Active Trails

NPF Active Trails

How We Help

Our national parks provide remarkable opportunities for outdoor recreation on more than 18,000 miles of land and water trails. The Active Trails program promotes healthy lifestyles while simultaneously protecting and enhancing these precious land and water trail resources. This multi-faceted program offers many ways in which volunteers, community groups, corporate partners, students and educators can get involved with their national parks through hands on trail work, citizen science, formal and informal learning activities, special events and community activities.

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Success Story

  • Through NPF’s Active Trails program, Saguaro National Park’s “Pedals and Parks” program utilized creative methods to bring kids, youth, and their families to the park.  Located in Tucson, Arizona, Saguaro...


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Active Trails Grantees

Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
Boston Harbor Islands "Explore for Heath" program will offer summer-long series of health, wellness and fitness activities for youth and families, Millennials and elders that range from beginner level guided walks and yoga classes, to more rigorous trail runs and full-day fitness opportunities. Partners with a shared interest in promoting health and fitness will collaboratively plan, market and implement a series of outdoor fitness programs that make use of the park's waterfront, trails and open spaces. Additionally, the park and its partners will develop signage for healthy heart trail walks and runs on the newly established and growing trail system on Peddocks Island, and double the amount of camping yurts.
Buffalo National River
Buffalo National River has engaged the Arkansas Department of Health to assist in coordinating a series of activities through the "Hometown Health Initiative" (HHI). Concentrating on north-central Arkansas (six counties), and special needs populations, the park and partners will offer a multi-track program that includes: Park Prescriptions; scheduled monthly events such as hikes and canoe trips; flexible options that allow the park staff to tailor activities to the needs of specific groups; an "Iron Ranger" activity that motivates participants to travel by foot or boat a total of 100 miles within the Arkansas national and state parks within 2016; and a Biathlon in October.
Canaveral National Seashore
Building on the paddling program success in the Apollo District of Canaveral National Seashore, this project will build a paddling program in the Playalinda District. The seashore encompasses 37,000 acres of the one of the most diverse estuaries in the world and it is perfectly suited for paddling on canoe, kayak and stand-up paddle board. The program will be run by volunteer Master Naturalists in Coastal Ecology who have great knowledge of the marine resource and are experienced paddlers.
Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park already provides opportunities to bike, kayak, canoe and hike while learning about the park's history and resources. Yet participants are currently homogenous in nature and have transportation means available. So, with the help of the City of Chattanooga, Glass House Collective, and the Chattanooga Hamilton County Health Department, the park will engage residents of East Chattanooga who normally aren't able to access the park's resources, in a variety of healthy outdoor activities.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
For years the Cuyahoga River has been too polluted for the park to offer much in the way of water-based activities. Now, efforts to clean the river are starting to pay off and the park will pilot a Junior Ranger Kayak Program for an estimated 120 youth. With Kent State University's Department of Recreation, the park will offer water-based recreation programs. Additionally, the park's Division of Resource Protection will develop an emergency services plan for river recreation, allowing the park to advance a new form of recreation to many visitors.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA) and its partner Pocono Environmental Center offer a tried and true variety of programs that involve both direct and active use of the trail system and promote healthy living and wellness. Through this grant they will more robustly market the trail opportunities and activities throughout the region, leveraging contacts within 150 school districts and other partner organizations to attract an estimated 750 new individuals to the trail. They will also create five new program opportunities specifically designed for teaching new recreational skills, further enhancing opportunities to get and active outdoors.
Fort Davis National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic Site is stepping up as a valuable community partner. The local high school has no funding for a track team or coach, so students have formed a running club. The park is making their trails available to the running club to train three times per week, giving students a safe and scenic place to practice. To kick off the partnership, the park will host two Fun Run 5Ks - one for the students, and the second for the gneral public.
Fort Stanwix National Monument
Fort Stanwix National Monument is moving beyond its tradition of historical walks to a wide array of hike and bike opportunities both on and off park property. Building on the foundation of its successful history-focused walks, park staff will lead visitors on much longer hikes that take them through the park and along the adjoining Mohawk River Trail and Erie Canal Trail. Bike and kayak programs will be piloted along the Erie Canal. And, the YMCA is going to advantage of the large lawns surrounding the fort ot host free Boot Camp and Yoga fitness classes for 10 weeks in the summer.
