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Editorial: Trails and the American Spirit

Finding common ground and community among all trail users.

From the Spring 200o issue of American Trails Magazine

By Pam Gluck

"We can't all share the same trail, but we do share many common needs and goals."

It is fashionable today to talk about community. But as we look forward to another National Trails Symposium, I'm vividly reminded that there really is a trails community-- and it is the mission of American Trails to nurture and support that community. The National Trails Symposium is your chance to join us in celebrating our common interests.

We believe it is essential to help establish and maintain a united trails community. Building a united front increases opportunities to affect change with decision makers. It makes us more powerful, and a stronger voice for trails.

We may not think we share a common ground with other trails interests, but at every Symposium I hear echoes of the same needs among all trail groups. We can't all share the same trail, but we do share many common needs and goals:

  • to maintain our outdoor resources with their beauty and wildlife;
  • to preserve more open space amidst urban development;
  • to protect our access to trails and recreation;
  • to obtain more funding for trails;
  • to develop more support for volunteers;
  • to build strong local and statewide organizations for trails;
  • to promote trail use and demand for trails among the larger public.

Even in the areas where we naturally disagree, and common ground can't be found, it is important to understand the other person's perspective and to keep dialogue open. Chances are you will see that others care about being in nature, about socializing with family and friends, about taking care of and giving back to the environment, about educating our children, and about being mentally and spiritually fit. In addition, they support and promote good trail ethics and etiquette.

When you come to the Symposium, bring an open mind and a willingness to learn new things, share success stories, and meet new friends! We may not always agree, but we can always learn from each other, regardless of our backgrounds and the trails we choose. Lets commit to transcend obstacles, to forge new alliances, to increase communication, and to cooperate in developing a successful national system of trails that meets the recreation, health, and travel needs of ALL Americans.

Happy Trails all the way to Redding!

-- Pam Gluck, Executive Director


Submit your opinion, article, or editorial to American Trails at Trailhead@AmericanTrails.org or if you have questions call us at (530) 547-2060.

American Trails offers this website as a public resource to share ideas and opinions on trails and greenways. We have not evaluated the accuracy, feasibility, or legality of any of the material or articles. The opinions and editorials presented here do not necessarily reflect the opinion or support of American Trails. American Trails does not discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis or race, religion, nationality, or political affliiation.

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