1969 is often remembered for the year Richard Nixon took office as president, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and Woodstock, the mother of all music festivals.
For hikers, it was the year Trails Days began.
By some hikers’ reckoning, Trails Days, at least how we think of them now, began in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. Skyline to the Sea Trail, a gem of a 35-mile footpath that travels across redwood-forested slopes and through fern-filled canyons to the great blue Pacific, needed some maintenance and, as it turned out, this gem of a trail had many friends.
During one weekend in 1969, dedicated members of the Sempervirens Fund and the Santa Cruz Trails Association turned out more than 2,000 volunteers to dig, clear, prune and otherwise improve the path. Area volunteers put together an annual Trails Day that became a model for trails organization through the state and planted the seed for a National Trails Day.
The American Hiking Society sponsors and promotes National Trails Day, an annual celebration held each June with some 2,000 events across the U.S. to encourage hikers and newcomers to appreciate, preserve and maintain their local trails.