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, the adjoining Arrowstone Park on the Clark Fork River, and the City of Deer Lodge, are joining forces to promote their collective trail resources. A “recreation and trails” web page will be hosted by Powell County. Additionally, maps and other brochures will be printed and made available at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch Visitor Center, the Deer Lodge Medical Center, and local businesses.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The "Smokies Centennial Challenge -- Hike 100" project is focused on bringing underserved youth to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) for a very special hiking experience. Through planned hikes, that will total 100 miles by the end of the year, these youth will have the opportunity to take a hike with Superintendent Cash and interact with him and other experienced/knowledgeable hikers (i.e. staff, volunteers, hiking club members). Incentives will be provided to encourage completion of the 100 miles. And, an interactive webpage will allow participants to share photos and reflections.
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
Veterans who serve their country in all branches of the military all too often come home with broken spirits, suffering from grief, health challenges and nightmares. Utilizing the two new trails that were constructed by Native American youth in previous Active Trails programs, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site would like to offer the Native American veterans living in nearby Ganado a place to heal. Park staff will offer monthly guided hikes to nearly 160 veterans, providing them an opportunity to connect with nature, share healthy meals, help maintain the trails, and close each guided trail experience with prayer – a vital part of the Native American culture. The park is honored to be able to offer those who have served their country a safe and sacred place to begin, or continue their healing journeys.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
The "Hiking to Health" program hosted by Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park will target two underserved populations – Title 1 youth from Marietta City Schools and seniors at the Cobb Senior Services Centers. From March through June, the Cobb County Senior Services Center will co-host “National Park Field Days” that engage seniors in 3-hour, in-park sessions that include park orientation, fitness instruction by a local YMCA instructor, and a choice of guided hikes. From September through November, "Family Field Days" will engage youth from Marietta City Schools and their families in a series of activities co-hosted by the Cobb County YMCA. Visitors might enjoy Hoop Rolling, Stick-Horse Racing, scavenger hunts, fitness activities and picnics.
Keweenaw National Historical Park
Keweenaw National Historical Park will partner with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department to accomplish the following: 1) Host special events that encourage active health and wellness participation in the Calumet National Historic Landmark District. 2) Create and distribute educational outreach materials to increase awareness of resources and activities within the Calumet National Historic Landmark District and Keweenaw National Historical Park. 3) Engage citizens and two local governments in the development of local policy affecting healthy non-motorized trail based activities in the Calumet National Historic Landmark District and Keweenaw National Historical Park.
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site (MAVA) will host out-of-school programs for recreational activities in order to promote the use of National Parks as places to be healthy and enjoy the outdoors. The public does not generally associate historic sites with recreation, but the program will help incorporate the cultural landscape of MAVA as integral to the concept of place and how it's used and experienced. The people who lived and worked at the home and farm likely used this place for recreation. The youth who visit today will learn different outdoor activities they can enjoy in National Parks and new ways they can experience nature and the outdoors at home. Explore and Reflect Youth Programs will be provided in winter and summer. The winter sessions will introduce novel activities to the participants, such as snowshoe hikes and cross country skiing. Summer sessions will focus on a geocache experience. Youth organizations will be the target audience. A local environmental educator will lead programs that will focus on fun and exercise, but will also include reflection activities and questions to help youth connect their experience on trails and in the outdoors with their physical, mental, and emotional health.
Marsh - Billings - Rockefeller National Historical Park
Boots to Boats will celebrate the National Park Service Centennial with a summer-long series of wellness and recreation activities and special events, creatinge linkages between Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont, Saint Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT), and the Connecticut River National Blueway/Paddlers' Trail. Working with a broad set of partners, Boots to Boats will introduce the local communities to these outstanding resources in their own backyards and help people to "Find Their Parks" in diverse and fresh ways. Project partners include the Ottauquechee Health Foundation (OHF), the Green Mountain Club (GMC), the Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA), the Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail, Chambers of Commerce and Recreation Centers, and organizations and individuals in the fitness industry.
