stay in once you get there. –MARTIN LITTON, The Grand Canyon, 1972

Wipe out wilderness and the world’s a cage. –DAVID BROWER, Executive Director, Sierra Club, (1952—69), 1912-2000

Wilderness has little appeal to those who are blind to all except material values. To them it is a resource "poorly used"; the uncut timber, or the grass on inaccessible alpine meadows is going to waste. Well-watered valleys, supporting only salmon or trout, or deer and other wildlife, might better give way to choice dam sites whose development could provide handsome blocks of power for new or expanding farms, industries, and cities. –BERNARD FRANK, Our National Forests, 1955

The reason we need wilderness is because we are really wild animals. Every man needs a place he can go, to go crazy in peace…. Only then can we return to man’s other life, to the other way, to the order and sanity and beauty of what will somewhere be, unless all visions are false, the human community. – EDWARD ABBEY, US environmental advocate, 1927—89

We simply must band together, all of us who love the wilderness. We must fight together–wherever and whenever wilderness is attacked. –BOB MARSHALL, Co-founder, Wilderness Society, 1901—39

A man could be a lover and defender of the wilderness without ever in his lifetime leaving the boundaries of asphalt, powerlines and right-angled surfaces. We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may never need to go there. I may never in my life get to Alaska, for example, but I am grateful that it’s there. We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis. –EDWARD ABBEY, Desert Solitaire, 1968

Never did we plan the morrow, for we had learned that in the wilderness some new and irresistible distraction is sure to turn up each day before breakfast. Like the river, we were free to wander. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

I hesitate to define just what the qualities of a true wilderness experience are. Like music and art, wilderness can be defined only on its own terms. The less talk, the better. –ANSEL ADAMS, US photographer, 1902—84

Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter. –JOHN MUIR, Life and Letters of John Muir, 1924

It is commonplace of all religious thought that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and live for a while in the wilderness. If he is of proper sort, he will return with a message. It may not be a message from the god he set out to seek but even if he has failed in that particular, he will have had a vision or seen a marvel and these are always worth listening to or thinking about. – LOREN EISELEY, The Immense Journey, 1946

If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it. –PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON, upon signing of the Wilderness Act of 1964

To carry out this program it is exigent that all friends of the wilderness ideal should unite. If they do not present the urgency of their viewpoint the other side will certainly capture popular support. Then it will only be a few years until the last escape from society will be barricaded. If that day arrives there will be countless souls born to live in strangulation, countless human beings who will be crushed under the artificial edifice raised by man. There is just one hope of repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every niche on the whole earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom of the wilderness. –BOB MARSHALL, The Problem of the Wilderness, The Scientific Monthly, 1930

You know that I have not lagged behind in the work of exploring our grand wilderness, and in calling everybody to come and enjoy the thousand blessings they have to offer. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

On wilderness preservation: Don’t rely on the Park Service; all they can think of is more asphalt paving, more picnic tables, more garbage cans, more shithouses, more electric lights, more Kleenex dispensers. Those bastards are scared to death of congressmen, who in turn are representatives of and often identical with local chambers of commerce. –EDWARD ABBEY, June 15, 1956 journal entry while working at Arches National Park in Utah

None know how often the hand of God is seen in a wilderness but them that rove it for a man’s life. – THOMAS COLE, Romantic landscape painter, 1801-48

Wilderness can be appreciated only by contrast, and solitude understood only when we have been without it. We cannot separate ourselves from society, comradeship, sharing, and love. Unless we can contribute something from wilderness experience, derive some solace or peace to share with others, then the real purpose is defeated. –SIGURD F. OLSON, conservation writer and wilderness advocate, 1899—1982

To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, there lies the value of wilderness. –JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

The exquisite sight, sound, and smell of wilderness is many times more powerful if it is earned through physical achievement, if it comes at the end of a long and fatiguing trip for which vigorous good health is a necessity. Practically speaking, this means that no one should be able to enter a wilderness by mechanical means. –GARRETT HARDIN, The Ecologist, February 1974

