Too often, the advocates of trails and linear parks along rights-of-way come up against officials who recognize only one kind of park–the squared-off kind that comes in chunks; and one kind of recreation–the supervised kind known as ‘organized sweating.’ Such officials refuse to acknowledge that there has been a change in US recreation trends, reflected in the phenomenal growth of hiking, biking, and horseback riding…
We believe that the place to start … is in our communities. Americans living together and joining in associations across the country–this is where the tremendous strength and vision of our people will be tapped. We recommend a prairie fire of local action to sweep the nation, encouraging investment in outdoor recreation opportunities and rededication to the protection of our great natural heritage.
— President Ronald Reagan's,Commission on American Outdoors, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987
Greenways and trails offer a new way of looking at how a community’s cultural, historic, recreational and conservation needs fit into an overall picture that also includes economic growth. With their emphasis on connections, greenways and trails allow community leaders to consider how existing parks and open spaces can become part of a network of green that supports wildlife, pleases people, and attracts tourists and clean industry.
—Office of Greenways and Trails, Florida Dept of Environmental Protection, Thinking Green: A Guide to the Benefits and Costs of Greenways and Trails, 1998
Trails have multiple values and their benefits reach far beyond recreation. Trails can enrich the quality of life for individuals, make communities more livable, and protect, nurture, and showcase America’s grandeur by traversing areas of natural beauty, distinctive geography, historic significance, and ecological diversity. Trails are important for the nation’s health, economy, resource protection and education.
—American Trails, Trails for All Americans report, 1990
We can tie this country together with threads of green that everywhere grant us access to the natural world.
—President Reagan’s Commission on American Outdoors, Americans and the Outdoors, 1987
The [Great Allegheny Passage] Trail is already attracting a lot of people, and were just starting to market it. It’s a major asset for our region, not only because of the tourist dollars it’s attracting, but also because it’s a piece of our economic rebuilding efforts.
—John P. Murtha, U.S. Congressman (D-Penn)