Trail

A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland path or footpath is the preferred term for a walking trail. The term is also applied, in North America, to routes along rivers, and sometimes to highways. In the US, the term was historically used for a route into or through wild territory used by emigrants (e.g. the Oregon Trail). In the USA "trace" is a synonym for trail, as in Natchez Trace. Some trails are single use and can only be used for walking, cycling, horse riding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing; others, as in the case of a bridleway in the UK, are multi-use, and can be used by walkers, cyclists and equestrians. There are also unpaved trails used by dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles and in some places, like the Alps, trails are used for moving cattle and other livestock.

Trail between two fields (Slovenia, Selo pri Mirni)
A country track, or fieldway, in Slovenia
MountainBikeTrail
Mountain bike trail in the Forest of Dean, England
Trilha do Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos Sede Petrópolis
Trail at the Serra dos Órgãos National Park, Petrópolis, Brazil

Usage

In Australia, the term track can be used interchangeably with trail, and can refer to anything from a dirt road to an unpaved pedestrian path.

Rain Forest in KLIA
Jungle trail inside KLIA Airport

In New Zealand, the terms track or walkway are used almost exclusively except in reference to cross-country skiing: "walkways vary enormously in nature, from short urban strolls, to moderate coastal locations, to challenging tramps [hikes] in the high country [mountains]".[1] Walkway is used similarly in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, where the "Grand Concourse", is an integrated walkway system.[2]

In the United Kingdom, the term trail is in common usage. Longer distance walking routes, and government-promoted long distance paths, collectively known as National Trails, are also frequently called ways; as in the Pennine Way and South Downs Way. Generally the term footpath is preferred for pedestrian routes, including long distance trails, and is also used for urban paths and sometimes in place of pavement. Track is used for wider paths (wide enough for vehicles), often used for hiking. The terms bridleway, byway, restricted byway are all recognised legal terms and to a greater or lesser extent in general usage.

The increased popularity of mountain biking has led to a proliferation of mountain bike trails in many countries. Often these will be grouped to form larger complexes, known as trail centers.

In the early years of the 20th century, the term auto trail was used for a marked highway route, and trail is now also used to designate routes, including highway routes, designated for tourist interest like the Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia, Canada and the Quilt Trails in the US. The term trail has also been used by developers and urban planners for a variety of modern paved roads, highways, and boulevards, in these countries, and some highways continue to be officially called a trail, such as the Susquehanna Trail in Pennsylvania, a designation that varies from a two-lane road to a four-lane freeway. A particularly unusual use of the term is in the Canadian province of Alberta, which has multi-lane freeways called trails.

Types

Segregated trail

Trail segregation, the practice of designating certain trails as having a specific preferred or exclusive use, is increasingly common and diverse. For example, bike trails are used not only on roads open to motor vehicles, but also in trail systems open to other trail users. Some trails are segregated for use by both equestrians and mountain bikes, or by equestrians only, or by mountain bikes only. Designated "wilderness area" trails may be segregated for non-wheeled use (hence permit backpacking and horses but exclude mountain bikes and motorized vehicles).

Often, trail segregation for a particular use is accompanied by prohibitions against that use on other trails within the trail system. Trail segregation may be supported by signage, markings, trail design and construction (especially selection of tread materials), and by separation between parallel treads. Separation may be achieved by "natural" barriers including distance, ditching, banking, grading, and vegetation, and by "artificial" barriers including fencing, curbing, and walls.

Bicycle trail

Bicycle trails encompass a wide variety of trail types, including shared-use paths used for commuting, off-road cross country trails and downhill mountain bike trails.

Pfaelzerwald Mountainbike Drachenfels 01
Hikers and Mountainbikers on top of the Drachenfels (Dragons Rock) in the Palatinate Forest, Germany

The number of off-road cycle trails has increased significantly, along with the popularity of mountain bikes. Off-road bicycle trails are generally function-specific and most commonly waymarked along their route. They may take the form of single routes or form part of larger complexes, known as trail centres. Off-road trails often incorporate a mix of challenging terrain, singletrack, smooth fireroads, and even paved paths. Trails with an easy or moderate technical complexity are generally deemed cross-country trails, while trails difficult even to experienced riders are more often dubbed all-mountain, freeride, or downhill. Downhilling is particularly popular at ski resorts such as Mammoth Mountain in California or Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, where ski lifts are used to get bikes and riders to the top of the mountain.

EuroVelo bicycle routes are a network of (currently 14) long-distance cycling routes criss-crossing Europe in various stages of completion, more than 45,000 km (27,962 mi) was in place by 2013.[3] It is envisaged that the network will be substantially complete by 2020 and when finished, the EuroVelo network's total length will exceed 70,000 km (43,496 mi).[4][5] EuroVelo is a project of the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF).

EuroVelo routes can be used for bicycle touring across the continent, as well as by local people making short journeys. The routes are made of both existing national bike routes, such as the Dutch LF-Routes, the German D-Routes, and the British National Cycle Network, and existing general purpose roads, together with new stretches of cycle routes to connect them.[6]

Off-road cycling can cause soil erosion and habitat destruction if not carried out on established trails. This is particularly so when trails are wet, overall though, cycling may have only as much impact as other trail users [7]

Cross-country skiing trail

Ski trails
Prepared ski trails for cross-country skiing

In cross-country skiing a trail is also called a track or piste.[8] Recreational cross-country skiing is also called touring, especially in Europe. Some skiers stay out for extended periods using tents and equipment similar to bushwalkers and hikers, whereas others take relatively short trips from ski resorts on maintained trails. In some countries, organizations maintain a network of huts for use by cross-country skiers in wintertime. For example, the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association maintains over 400 huts stretching across hundreds of kilometres of trails which are used by hikers in the summer and by skiers in the winter.

Equestrian trail

Loantaka Brook Reservation bikeway horse path and stream and reflections
A combination horse and hiking trail in a suburb of New York City

Horse riding and other equestrian uses of trails continue to be a popular activity for many trail users.[9] Horses can usually negotiate much the same grades as hikers, but not always, although they can more easily clear obstacles in the path such as logs.[10]

The Bicentennial National Trail (BNT) in Australia is the longest marked multi-use trail in the world, stretching 5,330 kilometres from Cooktown, Queensland, through New South Wales to Healesville, Victoria. This trail runs the length of the rugged Great Dividing Range through national parks, private property and alongside of wilderness areas. One of the objectives was to develop a trail that linked up the brumby tracks,[9] mustering and stock routes along the Great Dividing Range, thus providing an opportunity to legally ride the routes of stockmen and drovers who once travelled these areas with pack horses. This Trail provides access to some of the wildest, most remote country in the world.[9] The Bicentennial National Trail is suitable for self-reliant horse riders, fit walkers and mountain bike riders.[10]

Within the United States National Trail Classification System,[11] equestrian trails include simple day-use bridle paths and others built to accommodate long strings of pack animals on journeys lasting many days. Trail design parameters for these uses include trail base width and material, trail clear width, trail clear height, access to water suitable for stock (not human) use, and trail routing.

