Ever bike? Now that's something that makes life worth living!...Oh, to just grip your handlebars and lay down to it, and go ripping and tearing through streets and road, over railroad tracks and bridges, threading crowds, avoiding collisions, at twenty miles or more an hour, and wondering all the time when you're going to smash up. Well, now, that's something! And then go home again after three hours of it...and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!
—Jack London, Author
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
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
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)
Rivers, lakes, and other waterways are the lifeblood of our communities, connecting us to our environment, our culture, our economy, and our way of life. The new National Water Trails System will help fulfill President Obama’s vision for healthy and accessible rivers as we work to restore and conserve our nation’s treasured waterways.
—Kenneth Lee Salazar, Secretary of the Interior
Blue Trails are an organizing tool that galvanizes citizen support for clean water and healthy riverside lands. They inspire people to protect important habitat and provide corridors for people and wildlife. While specific protections vary from community to community, Blue Trails are often associated with conservation easements, land acquisition, stream buffer requirements, stream flow protections, and higher water quality standards.