DOI News

Connecting Communities to the Great Outdoors: National Trails Day


by David J. Hayes

This Saturday, Americans of all ages will get outside and explore the network of existing trails winding through our cities and linking up our country. In celebration of National Trails Day, returning trail enthusiasts and first time visitors are encouraged to get out, get active, and have fun on our impressive national system of trails.

In advance of National Trails Day, I was proud to announce the designation of 41 new National Recreation Trails on behalf of the Department of the Interior this past Thursday. Spanning across 17 states and totaling almost 650 miles of trails, these trails will provide great opportunities for Americans – in urban and rural communities alike - to connect to America’s great outdoors and to lead healthy, active lifestyles.  

I made the announcement with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin standing on the banks of Lake Michigan where we designated one of the new trails: the Lake Michigan Water Trail. Running through three states, the trail is the first leg of an ambitious shoreline trail around the entire Lake. As Senator Durbin said, “There’s no better way to take in urban landscapes like the Chicago skyline than from a canoe or a kayak. And as more people have this opportunity to enjoy this wonderful treasure on Chicago’s lakefront, more people will share in our resolve to protect the health of the Great Lakes.” 

It’s a win-win for everyone. 

From Kansas to Illinois, local communities in every region helped pave the way for the designation of their regional trails to national trails and have captured the spirit of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative with the power of partnerships.  

These land and water trails serve an important link within our communities and to the great outdoors. By improving access to trails, we are encouraging everyone— from children to seniors – to get outside, get moving, and have fun.  

Join the rest of the country this Saturday, take advantage of our trails, and enjoy National Trails Day!  

David Hayes is the Deputy Secretary of the Interior.