Footpath

An urban footpath
An urban footpath in Ipswich, Suffolk, United Kingdom, which prohibits cycling

A footpath is a type of thoroughfare that is intended for use only by pedestrians, not other forms of traffic such as motorized vehicles and horses. They can be paths within an urban area, or rural paths through the countryside. Urban footpaths are usually paved, may have steps, are called alleys, lanes, steps, etc., and may be named. Other public rights of way, such as bridleways, byways, towpaths, and green lanes are also used by pedestrians.

In some regions of the United Kingdom, such as England and Wales, there are rights of way on which pedestrians have a legally protected right to travel. National parks, nature preserves, conservation areas and other protected wilderness areas may have trails that are restricted to pedestrians.[12]

Footpaths can be connected to form a long distance trail or way, which can be used by both day hikers and by backpackers. Some of the trails are over one thousand miles (1,600 km) long.

In the USA and Canada, where urban sprawl has begun to strike even the most rural communities, developers and local leaders are currently striving to make their communities more conducive to non-motorized transportation through the use of less traditional trails. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has established the Active Living by Design program to improve the livability of communities in part through developing trails,[13] The Upper Valley Trails Alliance has done similar work on traditional trails, while the Somerville Community Path and related paths, are examples of urban initiatives. In St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada the "Grand Concourse", is an integrated walkway system that has over 160 kilometers (99 mi) of walkways, which link every major park, river, pond, and green space in six municipalities.[2]

Footpaths can be located in different settings for various uses. These can include:

FanTanAlley
View into Fan Tan Alley, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Urban pedestrian footpaths or trails are sometimes called alleys or lanes and in older cities and towns in Europe and are often what is left of a medieval street network or right-of-ways or ancient footpaths. Similar paths also exist in some of the older North American towns and cities, like Charleston, South Carolina, New Castle, Delaware, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Such urban trails or footpaths are narrow, usually paved and often between the walls of buildings. This type is usually short and straight, and on steep ground can consist partially or entirely of steps. Some are named. Because of geography steps are a common form of footpath in hilly cities and towns. This includes Pittsburgh (see Steps of Pittsburgh), Cincinnati (see Steps of Cincinnati), Seattle,[14] and San Francisco[15] in the United States, as well as Hong Kong,[16] Quebec City, Quebec, Canada,[17] and Rome.[18] Stairway trails are found in a number of hilly American cities. This includes the Stairway Trails in Bernal Heights, East San Francisco.[19]

Motorized trail

Off road trail
An off-road trail leading into a forest.
Orv-damage
Damage that occurred when vehicles left the posted trail at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Motorized trail use also remains very popular with some people. Such terms as ORV, four-wheeling, all-terrain vehicle, and others actually have highly specific meanings. In the United States, this sport remains very popular. The Recreational Trails Program defined as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 mandates that states must use a minimum of 30 percent of these funds for motorized trail uses.

Off-road vehicle use on public land has been criticized by some members of the US government[20] and environmental organizations including the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society.[21][22] They have noted several consequences of illegal ORV use such as pollution, trail damage, erosion, land degradation, possible species extinction,[23] and habitat destruction[24] which can leave hiking trails impassable.[25] ORV proponents argue that legal use taking place under planned access along with the multiple environment and trail conservation efforts by ORV groups will mitigate these issues. Groups such as the Blueribbon Coalition advocate Treadlightly, which is the responsible use of public lands used for off-road activities.

Seymour Logging Road
A British Columbia Ministry of Forests forest service road in steep terrain at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve near North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Noise pollution is also a concern,[26] and several studies conducted by Montana State University, California State University, University of Florida and others have cited possible negative behavioral changes in wildlife as the result of some ORV use.[27] Some US states have laws to reduce noise generated by off-road and non-highway vehicles. Washington is one example.[28]

Water trail

Water trails, also referred to as blueways or paddling trails, are marked routes on navigable waterways such as rivers, lakes, canals and coastlines for people using small non-motorized boats such as kayaks, canoes, rafts, or rowboats. Some trails may be suitable for float tubing or developed in concert with motorized use. They include: signs and route markers; maps; facilities for parking, boat ramps or docks, and places to camp and picnic. There are also state programs and other promotion for water trails.[29][30] The American Canoe Association has compiled a database of water trails in the United States.[31] The National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program has compiled a list of water trail resources, success stories, and statewide contacts for water trails.[32]

Shared-use trail

Taiwan 2009 JinGuaShi Historic Gold Mine Trail Leading to Mining Sites FRD 8756
An abandoned mining trail in the Jinguashi mining area in Taiwan

Shared use may be achieved by sharing a trail easement, but within it maintaining segregated and sometimes also separated trail treads. This is common in rail trails. Shared use may also refer to alternate day arrangements, whereby two uses are segregated by being permitted on alternate days. This is increasingly common in long-distance trails shared by equestrians and mountain bike users; these two user communities have similar trail requirements but may experience encounters with each other on the trail as difficult

The Trans Canada Trail can be used by cyclists, hikers, horseback riders, and walkers, as well as cross country skiers, snowmobilers and snowshoers in winter.[33]

In Belgium RAVeL, French for réseau autonome de voies lentes[34] (autonomous network of slow ways), is a Walloon initiative aimed at creating a network of itineraries reserved for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and people with reduced mobility. The network makes use of towpaths on river banks and disused railway or vicinal tramway lines. Old railway lines have been leased by the Walloon Government for 99 years using emphyteutic lease contracts.[35] Where necessary, new paths are created to link parts of the network.

In England and Wales a bridleway is a trail intended for use by equestrians,[36][37] but walkers also have a right of way, and Section 30 of the Countryside Act 1968 permits the riding of bicycles on public bridleways, though the act says that it "shall not create any obligation to facilitate the use of the bridleway by cyclists". Thus the right to cycle exists even though it may be difficult to exercise on occasion, especially in winter. Cyclists using a bridleway are obliged to give way to other users on foot or horseback.

