Celebrate National Trails Day

Join Columbia and the American Hiking Society to Celebrate National Trails Day, June 2, 2018.

National Trails Day is your opportunity to celebrate the amazing system of trails that we can access on a daily basis—from a post-work day hike to a multi-day backpack trip across more than 200,000 miles of trails throughout the United States. On June 2nd, 2018, you can participate in a host of activities designed to celebrate and restore our trail system, everything from hiking to biking to birdwatching to paddling. You can take a pledge to do trail work throughout the year, or sign up for a local project. The American Hiking Society manages National Trails Day—visit their website to find out how to join in the fun and make a difference on a trail near you.

National Trails Day is your opportunity to celebrate the amazing system of trails that we can access on a daily basis—with more than 200,000 miles of trails throughout the United States.

We interviewed Kim Lyons, American Hiking Society’s Senior Director of Development and Marketing, and Columbia’s Senior Manager of Corporate Relations, Scott Welch, for insight into how Columbia supports National Trails Day, and how you can get involved.

OUR CHAT WITH KIM LYONS, Senior Director of Development and Marketing, American Hiking Society:

When was National Trails Day established? Why?

National Trails Day was first launched in 1993 in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the National Trail System. American Hiking Society brought together the nationwide trails community for a unified effort to build awareness and introduce people to local trails. The first National Trails Day (NTD) had three objectives: celebrate the great achievement of establishing more than 200,000 miles of trails across the U.S., embrace the possibility of a nationwide trail network that would connect urban communities to the countryside, and connect individuals with trail clubs and organizations in their communities.

Each year, on the first Saturday of June, American Hiking Society and the trails community invite Americans of all ages to find their own trail at one of the thousands of events hosted throughout the country.

NTD became the only nationally coordinated event designed to unite all muscle-powered trail activities with the goal of connecting more people to trails. Every trail beckons adventure and has a story to share with any person willing to discover it, and American Hiking Society believes these trail experiences can improve the lives of every American.

Each year, on the first Saturday of June, American Hiking Society and the trails community invite Americans of all ages to find their own trail at one of the thousands of events hosted throughout the country.

Has participation with NTD grown over its history?

Some of the NTD event hosts have planned events every year since the inception of NTD, and many more hosts have joined the celebration and return each year to put on excellent trail activities. Each year we also attract new event hosts who provide fresh perspectives, new ideas, and energy for NTD.

Are there specific projects that AHS is working on for NTD? Or is it mainly spearheaded by local trail groups?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, and American Hiking Society set a collective goal to improve 2,802 miles of trail—the distance across the U.S. The goal seeks to maintain the legacy that has developed over the past 50 years and jump start the next five decades of trail improvements. American Hiking Society invites everyone to take the pledge to join this historic event and leave the trail better than they found it! People can pledge to pack out trash, join a trail work project, or clean up a park.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, and American Hiking Society set a collective goal to improve 2,802 miles of trail—the distance across the U.S.

All of that being said, the success of NTD rests on the dedication and passion of all of the local event hosts. NTD would not be possible without the individuals and organizations who sustain the national movement.

How can a person get involved with NTD? Is there a site where they can locate a celebration/volunteer activity near them?

Anyone can take the pledge to improve a trail and find a local NTD event on our website: HERE.

What is the goal of NTD? How will we know if it is successful?

This is the first year American Hiking Society has set a very specific goal to improve 2,802 miles of trail in a single day. Based on early projections we expect to meet our goal. In general, the success of National Trails Day is built upon the volunteers who help build and maintain trails each year and the unique recreation experiences that people take away from events all across the country.

By coordinating a wide array of trail activities on a single day, NTD attracts new trail users and helps connect existing trail enthusiasts with local clubs and organizations in an effort to create new trail advocates and stewards. The task to protect and maintain more than 250,000 miles of trails in the U.S. requires a collaborative effort among trail clubs, organizations, government agencies, and most importantly passionate trail advocates and stewards.

OUR CHAT WITH SCOTT WELCH, Senior Manager of Corporate Relations, Columbia Sportswear:

Why is National Trails Day important to Columbia?

As a member of the outdoor community, we recognize the need to support outdoor education and conservation efforts so future generations can enjoy the health and wellness benefits of spending time in the outdoors. We’ve worked with the American Hiking Society for more than 12 years through Volunteer Vacations and National Trail Day initiatives with cash and product donations. As a result, Columbia supports hundreds of nonprofit organizations around the world dedicated to outdoor education and conservation, including American Hiking Society.

As a member of the outdoor community, we recognize the need to support outdoor education and conservation efforts so future generations can enjoy the health and wellness benefits of spending time in the outdoors.

We chose to partner with American Hiking Society more than 12 years ago because they are one of the only national groups dedicated to preserving foot trails and the hiking experience. They are also well-respected within the outdoor community and have the ability to mobilize large-scale volunteer efforts that affect positive, long-lasting change.

Do Columbia employees get involved with National Trails Day?

We encourage our employees around the country to get involved with National Trails Day events near them. Some like to join trail clean-up events, while others like to celebrate by simply spending time in the outdoors with their family. All full-time employees can use up to 16 working hours each year for volunteer activities, including National Trails Day events. Also, we are collecting donations on behalf of American Hiking Society at all Columbia brand and outlet stores in the U.S. from May 23rd till June 17 in celebration of National Trails Day. Customers can donate at the register in $1 increments. All donations directly support American Hiking Society and their mission to promote and protect foot trails, their surrounding natural area, and the hiking experience in the U.S.

We are collecting donations on behalf of American Hiking Society at all Columbia brand and outlet stores in the U.S. from May 23rd till June 17 in celebration of National Trails Day.

Does Columbia have any pet trail projects?

Columbia is based out of Portland, Oregon, which boasts many great running and hiking trails. We have a special affinity for trails in Forest Park, one of the country’s largest urban forest reserves. Last year we helped organize a trail restoration event with the Forest Park Conservancy on National Trails Day and we continue to work with them to organize volunteer efforts with Columbia employees throughout the year. The Portland community is dedicated to giving back to our local public lands and we are honored to help support that work.

In addition, we annually partner with the Conservation Alliance and other local industry brands for the Backyard Collective, a day of service to Portland greenspaces where more than 500 outdoor industry employees spend a day conserving and preserving our favorite outdoor places.

We know Columbia has inspired thousands of people to get out and support (financially or physically) trails. Do you have any numbers/statistics/stories about specifics?

Last year, Columbia invested $2 million in more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world, many of them dedicated to outdoor education and conservation. Additionally, Columbia employees donated more than 3,000 volunteer hours to projects around the world. As a Pinnacle Member of the Conservation Alliance, we are grateful to support their work of permanently protecting over 157,000 acres of land in 2017. You can learn more about our Corporate Responsibility efforts at https://www.columbia.com/About-Us_Corporate-Responsibility.html.

How do you celebrate National Trails Day?

Our favorite way to celebrate National Trails Day is to inform the Columbia community about this incredible event while inspiring them to support and actively participate in a local participating project. The amazing diversity of projects, project partners, and activities, truly offers something for all ages whether they are on trails every day or just experiencing them for the first time.

In celebration of National Trails Day and Columbia’s sponsorship of the event, American Hiking Society is offering a 50% membership discount to all Columbia fans. Visit https://americanhiking.org/join-donate/columbia/ to learn more and take advantage of this offer. And you can donate at any Columbia brand or outlet store from May 23rd till June 17. Find a store near you at https://www.columbia.com/stores

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