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On Trails – Book Review

[Originally appeared in Earth Island Journal] “Without trails, we would be lost.” The simplicity of this statement in the prologue of Robert Moor’s first book, On Trails: An Exploration, opens the door to an in-depth study of trails, their purpose, and their meaning. Exploring paths forged by creatures ranging from ants to elephants to modern humans, Moor attempts to define the scientific and practical elements which combine to form trails. He goes on a quest to understand pathways across natural systems, exploring everything from deer trails in Alabama to the extensive International Appalachian Trail, sections of which cross North America and Europe. Moor himself is no stranger to trails. In 2009, he completed a hike on the 2,000-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT), the southern [...]

Centennial Celebration: Trails & Parks

  In honor of the National Park Service's 100th birthday, here is an excerpt from our love letter to national parks from national trails. (To read the entire piece, visit Earth Island Journal)   Map of the National Trails System - courtesy of the National Park Service   National parks offer perennial destinations we are all familiar with, while national trails take those experiences and extend them thousands of miles further across America.   “If national parks are America's crown jewels, then the national trails provide an emerald necklace that stitches them together,” says Steve Elkinton, program leader for the National Trails System from 1989 to 2014. “Along the 30 national scenic and historic trails, over 80 National Park Service sites are linked [...]

Iditarod Race 2016

The World's Last Great Race   The following race gallery and updates were provided by National Trails Guide correspondent Susie Stevens-Briody. Photos courtesy of Iditarod.com, Iditarod Trail Committee, Iditarod Insider Team &  KTVA (Anchorage), Terrie Hanke and Sebastian Schnuelle ('Armchair Musher'/former racer).   It's time for the Last Great Race on Earth again in Alaska!  The Iditarod began on Saturday in Anchorage with the Ceremonial Start; then the official start Sunday from Willow .  This year's race has 85 mushers with their wonderful teams of canine athletes ready to race almost a thousand miles to Nome.  The mushers range in age from 19 to 75, with some having raced in the Iditarod 15 or 26 times and 17 rookies experiencing it for the first time.  [...]

Interview with Janet Moreland

In 2014, we interviewed Janet Moreland -- who had just retraced 2,600 miles of the journey of Lewis and Clark by kayak at the time -- and wondered what she's up to now... Here's an update! Janet on the Jefferson River in Montana. Photo by Norman Miller Who is Janet Moreland? I love the outdoors and strive to immerse myself in the natural environment whenever possible. I spent much of my youth in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains ski mountaineering, and windsurfing the northern California rivers, bays and waves. I began canoeing rivers when I moved to Missouri in 1994, and started kayaking the Missouri River in 2001 after moving to Columbia, MO, in 1996. You can often find me three miles down the [...]

National Trails infographic

  This blog entry unveils a brand new infographic introducing the National Trails. We'll be expanding this graphic in the coming months but for now, here is a basic introduction to the trails with a visual spin: the infographic.   Stay tuned for more multimedia offerings from the National Trails Guide, like this infographic, as we continue to ramp up for the 50-Year Anniversary celebration of the National Trails System in 2018!  

A Walk in the Woods – Film Review

  There was some anticipation for the film A Walk in the Woods (2015) in the national trails community. This film version of Bill Bryson’s book of the same name stars Robert Redford and prominently features the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.   I allowed some time to pass (probably too much) after seeing this film because frankly I was dreading writing this review… Warning: This is not a good indication that the movie was highly enjoyable!   Courtesy of Broad Green Pictures I quickly found myself struggling to listen to the strained, gurgly voice of Redford’s well-meaning but bumbling companion on the hapless hike, played by Nick Nolte. For those that would enjoy the chemistry of these two on screen together for 90 [...]

Florida Trail – A Special Video

This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting almost every region of the State of Florida. One highlight, as we went searching for the Florida National Scenic Trail, was a canoe ride through the Ocala National Forest. With Florida Trail Association staffer Jeff Glenn, we floated down Juniper Creek, one of the crown jewels of Florida's waterways and wilderness areas, adjacent to the Florida Trail. Enjoy this video from our trip!

2015 National Trails (PNTS) conference

  It's an honor to be speaking at the 15th National Scenic and Historic Trails Conference, just outside Nashville, Tennessee. The conference is sponsored by the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) and my topic is "Working with Youth and Technology to Promote Our Trails." Here is the synopsis: It’s important in today’s fast-paced era to understand and utilize technology. This workshop will give participants the ability to make the best use of technology on behalf of our national trails – including tips for marketing, networking, better organization, and more. We will speak about the topic in a friendly, entertaining manner and get to the nitty-gritty of the challenges. Youth participants will be on hand to help design specific ways for involving youth and [...]

Iditarod Race 2015 – PART TWO

The World's Last Great Race (This daily account of the race is provided by National Trails Guide correspondent Susie Stevens-Briody. Thanks to Iditarod.com -- photos courtesy of Iditarod Trail Committee and Iditarod Teacher on the Trail)     DAY SIX   The front-running teams have gone through another 100 milies and two more checkpoint villages -- Koyukuk and Nulato -- and are now 586 miles from the start of the race.  Four more teams have scratched and the weather continues to be clear and cold.  Sled dog teams deal with different issues than most other sports. For example, some of the female dogs are in heat and had to be moved to the front as lead dogs to minimize distraction!  (See the picture below for [...]

Iditarod Race 2015 – PART ONE

The World's Last Great Race (This daily account of the 2015 race is provided by National Trails Guide correspondent Susie Stevens-Briody. Thanks to Iditarod.com -- photos courtesy of Iditarod Trail Committee)   Start of the 2015 Iditarod Race in Alaska. (courtesy Iditarod.com/Iditarod Trail Committee)   DAY ONE They're off! For only the second time in its 43 year history the official restart of the Iditarod had to be moved from Willow to Fairbanks because of snow conditions, or lack thereof!  After a ceremonial start last Saturday in Anchorage (where snow had to be trucked in) 79 teams left today from Fairbanks to race 1,000 miles to Nome, including teams from Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, France and Canada.   It usually takes about [...]