The seawall in Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is popular for walking, running, cycling, and inline skating. There are two paths, one for skaters and cyclists and the other for pedestrians. The lane for cyclists and skaters goes one-way in a counterclockwise loop.[38]

Foreshoreway (also oceanway) is a term used in Australia for a type of greenway that provides a public right-of-way along the edge of the sea open to both walkers and cyclists.[39]

Forest road

Mudway at Kambalakonda Ecopark Visakhapatnam
Trail in Kambalakonda Ecopark near Visakhapatnam

A forest road is a type of rudimentary access road, built mainly for the forest industry, although in some cases they are also used for backcountry recreation access.

There is open access to most Forestry Commission roads and land in Great Britain for walkers, cyclists and horse riders and, since the Countryside Bill of 1968, it has become the largest provider of outdoor recreation in Britain.[40] The Commission works with associations involved in rambling, cycling, mountain biking and horse riding to promote the use of its land for recreation. The trails open to the public are not just forest roads and a notable example of the Commissions promotion of outdoor activity is the 7stanes project in Scotland, where seven purpose built areas of mountain bike trails have been laid, including facilities for disabled cyclists.[41]

Holloway

A Holloway (also hollow way) is a sunken path or lane, i.e., a road or track that is significantly lower than the land on either side, not formed by the (recent) engineering of a road cutting but possibly of much greater age. Various mechanisms have been proposed for how holloways may have been formed, including erosion by water or traffic; the digging of embankments to assist with the herding of livestock; and the digging of double banks to mark the boundaries of estates. These mechanisms are all possible and could apply in different cases.[42]

Rail trail

Parkland Walk Islington
Parkland Walk rail trail, Islington, London, England

Rail trails or paths are shared-use paths that make use of abandoned railway corridors. They can be used for walking, cycling and horse riding. They exist throughout the world and the following is a description of trails in Australia:

Following the route of the railways, they cut through hills, under roads, over embankments and across gullies and creeks. Apart from being great places to walk, cycle or horse ride, rail trails are linear conservation corridors protecting native plants and animals. They often link remnant vegetation in farming areas and contain valuable flora and fauna habitat. Wineries and other attractions are near many trails as well as B&B's and other great places to stay.[43]

Most trails have a gravel or dirt surface suitable for walking, mountain bikes and horses. In the USA the 27 mile/43 km long Cheshire Rail Trail, in New Hampshire, can be used by hikers, horseback riders, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, cyclists, or even a dogsledders. In Canada, following the abandonment of the Prince Edward Island Railway in 1989, the government of Prince Edward Island purchased the right-of-way to the entire railway system. The Confederation Trail was developed as a tip-to-tip walking/cycling gravel rail trail which doubles as a monitored and groomed snowmobile trail during the winter months, operated by the PEI Snowmobile Association. A considerable part of the Trans Canada trail are repurposed defunct rail lines donated to provincial governments by CP and CN rail rebuilt as walking trails. As such, much of the Trans Canada Trail development emulated the successful Rails-to-Trails initiative in the United States, The Trail is multi-use and depending on the section may allow hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders, cross country skiers and snowmobilers.

See also: List of rail trails

Towpath

Canal swains lock 20040911 121236 2
Swain's Lock on the C & O Canal in Maryland, US

A towpath is a road or path on the bank of a river, canal, or other inland waterway. The original purpose of a towpath was to allow a horse, or a team of human pullers to tow a boat, often a barge. They can be paved or unpaved and are popular with cyclists and walkers, and some are suitable for equestrians. In Scotland equestrians have legal access to all towpaths, and there is a campaign for similar rights in England and Wales.[44] In snowy winters in the USA they are popular with cross-country skiers and snowmobile users.

In Britain, most canals were owned by private companies, and the towpaths were deemed to be private, for the benefit of legitimate users of the canal. The nationalisation of the canal system in 1948 did not result in the towpaths becoming public rights of way, and subsequent legislation, such as the Transport Act of 1968, which defined the government's obligations to the maintenance of the inland waterways for which it was now responsible, did not include any commitment to maintain towpaths for use by anyone.[45] However, some ten years later British Waterways started to relax the rule that a permit was required to give access to a towpath, and began to encourage leisure usage by walkers, anglers and in some areas, cyclists.[46] The British Waterways Act of 1995 still did not enshrine any right of public access, although it did encourage recreational access of all kinds to the network,[45] although the steady development of the leisure use of the canals and the decline of commercial traffic had resulted in a general acceptance that towpaths are open to everyone, and not just boat users.[47] The concept of free access to towpaths is enshrined in the legislation which transferred responsibility for the English and Welsh canals from British Waterways to the Canal & River Trust in 2012.[48]

Not all towpaths are suitable for use by cyclists, but where they are, and the canal is owned by British Waterways, a permit is required. There is no charge for a permit, but it acts as an opportunity to inform cyclists about safe and unsafe areas to cycle. Some areas including London are exempt from this policy, but are covered instead by the London Towpath Code of Conduct and cyclists are required to have a bell, which is rung twice when approaching pedestrians. Parts of some towpaths have been incorporated into the National Cycle Network, and in most cases this has resulted in the surface being improved.[49]

In France it is possible to cycle, rollerblade, and hike along the banks of the Canal du Midi. A paved stretch of 50 km (30 miles) from Toulouse to Avignonet-Lauragais and another 12 km (7 miles) between Béziers and Portiragnes are particularly suited to cycling and rollerblading. It is possible to cycle or walk the entire Canal des Deux Mers from Sète to Bordeaux.[50] Other French canals provide walkers "with many excellent routes, as they are always accompanied by a towpath, which makes a pleasant off-road track, and have the added virtues of flatness, shade and an abundance of villages along the way", though walking a canal can be monotonous, so that "a long trip beside a canal is better done by bicycle".[51]

Walnut Creek Urban Trail Austin Texas
Part of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail, an urban trail in Austin, Texas, United States

Urban trail

An urban trail is a citywide network of non-motorized, multi-use pathways that are utilized by bicyclists, walkers and runners for both transportation and recreation. Urban trails average ten foot in width and are surfaced with asphalt or concrete. Some are striped likes roads to designate two-way traffic. Urban trails are designed with connections to neighborhoods, businesses, places of employment and public transport stops.[52]

Trail system layout

Linear-trail system

A linear trail goes from one point to another without connecting trails.[53] These trails are also known as "out-and-back" or "destination" trails. Rail trails and long-distance trails are examples of linear trails. Linear trails usually follow long distances. A shorter linear trail is a spur trail, which takes a user to a particular point-of-interest, such as a waterfall or mountain summit.[53]

Looped-trail system

A looped trail allows a user to end up where they started with either minimal or no repeating parts of the trail.[53] Looped-trail systems come in many permutations. A single-looped trail system is often used around lakes, wetlands, and other geological features.[54] A series of looped trails is a stacked-loop trail system. A stacked loop trail system has several, interconnected looped trails. This creates an efficient, compact design with many route options. In a multiple-loop system, each loop extends from a single trailhead.

