I have a short quote at the bottom of my Mountain Trails email signature that reads: “Saving the World, One Trail at a Time.” It was originally a scrapped t-shirt idea from several years back. I envisioned Superman-looking logo on the chest with “MTF” replacing the “S”. It was done completely tongue in cheek, and while I had no preconceived notions that trails could literally save the world, I found humor in its pretentiousness.
Many moons ago, in the early days of the Round Valley Nordic program, I had an experience that left a lasting impression. While grooming in the cat early one winter morning, a long-time local flagged me down, and said with a smile on his face; “I just want you to know that you are creating joy for many of us”. I looked at him somewhat astonished, and kind of brushed it off at the time, but that comment has always stuck with me.
During the Covid years, we realized just how important trails were for our mental and physical health. They provided a means of escape and a little slice of normalcy during a time that was anything but normal. Thousands of Covid expats moved to mountain towns across the west, including our own, many discovering the joy of trails for the first time.
Trail development and the trail industry has exploded in the past few years. There are now hundreds of trail contractors, trail non-profits like our own, along with local, state and federal agencies with a trail centric focus, and new trails systems are being developed nation-wide. I guess you could say that a trail renaissance is under way.
So, in revisiting my “saving the world” quote, while trails may not necessarily be saving our planet, they are most definitely making it a better place to coexist, despite our differences, and hopefully bringing a little joy to us all during these challenging times.
Have a great one out there!