A totally unbiased analysis by a kayaker with a disability.
I’m starting a movement... Land-lubbers have dominated the trails discussion for too long. No more, I say! Did Lewis and Clark choose to follow game trails to connect to the Pacific Ocean? NO! What was the most miserable and disheartening part of their epic journey? It was walking over the Continental Divide! Americans knew the score back then. Why walk when we can paddle?
Since those heady days, we Americans have lost our way. We have turned to the land as our primary means of travel and recreation. We need to return to the right path... the wet path... and, coincidentally, an extremely accessible path!
I am a person with a disability, and I used to own a sea kayak tour company that operated in the Pacific Northwest. I have conducted extensive, pain-staking research on the subject and have discovered the following absolute truisms:
Now let’s talk finances. Let’s use a completely unbiased case study. Let’s say we wanted to run a trail the entire length of the Mississippi River. By land, this trail would cost approximately $138 Septillion,
and would take 248 years to complete. By contrast, a water trail already exists the entire length. We would need to construct around 176 launches at $20,000 each, and about 400 campsites at $2,500 each, for a total cost of $4,520,000. I’ve known three miles of boardwalk to cost about that much money.
So, if you are having trouble getting your family up and down the steep trail down to Phantom Ranch in the heart of the Grand Canyon, or up and down the bluffs in Winona, MN, consider giving them a boat and personal flotation device, find a nice gentle access point to the water, and let them follow nature’s best, most accessible, readymade trail to where they want to go... the water trail!
The Cascadia Marine National Recreation Trail is a beautiful water trail off the northwest coast of Washington State. Located in Mike’s back yard, it provides him and thousands of other visitors a uniquely accessible and beautiful boating experience. The Marine Trail consists of over 50 designated campsites, as well as hundreds of public and private launch areas— many of which provide excellent levels of accessibility.
Before you go on any outdoor adventures you need to ask yourself these questions to confirm if your plans are safe and appropriate.
With no new National Recreation Trails (NRTs) designated in 2019, and the deadline for 2020 National Trails Day fast approaching, we are encouraging Secretary Bernhardt to uphold this tradition of honoring and celebrating our nation's trails and designating new NRTs. Please read and share our open letter.
Help the trails community demonstrate its ability to put America back to work and deliver the benefits of trails to all communities.
Trails are invaluable assets to any community, and when it comes to procuring funding, building coalitions, providing the best trail access, and more, trail research is one of the best tools available for showing that worth.