Trail systems often combine linear trails with looped trails. In a spoked-wheel system, linear trails connect a central trailhead with an outer loop. In a primary-and-secondary loop system, a linear trails connect a primary loop with secondary loops. Last, a maze system incorporates both loops and linear trails. Maze systems provide users many choices; however, some users may find navigation difficult.[54]

Administration

Europe

Refuge Bel-Lachat gr5 Chamonix
A walker preparing to leave the Refuge de Bel Lachat, Chamonix, in the French Alps, on the long distance path GR5

An important network of long distance paths in Europe the Via Alpina was created by a group of public and private organisations from the eight Alpine countries in 2000, receiving EU funding from 2001 until 2008. It was initiated by the Association Grande Traversée des Alpes in Grenoble, which hosted the Via Alpina international secretariat until January 2014, when it was transferred to the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps CIPRA, in Liechtenstein. There are national secretariats (hosted by public administrations or hiking associations) in each country. Its aim is to support sustainable development in remote mountain areas and promote the Alpine cultures and cultural exchanges.

The Grande Randonnée (French), Grote Routepaden or Lange-afstand-wandelpaden (Dutch), Grande Rota (Portuguese) or Gran Recorrido (Spanish) is a network of long-distance footpaths in Europe, mostly in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. Many GR routes make up part of the longer European walking routes which cross several countries. In France alone, the trails cover approximately 60,000 kilometres (37,000 mi). In France, the network is maintained by the Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre (French Hiking Federation),[55] and in Spain by the Spanish Mountain Sports Federation.[56]

UK and Ireland

In England and Wales many trails and footpaths are of ancient origin and are protected under law as rights of way. In the Republic of Ireland, the Keep Ireland Open organization is campaigning for similar rights.[57] Local highways authorities, in England and Wales, (usually county councils or unitary authorities) are required to maintain the definitive map of all public rights of way in their areas and these can be inspected at council offices. If a path is shown on the definitive map and no subsequent order (e.g. a stopping up) exists then the right of way is conclusive in law. But just because a path is not on that map does not mean that it is not a public path, as the rights may not have been recorded. The Countryside Agency estimated that over 10% of public paths were not yet listed on the definitive map. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 provides that paths that are not recorded on the definitive map by 2026 and that were in use prior to 1949 will automatically be deemed stopped-up on 1 January 2026.

In Scotland, a right of way is a route over which the public has been able to pass unhindered for at least 20 years.[58] The route must link two "public places", such as villages, churches or roads. Unlike in England and Wales there is no obligation on Scottish local authorities to signpost or mark a right of way. However the charity Scotways, formed in 1845 to protect rights of way, records and signs the routes. There is no legal distinction between footpaths and bridleways in Scotland, as there is in England and Wales, though it is generally accepted that cyclists and horseriders may follow rights of way with suitable surfaces.

Scottish Rights of Way Society Sign - geograph.org.uk - 249365
Scotways sign for a Scottish public path

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 established a general presumption of access to all land in Scotland, making the existence of rights of way less important in terms of access to land in Scotland. Certain categories of land are excluded from this presumption of open access such as railway land, airfields and private gardens.

Northern Ireland has very few public rights of way and access to land in Northern Ireland is more restricted than other parts of the UK, so that in many areas walkers can only enjoy the countryside because of the goodwill and tolerance of landowners.[59] Northern Ireland shares the same legal system as England, including concepts about the ownership of land and public rights of way, but it has its own court structure, system of precedents and specific access legislation.[60]

In England and Wales a National Trails system also exists of long distance footpaths, which are administered by Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales, statutory agencies of the UK government. These include Hadrian's Wall Path, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, the Pennine Bridleway (bridleway), the South West Coast Path (South West Way) (the longest), and the Thames Path, and many more. Together these are over 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) long.

In Scotland, the equivalent trails are called Long Distance Routes and are administered by Scottish Natural Heritage. The first, and probably the most popular, is the West Highland Way, which is 95 miles (153 km) long and was opened in 1980.

Sustrans is a British charity that promotes sustainable transport, and it works on projects to encourage people to walk, cycle, and use public transport, so as to give people the choice of "travelling in ways that benefit their health and the environment".[61] Sustrans' flagship project is the National Cycle Network, which has created over 14,000 milesof signed cycle routes throughout the UK.[62]

USA

Cascade pass
A trail north of Cascade Pass, North Cascades National Park, Washington, United States

In 1968, the United States created its National Trails System, which includes National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails. The most famous American long trails are The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. The Appalachian Trail is a marked hiking route in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain, Georgia and Mount Katahdin, Maine.[63] The trail is approximately 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long. The Pacific Crest Trail is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, which lie 100 to 150 miles (160 to 240 km) east of the US Pacific coast. The trail's southern terminus is on the US border with Mexico, and its northern terminus on the US–Canada border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia, Canada; its corridor through the US is in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. It is 2,663 mi (4,286 km) long.[64]

The rules and regulations for a trail are written and enforced by the land management agency in charge of the trail. A trail may be completely contained within one administration (e.g. a State Park) or it may pass through multiple administrations, leading to a confusing array of regulations, allowing dogs or mountain bikes in one segment but not in another, or requiring Wilderness Permits for a portion of the trail, but not everywhere.

In the United States agencies administering trails include the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, State Park systems, County Parks, cities, private organizations such as land trusts, businesses and individual property owners.

New trail construction by an agency must often be assessed for its environmental impact and conformance with State or Federal laws. For example, in California new trails must undergo reviews specified by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).[65]

Universal-access trails

All trails and shared use paths—indeed, any areas open to pedestrians—that are owned or operated by a public or private entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act are subject to federal regulations on Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (“OPDMDs”). These rules potentially greatly expand the types of vehicular devices that must be permitted on trails, shared use paths, other routes, and other areas open to the public. This publication discusses ways to manage access by these vehicles.

