Americans are seeking trail opportunities as never before. No longer are trails only for the ‘rugged individualists’ pursuing a solitary trek through breathtaking wilderness … users include young people and senior citizens, families, individuals and organized groups, people with disabilities and the physically fit.
—American Trails, Trails for All Americans report, 1990
People need immediate places to refresh, reinvent themselves. Our surroundings built and natural alike, have an immediate and a continuing effect on the way we feel and act, and on our health and intelligence. These places have an impact on our sense of self, our sense of safety, the kind of work we get done, the ways we interact with other people, even our ability to function as citizens in a democracy. In short, the places where we spend our time affect the people we are and can become.
—Tony Hiss, The Experience of Place, 1990
Let us bequeath our children more than the gadgets that surround us. If bicycling can be restored to the daily life of all Americans, it can be a vital step toward rebuilding health and vigor in all of us.
—Dr. Paul Dudley White, US cardiologist, 1886—1973
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
Greenways can draw people together in their communities to provide open spaces for all close to their own homes. They have the potential to be this country's most important land-based effort for conservation and recreation in the next several decades. They can draw private and local entities into lead roles in provision of recreation opportunities. They can capitalize on the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans and give pride of accomplishment and responsibility to millions of people in every community. They can protect vital water, fish, wildlife, and recreation resources as integral parts of the growth of cities and communities. And, if greenways truly capture the imagination and boldness of the American spirit, they could eventually form the corridors that connect open spaces, parks, forests, and deserts— and Americans— from sea to shining sea.
—President Reagan’s Commission on American Outdoors, Americans and the Outdoors, 1986
The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride horseback, or bicycle. For them we must have trails as well as highways… I am requesting therefore, that the Secretary of the Interior work with his colleagues in the federal government and with state and local leaders and recommend to me a cooperative program to encourage a national system of trails, building up the more than [one] hundred thousand miles of trails in our National Forests and Parks... In the backcountry we need to copy the great Appalachian Trail in all parts of our country.
—Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States