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National Trails Day

A trail through a forest.
A trail through a forest.
A trail winding through the floodplain forest at Fort Snelling State Park

By Clara Brown, Fort Snelling Visitor Services Specialist Individual Placement / AmeriCorps Member placed at Fort Snelling State Park, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Annually, the first Saturday of June is National Trails Day. This event is hosted by the American Hiking Society and the goal is to encourage trail users to give back to the trails that trail that they regularly enjoy through advocacy and service. Whether you hike, bike, paddle, ride horses, or own public land, trails are the way that you get to get our in nature and explore and it is time to say thank you!

There are three simple steps that you can take to participate in National Trails Day.

A trail through a forest.
Early spring trail.

Step 1: Join

There are events all over the country at local, state, and national parks that you can join to show you support of trails.

Here in Minnesota you could join the 52 Hike Challenge Minnesota Chapter in hiking 2.9 miles at Barn Bluff in Red Wing, MN. Find more information here.

You could also stop by the Harmon Park Reserve in Inver Grove Heights and participate in a nature scavenger hunt. Find more information here.

Not finding an event near you? You can host you own event and help your community give back to your local trails. Visit this page to register your event with the American Hiking Society.

Step 2: Pledge

Commit to leaving the trails better than you found them on the National Trails Day website and you will be entered to win some amazing hiking gear. By pledging to leave trails better than you found them you will join the movement to build an inclusive community of people that love trails and help to take action in caring for them. Once you submit the online pledge you will also be sent information about how to take action on National Trails Day and throughout the year.

A hiking club sign on the side of a trail
The Fort Snelling State Park Hiking Club trail heading over the bridge to Pike Island.

Step 3: Connect

Share your impact by tagging #NationalTrailsDay and @AmericanHiking. If you do so you will be entered in the National Trails Day Photo Contest and could win some fun prizes and you will help spread the word about caring for our trails.

Caring for our trails does not need to be limited to National Trails Day! Whenever you head out on trail it is important to remember the seven principles of Leave No Trace to make sure that we are leaving our trails better than we found them.

  1. Plan ahead and prepare. Poor planning can lead to a poor experience and damage to our natural resources.
  2. Travel on durable surfaces. Going off trail can cause damage to vegetation and erode sensitive areas
  3. Dispose of waste properly. Leaving behind trash and waste can cause damage to the local ecosystem and ruin the experience of other trail users.
  4. Leave what you find. The items we find while exploring trails have a role to play in their ecosystem, too many people taking things can destroy the balance.
  5. Minimize campfire impact.
  6. Respect wildlife.
  7. Be considerate of others.

By working together we can take care of our trails and keep them nice for future use.

Resources:

Leave No Trace

About National Trails Day