There are many types of non-motorized, land-based recreational trails and shared use paths: hiker and pedestrian trails, mountain biking trails, equestrian trails, and multi-use trails designed for several user types. The companion guide to this publication, the 2013 Pennsylvania Trail Design and Development Principles: Guidelines for Sustainable, Non-Motorized Trails (the “Pennsylvania Trail Design Manual”), provides a great deal of guidance and detailed information about the characteristics of the various types of trails and paths. Readers should use that publication as a primary resource to help evaluate which specific type of route they want to plan, design, construct, and manage for their site. The publication Universal Access Trails and Shared Use Paths: Design, Management, Ethical and Legal Considerations focuses on the accessibility aspects of the most commonly constructed types.[66]

The companion guide to this publication, the 2013 Pennsylvania Trail Design and Development Principles: Guidelines for Sustainable, Non-Motorized Trails (the “Pennsylvania Trail Design Manual”), provides a great deal of guidance and detailed information about the characteristics of the various types of trails and paths. Readers should use that publication as a primary resource to help evaluate which specific type of route they want to plan, design, construct, and manage for their site. This publication focuses on the accessibility aspects of the most commonly constructed types.[67]

Construction

Under the rumbling Steinsdalsfossen
A trail constructed under the waterfall Steinsdalsfossen, Norway

While most trails have arisen through common usage, the design and construction of good quality new paths is a complex process that requires certain skills.

When a trail passes across a flat area that is not wet, brush, tree limbs and undergrowth are removed to create a clear, walkable trail. A bridge is built when a stream or river is sufficiently deep to make it necessary. Other options are culverts, stepping stones, and shallow fords. For equestrian use, shallow fords may be preferred. In wet areas an elevated trailway with fill or a boardwalk is often used, though boardwalks require frequent maintenance and replacement, because boards in poor condition can become slippery and hazardous.

On slopes

Trail gradient are determined based on a site specific assessment of soils and geology, drainage patterns of the slope, surrounding vegetation types, position on the slope of a given trail segment (bottom, mid-slope, ridgeline), average precipitation, storm intensities, types of use, volume and intensity of use, and a host of other factors affecting the ability of the trail substrate to resist erosion and provide a navigable surface. Trails that ascend steep slopes may use switchbacks, but switchback design and construction is a specialized topic.

Trails accessible to off-road wheelchairs, have a grade no more than one in ten. Paved trail that are accessible to all wheelchairs, have a grade of be no more than one in twelve, with periodic level pull-offs.

On a well constructed trail the slope of the trail from side to side is never more than one in twelve, because side-sloped trails are prone to gullying. The ideal path is built almost, but not quite, level in cross-section.

To achieve a proper slope in hilly terrain a sidehill trail is excavated. This type of trailway is created with the establishing a line of suitable slope across a hillside, which is then dug out by means of a mattock or similar tool. This may be a full-bench trail, where the treadway is only on the firm ground surface after the overlying soil is removed and sidecast (thrown to the side as waste), or a half-bench trail, where soil is removed and packed to the side so that the treadway is half on firm old ground and half on new packed fill. In areas near drainages, creeks and other waterways, excavation spoils are taken away in bulk and deposited in an environmentally benign area. In problem areas trails are established entirely on fill. In such cases the soil is packed down firmly and the site is periodically checked to maintain the stability of the trail.

Mohonk Mountain House 2011 Hiking Trail against Guest Rooms 2 FRD 3281
Parts of many hiking trails at Mohonk Mountain House include stairway trails

Cycle trails built for commuting may be built to a different set of standards than pedestrian-only trails and, in some cases, may require a harder surface, fewer changes in grade and slope, increased sight visibility, and fewer sharp changes in direction. On the other hand, the cross-slope of a bicycle trail may be significantly greater than a foot trail, and the path may be narrower in some cases. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recommends different widths for different types of bicycle facilities.[68] For example, a shared use path has a recommended one directional width of 8 feet (2.44 m), while a bidirectional path should be significantly wider (10 to 12 feet or 3.05 to 3.66 metres) to accommodate bidirectional traffic and users. The US Department of Transportation provides additional guidance on recreational bicycle and pedestrian trail planning and design standards.[69]

A well designed recreational mountain bike path for the exclusive use of bicycles has an average grade of less than 10%, and generally follow a contour line, rather than straight downhill.

Drainage

Waterbar
A waterbar in New York's Catskill Mountains. The trail forks right; the drainage ditch is to the left.

Mountain bike trails slope out or across the trail 3-5% downhill to encourage water to run off the side, rather than down the trail bed.

Trail construction requires proper drainage. If trails have inadequate drainage, three issues may occur: First, water may accumulate on flat terrain to the point that the trail becomes unusable. Second, moving water can erode trails on slopes. Third, inadequate drainage may create local mud spots.

To remedy the first problem, water accumulation on flat terrain, raised walkways are often built. Raised walkways include turnpikes, causeways, embankments, stepping stones, and bridges (or deckwalks).[70] The earthen approaches are often done by cutting poles from the woods, staking parallel poles in place on the ground, then filling between them with whatever material is available to create the raised walkway. The more elaborate option of the deckwalk is by necessity reserved for shorter stretches in very high-traffic areas. Water accumulation is particularly common in the North Country of England.

The second problem, water erosion, is caused because trails, by their nature, tend to become drainage channels and eventually gullies when the drainage is poorly controlled. Where a trail is near the top of a hill or ridge, this is usually a minor issue, but when it is farther down it can become a very major issue.

In areas of heavy water flow along a trail, a ditch is often dug on the uphill side of the trail with drainage points across the trail. The cross-drainage is also accomplished by means of culverts, which are cleared on a semi-annual basis, or by means of cross-channels, often created by placing logs or timbers across the trail in a downhill direction, called "thank-you-marms", "deadmen", or waterbars. Timbers or rocks are also used for this purpose to creates erosion barriers. Rock paving in the bottom of these channels and in the trailside ditches are also sometimes used o maintain stability. The creation of water bars, with or without ditching, at major points of water flow on or along the trail, and in conjunction with existing drainage channels below the trail is also a technique that is applied. Another technique that has been adopted is the construction coweeta dips, or drain dips, points on the trail where it falls briefly (for a meter or so) and then rises again. These provide positive drainage points that are almost never clogged by debris.

Black Hill (Peak District)
Black Hill (Peak District), Cheshire, England, where a stone path was laid across boggy ground

The third type of problem can occur both on bottomlands and on ridgetops and a variety of other spots. A local spot or short stretch of the trail may be chronically wet. If the trail is not directly on rock, then a mud pit forms. Trail users go to the side of the trail to avoid the mud pit, and the trail becomes widened. A "corduroy" is a technique that is used when this area cannot be drained. This ranges from random sticks to split logs being laid across the path. Some of the early turnpikes in the United States were log corduroys, and these can still be found in third-world forested areas. With recreational trails, it is common the sticks that may be one to three inches thick and laid in place, close together. Sometimes, a short bridge is used.