How great are the advantages of solitude! How sublime is the silence of nature’s ever-active energies! There is something in the very name of wilderness which charms the ear, and soothes the spirit of man. There is religion in it. –ESTWICK EVANS, US author, 1787-1866

For me, and for thousands with similar inclinations, the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilization. To us the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefiled panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness. –BOB MARSHALL, Co-founder, Wilderness Society, 1901—39

Often the difference between a full life and a cramped existence is measured in terms of our opportunities to test our physical strength against the elements of the wilderness. –W.K. MERRILL, The Hiker’s & Backpacker’s Handbook, 1971

In this day of man’s increasingly mechanical approach to the outdoors, when thousands experience nature not for what it is through observation but as a playground, there aren’t many places left where one is guaranteed one won’t be run over by a jeep or snowmobile or mountain bike. Preserving those [Wilderness] areas–at the cost of a disgruntled few–seems worth the price. –DENNIS COELLO, The Complete Mountain Biker, 1989

Wilderness enough to be the preservation of the world still exists. We can enjoy it today and save it for coming generations. Invite them to a clean, unspoiled world. If we do, they will want to know about us. That is real immortality. But if we don’t leave our descendants a habitable life-affirming world, we’ll deserve to be forgotten, and their willingness to forget would be our eternal death. – CALVIN RITSTRUM, Chips From a Wilderness Log, 1978

When ever the light of civilization faces upon you with a blighting power … go to the wilderness…. Dull business routine, the fierce passions of the marketplace, the perils of envious cities became but a memory…. The wilderness will take hold of you. It will give you good red blood; it will turn you from a weakling into a man…. You will soon behold all with a peaceful soul. –ESTWICK EVANS, US author, 1787-1866

The most glorious value of the wilderness is that in it a person may be completely disassociated from the mechanical and dated age of the twentieth century, and bury himself in the timeless oblivion of nature. Its enjoyment depends on a very delicate psychological adjustment…. You have got to be immersed in a region where you know that mechanization is really absent, and where you are thrown entirely on the glorious necessity of depending on your own powers. –BOB MARSHALL, The Wilderness on Trial, Outdoor America, March 1938

A road is a dagger placed in the heart of wilderness. –WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS, as quoted in Ghost Grizzlies by David Petersen, 1995

To some extent wilderness is a link with our heritage of the frontier-- an opportunity for a discovery or renewal of something already within us. You might call it an aloneness, a detachment from normal cares and responsibilities, or a renewed feeling of one’s place in nature. –USDA FOREST SERVICE, National Forest Wilderness and Primitive Areas, 1973

The richest values of wilderness lie not in the days of Daniel Boone nor even in the present, but rather in the future. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

True wilderness is where you keep it, and real wilderness experience cannot be a sedentary one; you have to seek it out–not seated, but afoot. –DAVID BROWER, preface, Going Light–With Backpack or Burro, 1962

Solitude is an essential quality of wilderness. –ROBERT LUCAS, Wilderness: A Management Framework, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, July-August 1974

Not only has wilderness been a force in molding our character as a people, but its influence continues, and will, if we are wise enough to preserve it on this continent, be a stabilizing power as well as a spiritual reserve for the future. –SIGURD F. OLSON, conservation writer and wilderness advocate, 1899—1982

The sovereign quality of wilderness is the same wherever encountered.… Each manifestation has an unshackled quality–each stirs untapped longings–each gives a fillip to living–each has an unsurpassed lilt which bursts from the deepest wellsprings of life. These are the realities found in the wilderness of the Great Smoky Mountains. –HARVEY BROOME, Out Under the Sky of the Great Smokies, 1967

Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization. –ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor … the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees the thunder cloud and the rain … some life pasturing freely where we never wander. – HENRY DAVID THOREAU, US writer and naturalist, 1817—62

….if I should be fated to walk no more with Nature, be compelled to leave all I most devoutly love in the wilderness, return to civilization and be twisted into the characterless cable of society, then these sweet, free, cumberless rovings will be as chinks and slits on life’s horizon, through which I may obtain glimpses of the treasures that lie in God’s wilds beyond my reach. –JOHN MUIR, Notes, 1873

