Scenic Trails Research


Though Congress created the National Trails System way back in 1968, the so-called "system" has never been a cohesive entity. Its long distance trails have traditionally lacked any sense of continuity or shared national vision. This has begun to change in the last few years as long distance hikers have increasingly seen the three most famous trails as part of a "Triple Crown" of walking achievement. But something much more substantial could be done to transform today’s "system" into a more powerful resource for the future. The establishment of a transcontinental Sea-To-Sea Trail would link the best known long trails and transform the "system" into something that would be grander than the sum of its parts.  [The American "National Trails System" currently includes 11 "national scenic trails" (i.e., congressionally-designated, long distance pathways).]


We wish Scenic Trails Research to become a major source of seed money for development of new long distance trails. Opportunities for urban recreational walking and pedestrian commuting should be enhanced in every state and province. North America’s burgeoning population already faces a growing trails deficit.  What's worse, in the United States a third to perhaps a half of the population is defined as obese; walking is a crucial component of any health recovery plan.  We believe that significant trail resources should be available to the vast majority of Americans and Canadians within a 3-hour drive of home or less.

Mission Statement

1. To help to develop new long distance hiking resources, especially the 7700-mile Sea-to-Sea Route. The transcontinental Sea-to-Sea Route will link existing long distance trails from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. And it will transform the National Trails System into a conservation/recreation resource grander than the sum of its parts.

2. To create planners, guidebooks, and videos about the Sea-To-Sea Route and the Pacific Northwest Trail with emphasis during the next few years on creating a new guidebook for the latter.

3.To serve as a conduit for support to North America’s long distance trails.

Your contribution to Scenic Trails Research would be greatly appreciated (click here for contact information). All contributions are tax-deductible. Scenic Trails research is a project of the Spokane, WA non-profit, Adventure Trail.