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

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The "Find Your Way to the Appalachian Trail--Happy Hiking, Healthy Living" campaign enlists the help of two VISTA volunteers to engage regional partners and locals in a series of "Find Your Way to the Appalachian Trail" workshops, an Appalachian Trail Healthy Living Challenge, and several trail-related volunteer opportunities. Libraries, health clubs, outing groups, scouts, teachers and more – most of whom have never been involved with the Appalachian Trail – will be invited to participate and encouraged to hike 26 miles by September 26, as part of the activities.
Assateague Island National Seashore
The initial implementation phase of the multi-year Assateague Gateway Trail and Walkable Bikeable Berlin projects is currently underway and will establish the foundation of the new, expanded trail corridor and prioritize ongoing steps to connect local communities to Assateague Island National Seashore. This project will strengthen partnerships within the health and wellness community, local bicycle groups, paddling outfitters and others including birding enthusiasts.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
To create more visitor opportunities, the park developed a kayak program through a previous Active Trails grant. They bought equipment, trained interpretive staff, created a backcountry non-motorized boating guide and hired a Northwest College Outdoor Education Student to oversee the program. In 2015, a NWC student will produce a series of Kayak training videos for new staff and visitors.
Booker T. Washington National Monument
The Healthy Parks, Healthy People Walking Club will continue its partnership with Carilion Clinic and expand its monthly "Walk and Talk With Carilion" health programs and walks around the Jack O' Lantern Branch Trail to include more nature walks and a Heritage Trail group to attract physically challenged walkers. In addition, one of the Carilion Walk and Talks will include a sensory focus to attract visually challenged visitors.
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
Boston Harbor Islands Shape-Up is a summer-long health and wellness program that provides opportunities for an expanded network of coastal neighbors to forge lifelong connections to the outdoors through a diverse menu of park-based recreational experiences. In its second year, the project will provide multiple fitness opportunities, including healthy heart walks, guided runs, Frisbee clinics, boot camps and yoga classes. In addition, the park and its partners will host three, full-day fitness events on Spectacle Island and Peddocks Island.
Buffalo National River
Explore for Health will provide programs to encourage increased use of the park's waterways, hiking trails, and caves through a partnership with Buffalo National River Partners (BNRP) and the Hometown Health Improvement Coalitions across the region. Participants will be encouraged to find their park and engage in hands-on activities including learning to canoe, participating in group hikes, and participating in cave tours where they can assist park resource staff in critical survey work.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
In 2014, the park established a Track Trail program through an Active Trails grant that guides visitors through farm, field and forest to actively hike at least one mile of trail, exploring and learning as they go. This year, the trail will be expanded to include a Citizen Science component along at least one mile of trail where visitors stop along the way to take air and water temperature readings, monitor a patch of Milkweed for Monarch butterfly activity and eggs, and learn about natural processes.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
This project is a continuation of the Platt Trail Blazer health and wellness trail program. Conducted in partnership with the Arbuckle Memorial Hospital, it encourages use of park trails for exercise. This year, in addition to offering a variety of fitness activities, we will be adding an 8-person Linear Exercise Station at the trailhead of Veterans Lake trail, increasing stretching and body strengthening opportunities for trail users.
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
The Aviation Bike Trail promotes sustainable transportation, healthy living, and historical tourism by connecting park resources along the Miami Valley's extensive network of paved trail. The park will work with Aviation Trail, Inc. to strengthen existing and encourage new partnerships in the region. A pamphlet will show connecting pathways. Along the trail, cyclists can collect stamps which can be exchanged at the park's visitor centers for a custom Klean Kanteen water bottle. Cyclists are also encouraged to share their experiences via social media.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
The Trails4Teens project utilizes the park's 14-mile trail system as a way to engage new and diverse audiences of youth (13 - 19 years old), helping them earn money, be with peers, get away from the city, and enjoy the outdoor environment. In partnership with the DreamBig Program, Harrison High School, and the Coalition of the Upper South Platte, teen youth crews will be recruited and trained as a seasonal trail crew.