Freedom of the wilderness means many this to different people. If you really want to enjoy it, you must recognize your responsibilities as adult humans living in a world with others…. Freedom gives no one license to change a heritage that belongs to the ages. –SIGURD F. OLSON, conservation writer and wilderness advocate, 1899—1982

Wilderness is a resource that can shrink but not grow … the creation of new wilderness in the full sense of the word is impossible. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

For we need this thing wilderness far more than it needs us. Civilizations (like glaciers) come and go, but the mountain and its forest continue the course of creation’s destiny. And in this we mere humans can take part–by fitting our civilization to the mountain. –BENTON MACKAYE, letter to Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, 1933

We must provide enough wilderness areas so that, no matter how dense our population, man–though apartment-born–may attend the great school of the outdoors, and come to know the joy of walking the woods, alone and unafraid. Once he experiences that joy, he will be restless to return over and over again.… If that is to happen, the places where the goldthread, monkey flower, spring beauty, or starflower flourish in sphagnum moss must be made as sacred as any of our shrines [after climbing Katahdin to complete his hike of the Appalachian Trail, 1958]. –WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS, Supreme Court Justice and avid hiker, 1898—1980

Mechanized recreation already has seized nine-tenths of the woods and mountains; a decent respect for minorities should dedicate the other tenth to wilderness. –ALDO LEOPOLD, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

Wilderness is two things–fact and feeling. It is a fund of knowledge and a spring of influence. It is the ultimate source of health–terrestrial and human. –BENTON MACKAYE, founder of the Appalachian Trail, 1879—1975

There must always be wilderness, a lovely someplace for the young spirits to discover the wonders of nature and the dependence of man on other living things. –US DEPARTMENT of INTERIOR, In Touch With People, 1973

A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. –WILDERNESS ACT of 1964, Sec. 2c

In an age of crowded, dirty cities, the wilderness has come to symbolize a refuge, the last place where man can breathe clean air, drink freely from streams, and get away from other people. –RICHARD WAGNER, Man and Environment, 1974

Wilderness has noise as when great winds make treetops roar, setting up the cadence of a pounding surf. Wilderness noise is also the murmur of brooks, the chatter of squirrels, the scolding of camp robbers. Wilderness noise is the sequence of birdcalls just before dawn, the ecstatic music of the whippoorwill at dusk, and the deep quiet of a darkened forest. The noise of wilderness is varied; it has no monotony; it is the music of the earth of which man is an integral part whether he knows it or not. The healing effects of wilderness are well known. Cares slough off; the conscious springs that create tension are relaxed; man comes to an understanding of his relation to the earth from which he came and to which he returns. –WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS, A Wilderness Bill of Rights, 1965

Pristine wilderness is an acquired taste and is incompatible with the enjoyment of some popular tastes such as dirt bikes, snowmobiles and other off-road vehicles. But surely there is no shortage of space in America for persons whose play must involve internal-combustion engines. –GEORGE WILL, Newsweek, August 16, 1982

…a continuous stretch of country preserved in its natural state, open to lawful hunting and fishing, big enough to absorb a two weeks’ pack trip, and kept devoid of roads, artificial trails, cottages, or other works of man. –ALDO LEOPOLD, The Wilderness and Its Place in Forest Recreational Policy, Journal of Forestry, 1921

…I … shall use the word wilderness to denote a region which contains no permanent inhabitants, possesses no possibility of conveyance by any mechanical means and is sufficiently spacious that a person in crossing it must have the experience of sleeping out. The dominant attributes of such an area are: First, that it requires any one who exists in it to depend exclusively on his own effort for survival; and second, that it preserves as nearly as possible the primitive environment. This means that all roads, power transportation and settlements are barred. But trails and temporary shelters, which were common long before the advent of the white race, are entirely permissible. –BOB MARSHALL, Co-founder, Wilderness Society, 1901—39

