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Arizona Trail Association wins Trails for Tomorrow Award

The American Hiking Society selected the Arizona Trail Association as a Trails for Tomorrow Award winner for its well-attended National Trails Day events.

From the Arizona Trail Association

Map of Arizona

"The Arizona Trail Association has recently been selected as the National Winner of the American Hiking Society's Trails for Tomorrow Award, for the participation of more than a thousand volunteers who spent National Trails Day last year working on the Arizona Trail and on other trails in Arizona," said Governor Jane Hull. Rural communities statewide participated in this effort. The Association received a $4,000 grant from the American Hiking Society to honor everyone's effort to make the day a success.

Photo of a couple with trail sign

"Trails for Health" is the theme of National Trails Day 2002

 

"Trails are an extremely important part of the fabric of a community and the Arizona Trail Association, working together with Arizona's rural towns and counties, is showing how these partnerships can grow," says Jan Hancock, president of the Arizona Trail Association. When completed this 790-mile trail from Mexico to Utah will connect communities, historic sites, mountain ranges, trail systems, wilderness areas, canyons, deserts, forests and people, while providing an outstanding non-motorized experience for hikers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, runners, pack stock users, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and nature enthusiasts. It is becoming one of the premier long-distance trails in the country and was designated by Governor Hull as one of America's "Millennium Legacy Trails" in 1999. Trail construction and development has been funded through a variety of public and private sources, including significant funding from the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund grant program.

Arizona with its variety and beauty of landscapes is, perhaps, like no other place in North America. The Arizona Trail's route connects the geologic natural wonder of the Grand Canyon with its highest mountain peaks to the state's lower desert environments, thus providing a unique and memorable outdoor experience to residents and visitors alike. Encompassed in the vision of the Arizona Trail is its emphasis on expanding the state's outdoor recreation and enhancing the opportunities for physical activity.

This year, the 10th Annual National Trails Day celebration-an event expected to bring over one million trail enthusiasts out to celebrate their favorite pathways across America, is scheduled for Saturday, June 1, 2002. The theme this year is "Hike for Health" and Arizona trail enthusiasts can be proud that its campaign last year inspired that national theme. This year National Trails Day events will again be coordinated by outdoor parks and recreation professionals, the Arizona Trail Association, the Arizona State Parks department and the Department of Health Services.

"The Arizona State Parks Recreational Trails Coordinator, Annie McVay, is already scheduling hiking events statewide that the public can either attend or participate in a trail project for National Trails Day," says Jan Hancock, president of the Arizona Trail Association.

"People throughout Arizona are invited to participate in these events that will include walks, hikes, rides, runs, trail building, and dedications. Every year the event has grown more popular. The goal is to have a great time walking or riding on a favorite trail in your community, or discovering a new trail somewhere in Arizona," says Hancock. Trail events will be held in many communities throughout the state and families and children are especially welcome to participate in the activities planned to make the trail experience fun for all ages. Prizes will be given to all who participate.

Many communities will provide free health screening activities, such as blood pressure checks for individuals. Participants are encouraged to hike, bike, ride horses, or roller blade to enjoy the thousands of community trails available statewide. Trails lend themselves well to treasure hunts or nature hikes to learn more about plants or birds and other animals. Trails can also take you to interesting destinations, such as historic sites, scenic views, zoos and botanical gardens.

The National Trails Day events are being sponsored by many outdoor clubs, agencies, and organizations in Arizona that are partnering together with health care providers in every community. These partners will be encouraging families and individuals to enjoy physical activity on this special day by using a community trail somewhere in Arizona. According to Tammy Ball, the Program Manager of Physical Activities for the Department of Health Services, "Physical inactivity is among the top two preventable causes of death. National Trails Day offers the Department of Health Services, the Arizona State Parks Board, Trails organizations and the public an opportunity to partnership to promote hiking to improve the health of all individuals, regardless of age."

Using trails is a highly desirable way to increase physical activity and also enjoy the benefit of a relaxing and fun experience for good health. The changing scenery and closeness to nature's beauty along a trail help keep the physical activity interesting and memorable. The more people enjoy trails, the bigger benefit they will derive from the physical activity. The recreational trails in each community can become pathways to better health for all citizens. Regular physical activity can effectively lessen a number of health risks such as cancer, diabetes, heart and lung disease.

A brochure containing a listing of the events being planned in Arizona's communities will be available in May from Annie McVay, the State Parks Recreational Trails Coordinator at (602) 542-4174 or from the State Parks website. If you would like to plan a trail event in your own community, please contact McVay. For more information on hiking in Arizona or nationally see www.aztrail.org.

National Trails Day is an annual event sponsored across the country by the American Hiking Society, Backpacker Magazine, Galyan's, Thorlos, and Vasque Outdoor Footwear and in Arizona by American Express, Arizona Public Service, Bashas and Sunkist Oranges. The Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona State Parks and the City of Phoenix Parks department also contributed to the event's success. For detailed information about National Trails Day, see the Arizona State Parks web page or call (602) 542-4174.

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