Maintenance

Natural surface, single-track trails will require some ongoing maintenance. However, if the trail is properly designed and constructed, maintenance should be limited to clearing downed trees, trimming back brush and clearing drainages. Depending on location, if the trail is properly designed, there should be no need for major rework such as grading or erosion control efforts. However, mountain trails which see both significant rainfall and human traffic may require "trail hardening" efforts in order to prevent further erosion. Most of the seemingly natural rock steps on the mountain trails of the northeast United States are, in fact, the work of professional and volunteer trail crews.

Navigation

Trail blaze-symbols
The most common symbols used in trail blazing in the USA

For long-distance trails, or trails where there is any possibility of anyone taking a wrong turn, blazing or signage is provided (the term waymarking is used in Britain). This is accomplished by using either paint on natural surfaces or by placing pre-made medallions or sometimes cairns. Horseshoe-shaped blazes are frequently used for bridle trails. The Appalachian Trail is blazed with white rectangles, and blue is often used for side trails. European long distance walking paths are blazed with yellow points encircled with red. However, other walking paths in European countries are blazed in a variety of manners.

Where bike trails intersect with pedestrian or equestrian trails, signage at the intersections and high visibility onto the intersecting trails are needed in order to prevent collisions between fast-moving cyclists and slower moving hikers and horses. Bicycles and horses can share the same trails where the trail is wide enough with good visibility. The US Department of Transportation provides standards and guidelines for traffic control, including signage and striping, for bicycle facilities.[71]

Classification

BergAlpinWegweiser
Swiss signs: hiking trails in yellow,
mountain path in white-red-white,
Alpine Route in white-blue-white

A simple colored symbol to classify a trail's difficulty in the USA was first used for ski trails and is now being used for hiking, bicycle, other trails.[72][73]

  • Green circle - easy
  • Blue square - moderate
  • Black diamond - difficult

Other systems may be used in different locations.[74][75]

In Switzerland, paths are classified by three levels of difficulties: Hiking paths (yellow markers), mountain paths (white-red-white markers) and alpine paths (white-blue-white markers).

See also

References

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Andrew Cunanan

Andrew Phillip Cunanan (August 31, 1969 – July 23, 1997) was an American serial killer known to have murdered five people, including Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace and Chicago real estate developer Lee Miglin, during a three-month period in mid-1997. Cunanan's string of murders ended on July 23 of that year with his suicide by firearm.

In his final years, Cunanan lived in the greater San Diego area without a job. He befriended wealthy older men and spent their money. To impress acquaintances in the local gay community, he boasted about social events at clubs and often paid the check at restaurants.

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long, though the exact length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy describes the Appalachian Trail as the longest hiking-only trail in the world. More than 2 million people are said to take a hike on part of the trail at least once each year.The idea of the Appalachian Trail came about in 1921. The trail itself was completed in 1937 after more than a decade of work, although improvements and changes continue. It is maintained by 31 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, and managed by the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Most of the trail is in forest or wild lands, although some portions traverse towns, roads and farms. It passes through 14 states: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Thru-hikers attempt to hike the trail in its entirety in a single season. The number of thru-hikes per year has increased steadily, with 715 northbound and 133 southbound thru-hikes reported for 2017. Many books, documentaries, websites, and fan organizations are dedicated to the pursuit. Some hike from one end to the other, then turn around and thru-hike the trail the other way, known as a "yo-yo".An extension known as the International Appalachian Trail continues northeast, crossing Maine and cutting through Canada to Newfoundland, with sections continuing in Greenland, through Europe, and into Morocco. Other separate extensions continue the southern end of the Appalachian range in Alabama and continue south into Florida, creating what is known as the Eastern Continental Trail.

The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail form what is known as the Triple Crown of Hiking in the United States.

Chemtrail conspiracy theory

The chemtrail conspiracy theory is based on the erroneous belief that long-lasting condensation trails are "chemtrails" consisting of chemical or biological agents left in the sky by high-flying aircraft, sprayed for nefarious purposes undisclosed to the general public. Believers in this conspiracy theory say that while normal contrails dissipate relatively quickly, contrails that linger must contain additional substances. Those who subscribe to the theory speculate that the purpose of the chemical release may be solar radiation management, weather modification, psychological manipulation, human population control, or biological or chemical warfare and that the trails are causing respiratory illnesses and other health problems.The claim has been dismissed by the scientific community. There is no evidence that purported chemtrails differ from normal water-based contrails routinely left by high-flying aircraft under certain atmospheric conditions. Although proponents have tried to prove that chemical spraying occurs, their analyses have been flawed or based on misconceptions. Because of the persistence of the conspiracy theory and questions about government involvement, scientists and government agencies around the world have repeatedly explained that the supposed chemtrails are in fact normal contrails.The term chemtrail is a portmanteau of the words chemical and trail, just as contrail is a portmanteau of condensation and trail.

Continental Divide Trail

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (in short Continental Divide Trail (CDT)) is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Pass (near Triple Divide Peak which separates the Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages.) The trail is a combination of dedicated trails and small roads and considered 70% complete. Portions designated as uncompleted must be traveled by roadwalking on dirt or paved roads. This trail can be continued north into Canada to Kakwa Lake north of Jasper National Park by the Great Divide Trail.

The Continental Divide Trail, along with the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, form what thru-hiker enthusiasts have termed the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the United States.

Damian Lillard

Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard Sr. (born July 15, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Weber State Wildcats and earned third-team All-American honors in 2012. After being selected by Portland with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Lillard was unanimously voted the NBA Rookie of the Year. He has received four NBA All-Star selections and is one of four players in Trail Blazers franchise history to become a four-time All-Star.

Hiking

Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails (footpaths), in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word "walking" is acceptable to describe all forms of walking, whether it is a walk in the park or backpacking in the Alps. The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling (a slightly old-fashioned term), hillwalking, and fell walking (a term mostly used for hillwalking in northern England). The term bushwalking is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers club in 1927. In New Zealand a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping. It is a popular activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.

Meteoroid

A meteoroid () is a small rocky or metallic body in outer space.

Meteoroids are significantly smaller than asteroids, and range in size from small grains to one-meter-wide objects. Objects smaller than this are classified as micrometeoroids or space dust. Most are fragments from comets or asteroids, whereas others are collision impact debris ejected from bodies such as the Moon or Mars.When a meteoroid, comet, or asteroid enters Earth's atmosphere at a speed typically in excess of 20 km/s (72,000 km/h; 45,000 mph), aerodynamic heating of that object produces a streak of light, both from the glowing object and the trail of glowing particles that it leaves in its wake. This phenomenon is called a meteor or "shooting star". A series of many meteors appearing seconds or minutes apart and appearing to originate from the same fixed point in the sky is called a meteor shower. If that object withstands ablation from its passage through the atmosphere as a meteor and impacts with the ground, it is then called a meteorite.