Fort Stanwix National Monument
Last year, the park successfully launched the pilot Walk with History programs. While guided activities in 2014 focused primarily on connecting the trails and activities to Revolutionary War history, 2015 will offer increased opportunities to engage with the local community by working with several groups to participate in the Active Trails programs. Programs will be offered at a variety of times/days to attract the largest audiences. Topics of guided walks will vary as well, expanding beyond Colonial history to engage Seniors and other audiences.
Gateway National Recreation Area
The "Get into Gateway" initiative expands trail use and partnerships in several ways. The park will focus on two major activities in 2015 : 1) Deepen the Your Park! Your Health! partnership with VISION Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and 2) Working with a SCA Trails Crew, we will complete a new, fully accessible trail and observation viewing deck at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, and improve trails throughout Jamaica Bay.
Grand Teton National Park
For two years, the park has partnered with St. John's Medical Center to create an incentive-based hiking program for local individuals and families, encouraging them to get out on the 200+ miles of trails while reaping the numerous physical and mental health benefits of hiking. The program focused on families and individuals who did not typically spend much time recreating in the park. Building on lessons learned, we will further target under-served audiences, inspire the next generation of park visitors and supporters through healthy activities and outdoor recreation.
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site (HUTR) is located in NE Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. After returning from their long journey, in 1880s Navajo have developed local footpaths that led to Hubbell Trading Post. Today local residents still use these pathways to get to the hospital, post office, and other tribal governance businesses. Hubbell Trading Post NHS will hire local Navajo students to develop a trail that extends from the southwest along Pueblo Colorado Wash to Hubbell and extends ½ mile onto reservation land.
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
This project will improve the condition of the Tanalian Trail that is experiencing increased use by local residents, disabled veterans, and Alaska Native and Non-native rural youth in addition to traditional park visitors and is a critical piece of the local community's local outdoor fitness opportunity. Rutted and rooted trail tread improvements and selective rerouting will take place and rest benches will be installed to ensure sustainability and improved walking conditions. Operation Heal Our Patriots of Samaritan's Purse and Tanalian Bible Camp, two important park partners who are bringing significant numbers of wounded and disabled veterans and Alaskan youth, respectively, are partners in this project.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
The Reach Higher Trail Challenge will promote hiking for fitness in Lassen Volcanic National Park for a second year. This variation of the park's successful Explore Safely Trail Challenge encourages visitors to hike a greater number and variety of the park's 150 plus miles of trails, develop an awareness of the health benefits of hiking, and connect fitness with food choices. In partnership with Latino Outreach of Tehama County (LOTC) and Latino Outdoors, Lassen will use the challenge to introduce members of the local Latino community to hiking at Lassen and learn how to better serve the needs of this diverse visitor group.
Marsh - Billings - Rockefeller National Historical Park
The NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) is working with the Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA) to develop a High School Trail Corps in the Upper Valley Region of NH and VT. Working with technical support from the RTCA program and Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park (MABI) and St. Gaudens National Historic Site (SAGA), UVTA will work with 10 local high schools in 2015 to develop and recruit students to participate in the third year of an Upper Valley High School Trail Corps. Participants will perform work on trails within and around Marsh Billings Rockefeller NHP, learn about the natural world via UVTA and Park Service, and learn vital life skills through teamwork and outdoor activities.
Olympic National Park
The park will partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula (BGCOP) to offer a series of recreational adventures in Olympic National Park (ONP) for the boys and girls enrolled in the summer camp program offered at the clubs' two facilities in Port Angeles and Sequim. Campers will hike trails in each of the park's three ecosystems, canoe on Lake Crescent, raft on the Elwha River and swim in the pools at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. The culminating event will be a family day at the NatureBridge campus on the shores of Lake Crescent.
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
Palo Alto Battlefield will coordinate with the Brownsville Wellness Coalition to expand a program of community "Walking Groups" and encourage local residents to use park trails for fitness walking. Under the program, walking groups will meet weekly under the supervision of a professional trainer to walk park trails and receive training about healthy exercise and eating. Park staff will also accompany the groups, providing short programs about the National Park Service and the sites. The program will sponsor groups at two locations, the Palo Alto Battlefield and the Resaca de la Palma Battlefield.
Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway
Building on the success of last year's "Healthy Parks, Healthy People" (HPHP) pilot in Burnett County, Wisconsin, the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and the St. Croix River Association (SCRA) will develop new materials and offer activities to strengthen the existing program and expand it to two additional counties. In Burnett County, efforts in 2015 will focus on improving use of the Park Prescriptions program through continued discussion with healthcare providers and the development of a county-wide trails map. In Washington and St. Croix counties, NPS and SCRA will partner with the Lakeview Health Foundation to add a HPHP focus to an existing outreach effort focused on youth and families. The development of "PowerUp St. Croix" will include an awareness campaign and print materials. Outdoor recreation programming will be offered in all three counties.
Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve
Salt River Bay NHP&EP (SARI) tells the 2,000-year history of human-environment interactions on a tropical island yet until recently had been an underutilized resource. Now the public is asking for better access, trails and interpretive content. Of the park's approximately 1,000 acres, 75% are water and estuarine habitats, including a world-class dive site, deep-water coral reefs and an internationally renowned bioluminescent bay. Active Trails will help the park frame information outreach and activities for visitors through development of interpretive water trails, Apps, and educational programming with local schools.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Building upon the success of last year's 1st Annual Recreation Festival, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is planning to host a 2nd annual festival to further engage urban visitors with healthy recreational opportunities. The park is ideally situated within an hour drive of 17 million people, many of whom live in a very park poor environment. Through the Active Trails Grant, we will offer a multitude of activities and demonstrations to show the fun and health benefits of outdoor recreation -- including a 1-mile fun run, hiking, biking, yoga, rock climbing, horseback riding opportunities, and more.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI) will implement (2) 2-week long service, learning, and recreation experiences for 30 students from two San Joaquin Valley high schools in June and July 2015. Participants will rehabilitate park trails; promote outdoor ethics and Leave-No-Trace principles for park visitors, and enjoy learning, team-building and recreation. The project will be staffed by a mix of high school teachers, NPS staff, and college interns majoring in natural resource fields. High school and college students served are from Tulare and Fresno counties, two of the poorest and most diverse counties in California.
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Timpanogos Cave National Monument in conjunction with American Fork Recreation Center, Lehi Legacy Center and Timpanogos Cave Concessions will expand the existing Moving Your Way to Fitness and Fun program. This year's project will encourage stewardship and fitness in 4th to 9th grade age students. A summer program will 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.
Kings Mountain National Military Park
The Huzzah Hikers Club, formed as a result of the 2014 Active Trails grant, is active and growing. The "Active in the Outdoors" events reach a diverse audience of youth, young adults, families, and senior citizens, and park staff plan to continue and expand these events to reach out to an even larger segment of the local population. This year will bring more hikes and youth overnight camps.
River Raisin National Battlefield Park
This project expands on the successes of the 2014 Active Trails Project at Alcove Spring Park, a unique and important site on the Oregon and California National Historic Trails (NHTs), by involving the local community and volunteer groups in building or renovating segments of historic and recreational trail. 2015 work continues or expands public outdoor events begun in 2014 such as “Orchestra on the Oregon” and the “Alcove Spring Run/Walk”, and supports ongoing volunteer trail work on site, expands historic interpretation, and completes two challenging trail segments that will provide safe and clear connections between the historic areas of the park.
Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park is a critical green space that improves the health and quality of life for millions of people in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Covering more than 2,700 acres, Rock Creek Park is a gateway to the National Park Service system and a backyard park for residents of the city. Rock Creek Park on the Move is a series of events to get people of all ages out and active in the park in stewardship and recreational activities. Rock Creek Conservancy and other partners will offer a series of events such as trash cleanups, trail maintenance, yoga, bird watching, biking, orienteering, dog walks, Zumba, invasive species removal, and tree planting.
Kings Canyon National Park
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI) will implement (2) 2-week long service, learning, and recreation experiences for 30 students from two San Joaquin Valley high schools in June and July 2015. Participants will rehabilitate park trails; promote outdoor ethics and Leave-No-Trace principles for park visitors, and enjoy learning, team-building and recreation. The project will be staffed by a mix of high school teachers, NPS staff, and college interns majoring in natural resource fields. High school and college students served are from Tulare and Fresno counties, two of the poorest and most diverse counties in California.

Featured Partner

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