This first Saturday of June was National Trails Day, a day dedicated to enjoying and preserving trails throughout local and national parks. Thousands of hikers, bikers, rowers, horseback riders, trail clubs, federal and local agencies, land trusts, and businesses come together on National Trails Day to advocate for, maintain, and clean up public lands and trails. June is also Great Outdoors Month, a month to encourage nature enthusiasts of all kinds to get outdoors and enjoying our natural resources as much as possible.
This summer, BETA continues to advocate for the development of accessible trails and parks throughout New England. BETA believes that, in addition to the importance of meeting ADA regulations, greater access to nature can support healthy aging, physical rehabilitation, and important physical activity for children. That is why we believe it is important for local municipalities to take advantage of the Recreation Trails Grant Program funded by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. The goal of the program is to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities throughout the country. The amount of funds available to a municipality depends on each state’s regulating body. For example, in Rhode Island the program is administered by the Department of Environmental Management in cooperation with the RI Department of Transportation, while in Massachusetts, MassTrails provides grants to support recreational trail and shared use pathway projects.
New England has countless trails, waterways, and parks, and June offers some of our region’s best weather. Be it hiking, biking, running, walking, or kayaking, there are countless ways to enjoy beautiful New England. We encourage you to appreciate the great outdoors this month, and municipalities to take advantage of funding to upgrade and expand their trails and greenways including many of the parks and trails BETA has helped to improve.