Chuck Flink of Greenways Incorporated recounts the history of the national trails movement from the early twentieth century to the early twenty-first.


The Present

Part 2 of 3

Chuck Flink of Greenways Incorporated reviews the current state of regional trail systems around the U.S.


The Future

Part 3 of 3

Chuck Flink of Greenways Incorporated looks ahead to the future of trails in America.




Bay Area Ridge Trail

San Francisco, CA

Since the late 1980s, the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council has been working toward its vision of a continuous, 550-mile trail route along the ridgelines overlooking San Francisco Bay. Today, 375 miles are open and ready to explore 80% of which is open to bikes and horses. Bit-by-bit continuous sections are being knit together to provide true thru-hike (or bike, or ride!) opportunities. 


Carolina Thread Trail

Charlotte, NC

The Carolina Thread Trail is a regional network of trails that connect 2.9 million people in 15 counties in North and South Carolina. The Thread Trail is an unprecedented regional collaboration that works to connect people and communities to nature and each other through its 1,610 miles of trails, greenways and blueways.


Delaware & Lehigh Trail


The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L) is both a diverse, multi-faceted organization, and a multi-use trail spanning 165 miles from the mountains of northeast Pennsylvania through the Lehigh Valley and Bucks County.


East Coast Greenway


Imagine a place where bicyclists, walkers, runners, inline skaters, horseback riders, wheelchair users, cross-country skiers and more — of all ages and abilities — feel safe, for commuting and recreation. The dream of a 3,000-mile protected biking and walking route represents a commitment to public health, environmental sustainability, economic development, and civic engagement. Together, we are connecting people to nature and communities via a safe, accessible Greenway.


Great Rivers Greenway

st louis, missouri 

Great Rivers Greenway is the public agency connecting the St. Louis region with greenways. In 2000, a vote of the people created a sales tax to leave a legacy for future generations by investing in and connecting together some of our region’s best assets – rivers & parks. We serve the 2 million people throughout our 1,200 square mile district of St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. There are 45 greenways identified in the overall “River Ring” plan. 


Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition

Pennsylvania - ohio - West Virginia - New York

The Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition is collaborating to complete and connect a system of 1,500+ miles of shared use trails across Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia.


Niagara River Greenway

New York

Our Mission:  To restore the ecological health of the Niagara River and enhance public access for all, while enhancing the development of world-renowned scenic, natural, historic, cultural and recreational resources of the Niagara River Corridor.  Advance the State’s commitment to comprehensive regional planning with continued emphasis on economic development, working collaboratively with our municipal partners, and community stakeholders.


Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition


The Ohio & Erie Canalway is a National Heritage Area designated by Congress in 1996 to help preserve and celebrate the rails, trails, landscapes, towns and sites that grew up along the first 110 miles of the canal that helped America and our nation grow. Annually, more than 2.5 million Americans find their way to the iconic 87-mile Towpath Trail running through the heart of the Canalway.




Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.