An estimated 25 million meteoroids, micrometeoroids and other space debris enter Earth's atmosphere each day, which results in an estimated 15,000 tonnes of that material entering the atmosphere each year.

Mychal Thompson

Mychal George Thompson (born January 30, 1955) is a Bahamian-American former basketball player. The No. 1 overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft, Thompson played the power forward and center positions for the University of Minnesota and the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson won two NBA championships with the Lakers during their Showtime era in the 1980s. He is the father of basketball players Klay Thompson and Mychel Thompson, and baseball player Trayce Thompson.

National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.

As of 2018, the NPS employs approximately 27,000 employees who oversee 419 units, of which 61 are designated national parks.

National Trails System

The National Trails System was created by the National Trails System Act (Pub.L. 90–543, 82 Stat. 919, enacted October 2, 1968), codified at 16 U.S.C. § 1241 et seq.

The Act created a series of National trails "to promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the Nation." Specifically, the Act authorized three types of trails: the National Scenic Trails, National Recreation Trails and connecting-and-side trails. The 1968 Act also created two national scenic trails: the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest; and requested that an additional fourteen trail routes be studied for possible inclusion.

In 1978, as a result of the study of trails that were most significant for their historic associations, a fourth category of trail was added: the National Historic Trails. Since 1968, over forty trail routes have been studied for inclusion in the system. Of these studied trails, twenty-one have been established as part of the system. Today, the National Trails System consists of 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails and over 1,000 National Recreation Trail and two connecting-and-side trails, with a total length of more than 50,000 miles (80,000 km). These National Trails are more than just for hiking, many are also open for horseback riding, mountain biking, camping and/or scenic driving.

As Congressionally established long-distance trails, each one is administered by a federal agency, either the Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, or National Park Service. Two of the trails are jointly administered by the BLM and the NPS. Occasionally, these agencies acquire lands to protect key sites, resources and viewsheds. More often than not, they work in partnership with the states, local units of government, land trusts and private landowners, to protect lands and structures along these trails, enabling them to be accessible to the public. National Recreation Trails and connecting-and-side trails do not require Congressional action, but are recognized by actions of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture. All of the National Trails are supported by private non-profit organizations that work with the various federal agencies under the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS).

The Act is codified as 16 U.S.C. §§ 1241–1251. However, it has been amended numerous times since its passage, most recently on October 18, 2004 (Pub.L. 108–342).

North Country Trail

The North Country National Scenic Trail, generally known as the North Country Trail or simply the N.C.T., is a footpath stretching approximately 4,600 miles (7,400 km) from Crown Point in eastern New York to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota in the United States. Passing through the seven states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, it is the longest of the eleven National Scenic Trails authorized by Congress. As of early 2019, 3,129 miles (5,036 km) of the trail is in place.The NCT is administered by the National Park Service, managed by federal, state, and local agencies, and built and maintained primarily by the volunteers of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) and its partners. The 28 chapters of the NCTA, its 3,200+ members and each affiliate organization have assumed responsibility for trail construction and maintenance of a specific section of the NCT.

Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail is a 2,170-mile (3,490 km) historic East–West, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas, and nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Idaho and Oregon.

The Oregon Trail was laid by fur traders and trappers from about 1811 to 1840, and was only passable on foot or by horseback. By 1836, when the first migrant wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Wagon trails were cleared increasingly farther west, and eventually reached all the way to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, at which point what came to be called the Oregon Trail was complete, even as almost annual improvements were made in the form of bridges, cutoffs, ferries, and roads, which made the trip faster and safer. From various starting points in Iowa, Missouri, or Nebraska Territory, the routes converged along the lower Platte River Valley near Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory and led to rich farmlands west of the Rocky Mountains.

From the early to mid-1830s (and particularly through the years 1846–69) the Oregon Trail and its many offshoots were used by about 400,000 settlers, farmers, miners, ranchers, and business owners and their families. The eastern half of the trail was also used by travelers on the California Trail (from 1843), Mormon Trail (from 1847), and Bozeman Trail (from 1863), before turning off to their separate destinations. Use of the trail declined as the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, making the trip west substantially faster, cheaper, and safer. Today, modern highways, such as Interstate 80 and Interstate 84, follow parts of the same course westward and pass through towns originally established to serve those using the Oregon Trail.

Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail, officially designated as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, which lie 100 to 150 miles (160 to 240 km) east of the U.S. Pacific coast. The trail's southern terminus is on the U.S. border with Mexico, just south of Campo, California, and its northern terminus on the Canada–US border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia; its corridor through the U.S. is in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.

The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,653 mi (4,270 km) long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon–Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks. Its midpoint is near Chester, California (near Mt. Lassen), where the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges meet.It was designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968, although it was not officially completed until 1993. The PCT was conceived by Clinton Churchill Clarke in 1932. It received official status under the National Trails System Act of 1968.

It is the westernmost and second longest component of the Triple Crown of Hiking and is part of the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop.

Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. The Trail Blazers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division. The team played its home games in the Memorial Coliseum before moving to Moda Center in 1995 (called the Rose Garden until 2013). The franchise entered the league as an expansion team in 1970, and has enjoyed a strong following: from 1977 through 1995, the team sold out 814 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in American major professional sports at the time, and only since surpassed by the Boston Red Sox. The Trail Blazers are the only NBA team based in the bi-national Pacific Northwest, after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis and became the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001 and the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.

The team has advanced to the NBA Finals three times, winning the NBA championship once in 1977. Their other NBA Finals appearances were in 1990 and 1992. The team has qualified for the playoffs in 34 seasons of their 48-season existence, including a streak of 21 straight appearances from 1983 through 2003, tied for the second longest streak in NBA history. The Trail Blazers' 34 playoff appearances rank third in the NBA only behind the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs since the team's inception in 1970. Six Hall of Fame players have played for the Trail Blazers (Lenny Wilkens, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Dražen Petrović, Arvydas Sabonis, and Scottie Pippen). Bill Walton is the franchise's most decorated player; he was the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 1977, and the regular season MVP the following year. Four Blazer rookies (Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks, Brandon Roy and Damian Lillard) have won the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Three players have earned the Most Improved Player award: Kevin Duckworth (1988), Zach Randolph (2004), and CJ McCollum (2016). Two Hall of Fame coaches, Lenny Wilkens and Jack Ramsay, have patrolled the sidelines for the Blazers, and two others, Mike Schuler and Mike Dunleavy, have won the NBA Coach of the Year Award with the team.