New River Gorge National River
This grant will bring a multitude of wellness programming to a part of Southern West Virginia that has been disproportionately impacted by a decline in extractive industries and subsequent poor environmental health. Funding will train volunteer community members to teach wellness activities inside New River Gorge National River (NERI). These classes will build the capacity to bring wellness activities into the local community and reach new audiences. Partnerships will be built with local nonprofits striving to create a happier and healthier West Virginia. With sustainability as a focus, plans are in place to continue this programming well after the year of grant funding through these enhanced partnerships.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park's "Líderes del Sendero" focuses on training Latino Millennials to lead Hiking Clubs with members of their communities. The park will hire two Latino interns who will serve as part of the “Next Generation Ranger Corps” and train Latino Millennials as hiking club leaders. Each trained "Trail Leader" will conduct outreach within their communities and lead their own hiking clubs of at least 10 individuals with limited exposure to national parks and/or hiking. This will impact an estimated 362 local, Latino young adults. Additionally, this project will allow the park to contribute to the movement of Latino Outdoors---a non-profit that works to connect Latino culture and community with the outdoors. Together they can help local Latino Millennials "encontrar su parque" (find their park).
Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway
During previous Active Trails programs the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (SACN) and partners successfully offered a variety of land and water activities for a broad spectrum of community groups that live along the Riverway. This year, through the "Healthy Parks, Healthy People – Active Trails” initiative, the park is focusing on the Namekagon River to help visitors experience paddling and the associated recreation and health benefits. Both established and new partners will help the park: 1. Continue to improve Riverway messages about health and wellness benefits of paddling. 2. Develop and lead health and wellness components of the planned paddles, including sessions on yoga, proper paddling technique, mid-paddle stretching, or hydration and nutrition while on the water. Many of these will be designed for a youth audience. 3. Promote the paddle activities through traditional and digital media. 4. Recruit participants.
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Timpanogos Cave National Monument, in conjunction with American Fork Recreation Center, Lehi Legacy Center and Concessions, will be continuing the successful existing "Moving Your Way to Fitness and Fun" hiking program and reaching out to local youth in the neighboring communities. This year's project hopes to encourage stewardship and fitness in 4th to 9th grade students. The fitness centers will coordinate a summer program to transport youth to the Monument to use the trail for fitness while receiving stewardship education from a National Park Service Ranger on a guided walk, followed by a tour of Timpanogos Cave. After the guided tour, the kids along with their chaperones will hike back down the trail where a healthy sack lunch will be provided at the Concessions area.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
Jacksonville Health Park Fitness and Fun Fest features two events at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. A springtime health festival will include: health screenings in partnership with Florida Blue (health partner); Zumba and Yoga with the Jacksonville YMCA; a race; healthy food vendors, cooking demonstrations, and tips on healthy gardening; and guided bike tours and hikes. A fall kayaking program will offer ranger-led kayak tours to underserved communities from urban Jacksonville. Participants will learn paddling safety, and experience the significant cultural and natural history of Timucuan.
Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River
The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River offers plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and recreate, yet the residents of nearby Sullivan County, NY don’t often take advantage of them. In fact this county ranks near the bottom in terms of health – 61st out of 62 counties. So, with support from this grant, and partners such as Sullivan County Public Health Services, Ridgeback Sports Store, and Cornell Cooperative Extension in Sullivan County, the park will offer a series of ranger-led snowshoe hikes, bike rides and canoe trips through 2016 that will include free transportation. The park is targeting YMCAs and senior centers in Sullivan County to recruit program participants.
Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail
Remember the Removal is a 7-state, bicycle ride commemorating the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from its homelands during the winter of 1838-39. The tour takes Cherokee youth (ages 16-24) along the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (TRTE), which their ancestors traveled. This summer, the youth from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Georgia will ride the trail’s northern route, taking in 32 different sites. Along the way will be opportunities for the youth to learn about their history and heritage, conduct community outreach and media events, grow as individuals and share as a team.

Featured Partner

Active Trails” is made possible through the generous support of The Coca-Cola Foundation.