THE BLOG
07/07/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

GoCause at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: How Two-Wheelers Will Save Our Planet

In mid-April, GoCause had an adventure down in our nation's capital, hitting the trails quite literally with the staff of a wonderful non-profit transportation recycling project, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. For a quarter of a century, RTC has been encouraging people to stay fit, go green and enjoy their commutes by converting old, industrialized rail lines into bicycle and jogging paths.

The thing that struck me most about this organization -- other than the general good spirit and comedic skills of their entire office -- was how accessible they've made their issues. The trails RTC builds are legitimately eco-friendly, and they encourage all sorts of folks to hit the ground running or biking; these trails, based all over the country, are a supremely green way to stay fit. Because it speaks to so many causes -- the environment, urban renewal, exercise -- I was a little overwhelmed at first. You know how something might be a little too helpful...?

I'm kidding, of course. The bottom line is that by building these trails where rails used to be, RTC has transformed industrial waste into something useful, beautiful and organic. The trails have also provided job growth over the years as more and more communities open stores alongside these long, green paths, attracting cyclists to shop from all over. As if economic stimulation, fitness and environmental preservation weren't enough to make RTC something you might want to check out, the organization is also aiming to reach a 2020 goal that, as I see it, has the power to revolutionize American travel. They want to ensure that there are enough trails built in the next decade to allow for any American to be within three miles (that's roughly a fifteen-minute bike ride) of a given trail, rendering our country a whole heck of a lot greener and healthier.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has long been a beacon of environmental hope, but it is their future plans that most excite me. Take a look at the cool stuff GoCause got to do with them when he took a little trip down there a few weeks back in the video below, and don't forget to check out railstotrails.org for yourselves. They're an incredibly innovative organization, and if you, dear reader, are still fit and living on a green planet in ten years, well...now you know who to thank for that.

GoCause to Trails from Matthew Hooper on Vimeo.