From the point of view of wilderness, perhaps it would be best if the people did perish. –FRANK BERGON, editor of The Wilderness Reader, 1980

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their own country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human automotive waste. And so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves single, separate, vertical and individual in the world, part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, brother to the animals, part of the natural world and competent to belong in it. Without any remaining wilderness we are committed wholly, without chance for even momentary reflection and rest, to a headlong drive into our technological termite-life, the Brave New World of a completely man-controlled environment. We need wilderness preserved–as much of it as is still left, and as many kinds–because it was the challenge against which our character as a people was formed. The reminder and the reassurance that it is still there is good for our spiritual health even if we never once in 10 years set foot in it. It is good for us when we are young, because of the incomparable sanity it can bring briefly, as vacation and rest, into our insane lives. It is important to us when we are old simply because it is there–important, that is, simply as idea. –WALLACE STEGNER, Coda: Wilderness Letter, December 3, 1960

We can turn wilderness into timberland. We can turn timberland into farmland. We can turn farmland into shopping malls. But we can’t create wilderness. –MIKE DOMBECK, Chief of the US Forest Service, speech at Wilderness 2000 Conference

In addition, there is a composite value in wilderness recreation that cannot be reproduced anywhere short of an authentically rugged and big tract of undeveloped country. It derives from all the activities and experiences one enjoys or doesn’t enjoy–camping, primitive travel, exhaustion, incomparable solitude, miserable weather–in a setting big enough for their simultaneous happenings with elbowroom. –JOHN SAYLOR, Senator from Pennsylvania, 1962

The word ‘wilderness’ occurs approximately three hundred times in the Bible, and all its meanings are derogatory. –RENÉ DUBOS, The Wooing of Earth, 1980

[I]f I had not been able to periodically renew myself in the mountains … I would be very nearly bughouse. Even when I can’t go into the back country, the thought of the colored deserts of southern Utah, or the reassurance that there are still stretches of prairie ... is a positive consolation. The idea alone sustains me. But as wilderness areas are progressively exploited or ‘improved,’ as the jeeps and bulldozers of uranium prospectors scar up the deserts and the roads are cut into the alpine timberlands, and as the remnants of the unspoiled and natural world are progressively eroded, every loss is a little death in me. In us. –WALLACE STEGNER, Coda: Wilderness Letter, December 3, 1960

…there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area … and (except for emergency uses) no temporary road, no use of motor vehicle, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation. –WILDERNESS ACT of 1964

Wilderness areas are first of all a series of sanctuaries for the primitive arts of wilderness travel, especially canoeing and packing. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

When all the dangerous cliffs are fenced off, all the trees that might fall on people are cut down, all of the insects that bite are poisoned … and all of the grizzlies are dead because they are occasionally dangerous, the wilderness will not be made safe. Rather, the safety will have destroyed the wilderness. –ROGER YORKE EDWARDS, Canadian environmentalist, 1924-

A We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope. –WALLACE STEGNER, Coda: Wilderness Letter, December 3, 1960

Throughout the history of this country, it’s been possible to go to a place where no one has camped before, and now that kind of opportunity is running out. We must protect it, even if artificially. The day will come when people will want to visit such a wilderness–saving everything they have to see it, at whatever cost. –JOHN MCPHEE, Coming into the Country, 1976

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON, US essayist, 1803—82

No servant brought them meals; they got their meat out of the river or went without. No traffic cop whistled them off the hidden rock in the next rapids. No friendly roof kept them dry when they mis-guessed whether or not to pitch the tent. No guide showed them which camping spots offered a night-long breeze, and which a night-long misery of mosquitoes; which firewood made clean coals, and which only smoke…. The elemental simplicities of wilderness travel were thrills not only because of their novelty, but because they represented complete freedom to make mistakes. The wilderness gave them their first taste of those rewards and penalties for wise and foolish acts which every woodsman faces daily, but against which civilization has built a thousand buffers. –ALDO LEOPOLD, US conservationist, 1887—1948

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