Trails have been a part of Scouting since the beginning.
There are figurative trails — the one to First Class and to Eagle — and literal ones, like the 350 miles of trails at Philmont or the familiar 10-mile loop at your favorite state park.
Whatever your trail, show your pride by protecting it.
One great way? Participate in the American Hiking Society’s 20th annual National Trails Day, dubbed “America’s largest trails celebration.” I told you about it last year, and this year’s event on Saturday, June 2, 2012, promises to be even bigger.
Here’s how the folks at the American Hiking Society describe the day:
More than 2,000 NTD events will take place around the country to celebrate and protect our magnificent and growing trail system. Events will include trail maintenance projects, hikes, paddle trips, bike and horseback rides, wildlife viewing activities, trail dedications, and much more.
“We are thrilled to continue our steadfast partnership with the Boy Scouts of America to engage youth and families in America’s great outdoors and to preserve and protect hiking trails nationwide,” says Gregory Miller, president of the American Hiking Society.
Step one: Get outside
Last year, I gave you four ways to celebrate National Trails Day, held every year on the first Saturday in June. Here they are:
- Get out. Use this locator map to find one of 2,000 events near you. These include trail maintenance, hiking, paddling, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, running, trail celebrations, and more.
- Get active. Go hike, paddle, or ride a bike. Responsible trail use helps set the example for others and keep our trails clean and safe.
- Get smart. Visit educational exhibits, join a guided hike, or go bird watching with local experts. You could consider having one of these experts talk at your next meeting or campout.
- Give back. Show your favorite hiking trail a little TLC with a little trail maintenance. Your pack, troop, team, or crew already does service projects regularly, right? So why not give back to the trails that have given you so much?
Step two: Get the patch
This year, to celebrate the event’s 20th anniversary, the BSA is issuing a special patch that shows your commitment to keeping trails clean and well-maintained.
I know, I know. You don’t do these kinds of activities to earn a patch (right?), but you won’t turn one away, will you?
Any Scouter or Scout who participates in a National Trails Day event some time in 2012 can wear the patch, which sells for $3.99.
No paperwork is necessary — you can buy it on the honor system. Pick one up at your local Scout Shop or at ScoutStuff.org, button it onto your right pocket, and — voila! — you’re a walking billboard for trail stewardship and sustainability.