Saturday, June 6th is National Trails Day, dedicated to the enjoyment of and access to public lands. Trails provide space to think and restore health. They give us freedom without questions. Historically, they symbolize the first steps towards something new.
When we think about traditional trails, many of us dream of the John Muir, Appalachian or Kalalau Trails. These are profound places. Yet today, we’re grateful that America also has National Historic Trails. Historic Trails follow routes of migration and civil change to re-trace past events.
The Historic Trails we’re thinking about today are the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail from the American South to Oklahoma.
The Selma to Montgomery Trail follows the 54-mile march led by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1965 to fight for African-American voting rights. It appeared in the award-winning 2014 film Selma.
The Trail of Tears remembers and commemorates Cherokee Native Americans forcefully removed from their homelands in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, then marched to Oklahoma.
Trails invite reflection. Trails put history in context. Their beauty isn’t just nature. They remind us where we came from, no matter how painful. And they tell us where we must go.
We hope you make time to enjoy outdoor space and reflect on justice this weekend.