Trails: Building Access and Communities


No matter your activity level, there are always trails to suit your needs, whether it’s a leisurely walk on a paved trail or completing the 1,400+ mile Buckeye Trail.

Maybe you hop on a road bike to commute to work or grab a full suspension mountain bike for some rocky climbs and descents through the forest — it’s all here.

Ohio trails are as diverse as they come, promoting many uses including hiking, biking, equestrian use, paddling and many other forms of travel.

And this is a very important year for trails: 2018 has been declared Ohio’s “Year of the Trails.” The Ohio Legislative Trails Caucus was formed in 2017 to focus on maintaining and planning future trail networks that will connect people with a means of active transportation and outdoor recreation.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has a growing webpage dedicated to trails and trail events throughout the state. Existing trails are being added to an interactive map with short descriptors which you can check out to plan your next adventure.

This is exciting news for something that, in my view, is one of the best ways for people to experience the outdoors at their own pace.

One of the most important factors is that many trails are being designed that can accommodate users with disabilities. This allows for a wider range of the public to connect with the outdoors, where there may not have been adequate access otherwise.

Wheelchair accessible – Shaker Trace Trail at Miami Whitewater Forest in Harrison, Ohio

Trails serve multiple purposes: some people are looking for a cheaper way to commute to work which may entail biking or walking; others may just be looking for a way to disconnect from the never-ending matrix of the internet, television, emails and cell phones. Either way, any time we are able to spend time outdoors helps us relax and unwind. Access to trails provides people with the opportunity to increase their physical activity which may lead to improved mental health as well.

Ohioans are fortunate to live in an area where trails have been given a high value. Trails have the ability to connect people to destinations, nature and each other. Remember to appreciate the access we have across the state by getting out to experience some trails.

Bryan Howell

Trails Specialist