Rail trail

A rail trail is the conversion of a disused railway track into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding and snowmobiling. The characteristics of abandoned railways—flat, long, frequently running through historical areas—are appealing for various developments. The term sometimes also covers trails running alongside working railways; these are called "rails with trails". Some shared trails are segregated, with the segregation achieved with or without separation. Many rail trails are long-distance trails.

A rail trail may still include rails, such as light rail or streetcar. By virtue of their characteristic shape (long and flat), some shorter rail trails are known as greenways and linear parks.

Santa Fe Trail

The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pioneered in 1821 by William Becknell, who departed from the Boonslick region along the Missouri River, the trail served as a vital commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. Santa Fe was near the end of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, which carried trade from Mexico City.

The route skirted the northern edge and crossed the north-western corner of Comancheria, the territory of the Comanches, who demanded compensation for granting passage to the trail, and represented another market for American traders. Comanche raiding farther south in Mexico isolated New Mexico, making it more dependent on the American trade, and provided the Comanches with a steady supply of horses for sale. By the 1840s, trail traffic along the Arkansas Valley was so heavy that bison herds could not reach important seasonal grazing land, contributing to their collapse, which in turn hastened the decline of Comanche power in the region.The American army used the trail route in 1846 for the invasion of New Mexico during the Mexican–American War.After the U.S. acquisition of the Southwest ending the war, the trail helped open the region to U.S. economic development and settlement, playing a vital role in the expansion of the U.S. into the lands it had acquired. The road route is commemorated today by the National Park Service as the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. A highway route that roughly follows the trail's path through the entire length of Kansas, the southeast corner of Colorado and northern New Mexico has been designated as the Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway.

Selma to Montgomery marches

The Selma to Montgomery marches were three protest marches, held in 1965, along the 54-mile (87 km) highway from Selma, Alabama to the state capital of Montgomery. The marches were organized by nonviolent activists to demonstrate the desire of African-American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression, and were part of a broader voting rights movement underway in Selma and throughout the American South. By highlighting racial injustice, they contributed to passage that year of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal achievement of the Civil Rights Movement.

Southern state legislatures had passed and maintained a series of discriminatory requirements and practices that had disenfranchised most of the millions of African Americans across the South throughout the 20th century. The African-American group known as the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) launched a voter registration campaign in Selma in 1963. Joined by organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), they began working that year in a renewed effort to register black voters.

Finding resistance by white officials to be intractable, even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended legal segregation, the DCVL invited Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the activists of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to join them. SCLC brought many prominent civil rights and civic leaders to Selma in January 1965. Local and regional protests began, with 3,000 people arrested by the end of February. According to Joseph A. Califano Jr., who served as head of domestic affairs for U.S. President Lyndon Johnson between the years 1965 and 1969, the President viewed King as an essential partner in getting the Voting Rights Act enacted. Califano, whom the President also assigned to monitor the final march to Montgomery, said that Johnson and King talked by telephone on January 15 to plan a strategy for drawing attention to the injustice of using literacy tests and other barriers to stop black Southerners from voting, and that King later informed the President on February 9 of his decision to use Selma to achieve this objective.On February 26, 1965, activist and deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson died after being mortally shot several days earlier by state trooper James Bonard Fowler, during a peaceful march in nearby Marion, Alabama. To defuse and refocus the community's outrage, SCLC Director of Direct Action James Bevel, who was directing SCLC's Selma voting rights movement, called for a march of dramatic length, from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery. Bevel had been working on his Alabama Project for voting rights since late 1963.

The first march took place on March 7, 1965, organized locally by Bevel, Amelia Boynton, and others. State troopers and county possemen attacked the unarmed marchers with billy clubs and tear gas after they passed over the county line, and the event became known as Bloody Sunday. Law enforcement beat Boynton unconscious, and the media publicized worldwide a picture of her lying wounded on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.The second march took place March 9. Troopers, police, and marchers confronted each other at the county end of the bridge, but when the troopers stepped aside to let them pass, King led the marchers back to the church. He was obeying a federal injunction while seeking protection from federal court for the march. That night, a white group beat and murdered civil rights activist James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston, who had come to Selma to march with the second group. Many other clergy and sympathizers from across the country also gathered for the second march.

The violence of "Bloody Sunday" and Reeb's murder resulted in a national outcry and some acts of civil disobedience, targeting both the Alabama and federal governments. The protesters demanded protection for the Selma marchers and a new federal voting rights law to enable African Americans to register and vote without harassment. President Lyndon Johnson, whose administration had been working on a voting rights law, held a historic, nationally televised joint session of Congress on March 15 to ask for the bill's introduction and passage.

With Governor Wallace refusing to protect the marchers, President Johnson committed to do so. The third march started March 21. Protected by 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals, the marchers averaged 10 miles (16 km) a day along U.S. Route 80, known in Alabama as the "Jefferson Davis Highway". The marchers arrived in Montgomery on March 24 and at the Alabama State Capitol on March 25. With thousands having joined the campaign, 25,000 people entered the capital city that day in support of voting rights.

The route is memorialized as the "Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail", and is designated as a U.S. National Historic Trail. The Voting Rights Act became law on August 6, 1965.

Trail braking

Trail braking is a driving and motorcycle riding technique where the brakes are used beyond the entrance to a turn, and then gradually released up to, or before, the apex of the turn.

Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of Native Americans in the United States from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States, to areas to the west (usually west of the Mississippi River) that had been designated as Indian Territory. The forced relocations were carried out by government authorities following the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The relocated peoples suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their new designated reserve, and many died before reaching their destinations. The forced removals included members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, as well as their African slaves. The phrase "Trail of Tears" originates from a description of the removal of many Native American tribes, including the infamous Cherokee Nation relocation in 1838.Between 1830 and 1850, the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, and Cherokee people (including mixed-race and black slaves who lived among them) were forcibly removed from their traditional lands in the Southeastern United States, and relocated farther west. Those Native Americans who were relocated were forced to march to their destinations by state and local militias. The Cherokee removal in 1838 (the last forced removal east of the Mississippi) was brought on by the discovery of gold near Dahlonega, Georgia in 1828, resulting in the Georgia Gold Rush. Approximately 2,000–8,000 of the 16,543 relocated Cherokee perished along the way.

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