The 11th annual National Trails Day (NTD) event theme this year is "Healthy Trails, Healthy People" and the American Hiking Society (AHS) expects over one million trail volunteers and enthusiasts will head to 3,000 scheduled trail events all over the country on June 7.
Hi-Tec, Thor-Lo, Backpacker Magazine, Galyan's, REI, Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), Tender Corp. and Snowshoe Mountain (W.Va.) have all announced their strong support for National Trails Day this year.
NTD events will include hikes, walks, rides, runs and paddles; trail building and maintenance activities; trail openings and dedications; festivals, workshops and other education programs.
"Trails are key to a fit America," says AHS President Mary Margaret Sloan. "And we couldn't get the message out about the health benefits of trails through National Trails Day without the critical support of our dedicated sponsors."
Hi-Tec gets the nod as the "big" player for NTD this year. In addition to awarding the 50 Volunteer of the Year winners with boots and a plaque, Hi-Tec anted up by agreeing to design and print this year's official NTD poster, as well as supplying event T-shirts. Hi-Tec employees will be out in full force on June 7, repairing trails near the company's headquarters in Modesto, Calif.
Besides offering generous financial contributions totaling over $125,000, the other NTD corporate sponsors are supporting the day's activities in a variety of ways. In addition to significant in-store promotions, Galyan's, REI and EMS outdoor stores will continue the tradition of hosting their own NTD events and will partner with local trail organizations on community-based projects. Tender Corp. is outfitting volunteers with insect repellents to battle bugs on the trail. Snowshoe Mountain, which is hosting a multi-day NTD festival, gets the nod as AHS's first NTD destination host sponsor.
National Trails Day has grown over the past 11 years from 100 events attended by 10,000 people in 1993, to an estimated 2,000 events attended by more than a million trail enthusiasts in 2002. The growth of the event demonstrates the emerging demand for local trails, parks and open space. To learn more about National Trails Day, visit American Hiking Society's website at www.AmericanHiking.org.