The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy reports that hundreds of organizations and thousands of people hit the trails on Celebrate Trails Day, illustrating the shared role of infrastructure, programming and investment in encouraging people to be active.
WASHINGTON-The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation’s largest active transportation and trails advocacy organization, today announced the results of its latest survey on outdoor trail use and physical activity. The findings illustrate the role that access to safe places to walk, bike, and be active outdoors, such as multi-use trails, serves to encourage Americans to be more physically active, especially when combined with events and activities, and along with investments to connect and maintain this. infrastructure.
Celebrate Trails Day, which the organization facilitates annually on the fourth Saturday in April, invited thousands of people from across the country to hit the trails in their community to participate in events and activities that encouraged physical activity, stewardship, community involvement and opportunities to trade a routine car trip for walking or biking, helping to reduce your individual carbon footprint. Many of the more than 120 events that took place were aligned with emerging trail and active transportation networks across the country, creating an opportunity for communities to learn more about infrastructure developments and experience the benefits of creating connected trails and active transportation systems.
“Events like Celebrate Trails Day showcase the impact of safe, connected infrastructure for walking and biking while serving as a call to action, encouraging more people to discover trails in their community and become part of the movement to prioritize this infrastructure. as essential to the nation. said Ryan Chao, president of RTC. “When trails are connected, their benefits are magnified: usage increases by up to 80%, and they become central to people’s daily lives, whether for recreation, transportation, or as a way to build deeper connections in the community. ”.
RTC reported that more than 13,000 people participated in Celebrate Trails Day on April 22, 2023, with those who did spending an average of 96 minutes being physically active outdoors on the trail. Time spent on the route was 20 minutes more than they report being active on a typical day. In total, Celebrate Trails Day participants logged more than 1.3 million minutes of physical activity. This underscores the impact of park, trail and greenway infrastructure interventions, combined with additional interventions, such as events and programming in these spaces, to increase awareness, improve access and foster participation, as outlined in the recommendations of the Community Preventive Services Task Force to increase physical space. activity.
A host of factors contributed to the increase in physical activity reported on Celebrate Trails Day, including organized activities such as group rides, hikes, and cleanups. After participating in Celebrate Trails Day, people agreed that trails and open space are important (96%) and that trails contribute to the well-being of a community (96%). They also indicated that using the trails makes a difference to their personal well-being (95%) and many say they plan to use the trails as part of their daily routine (78%), such as going to the store, school, work or doing exercise. In addition, most reported that having access to trails helps them be physically active (82%) and that participating in trail events or activities motivates them to be physically active (95%), demonstrating the lasting benefits of involving communities on roads.
“Safe trails promote better physical, mental and social health by encouraging people to make physical activity a part of their day,” said Ken Rose, MPA, chief of the health and physical activity branch of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. “The trail networks that connect people to parks, schools, shopping centers and health care make it easy for people to walk, bike or roll to their daily destinations. This is an important way to increase physical activity in our communities.”
Celebrate Trails Day comes this year at a time of unprecedented opportunities for trails, hikes and bikes. Demand for trails continues to rise according to a recent opinion poll commissioned by RTC. A quarter of Americans (24%) say they use the trails more than last year and two-thirds of people (62%) say they are more interested in using the trails than they are now. At the same time, the CDC reports that only 1 in 4 adults fully meet the physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities and that increasing our physical activity is one of the best things we can do for our health.
Connected trails and active transportation infrastructure provide safe and convenient walking and biking routes that enable more people to turn physical activity into daily, routine activities, such as going to work or school or running errands, providing benefits for health, climate and economy. Increased demand and enthusiasm for trails is matched by record high funding for trails and active transportation infrastructure, made possible in part by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. RTC is working to accelerate investment in connected trails and active transportation systems across the country, and is working to ensure programs like the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program have the support needed to more quickly connect trails and systems of active transportation in the nation.
Survey results for Celebrate Trails Day represent 1,747 responses collected through SurveyMonkey between April 22-30, 2023. Active minutes were calculated using the total number of reported Celebrate Trails Day participants, 13,367, and the time reported average spent on the trails on Celebrate Trails Day.
Celebrate Trails Day is made possible through the support of RTC partners and sponsors.
Celebrate Trails Day is the annual celebration of the spring trail season, recognized on the fourth Saturday in April. The national celebration is organized by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation’s largest trail organization, with a grassroots community of more than 1 million members. RTC is dedicated to building a trail-connected nation by reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Follow #CelebrateTrails on social media for updates and connect with RTC at railstotrails.org and @railstotrails at Facebook, Twitter and instagram.
Active People, Healthy Nation℠ is a national initiative led by the CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Learn more at cdc.gov/physicalactivity/activepeoplehealthynation.