Chapter Organizations - Mile Zero Trail Association

MZTA - Mile Zero Trail Association


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The path is made in the walking of it.

-- Zhuangzi

(Found in "On Trails" by Robert Moor)

Chapter Organizations

Chapter Organizations are the Link Trail pathfinders and so much more. A trail is not just a path for travel; it is a sequence of communities. In the case of the Link Trail, it is a variety of many interesting, historic, diverse and fun places - some of the best in the United States. They offer many recreational possibilities, along with great cultural and educational experiences. And let's not overlook the fact that most of these places have a great deal to offer - the excitement travelers seek and the unique experiences they find on the trail - but many of the communities need renewed enthusiasm, greater appreciation and additional support.

The following gallery of pictures looks at the tasks and responsibilities of Mile Zero Trail Association chapters. Even more than that, it explores the amazing array of possibilities that can be considered and achieved in local communities, where ideas, activity and success on the local level will ultimately form the Link Trail. Chapter Organizations are a network. Their connections form a trail for adventure-seekers and leisure travelers; not a government-planned expressway.

A community doesn't have to wonder what it can do to link the Appalachian Trail with the Continental Divide Trail. In fact, it's likely that no community has ever asked that question. That's the kind of thing adventure travelers, touring cyclists, long-distance runners and thru-hikers want to know.

A Chapter Organization only needs to link itself with neighboring communities for travelers and local citizens alike (to think of safety and logistics, consider solutions and work-arounds, and examine improvements that might be possible in the future), and to identify, promote and bulid on the attractions and assets the communities have to offer. And dream big.

Learn more about Chapter Organizations.

Volunteer to Establish a Chapter Organization

Finding the Route

Mountain Highway

A scenic highway into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains may be considered for part of the auto and bike tour routes, while trails in the Carson National Forest may best serve hikers' interests.

Hiking Route

Some chapter members will need to be experienced on regional walking trails, and and to understand hikers' special needs and concerns, like safety and access to water. In some communities it will be necessary to consider backroads and development of secondary roadway right-of-way routes that may serve walkers, as well as bicycle and wheelchair riders.

Trail Community Signs

Communities that offer a wide variety of services for adventurous people, like these in Medicine Park, Oklahoma, make great trail towns.

Public Trail Map

Local communities have first-hand experience and access to the best information about trails, recreation opportunities and services.

Trail Direction Signs

Planning and determining the best way to incorporate exciting routes and accessible services (camping, lodging, supplies, education, entertainment, etc.) into the Link Trail is a primary responsibility of local chapters.

Capulin Volcano

Utilizing the most interesting features, like the Capulin Volcano (above), and traversing challenging terrain, like the Rio Grande Gorge (pictured below), the Mississippi River and others (particularly considering the safety of walkers and bikers), is critical.

Rio Grande Gorge


Local and Community Activities

Medicine Park Festivals

Local festivals and gatherings make great attractions in trail communities, especially when they present a diversity of interests, like these advertised (above and below) in Medicine Park.

Festival Advertisements

Diverse interests are a particular strength of communities across the American Heartland.

Holi Participant

A fun and exciting event, Holi, the festival of colors, is a traditional Indian celebration that can be found in many larger cities on and near the trail route, gaining support from increasingly diverse participants.

Festival of Colors

Holi has inspired a variety of new events, including charitable runs, that center around celebrations of colors.

Music Lecture

Presentations by culture enthusiasts and history experts, like Roger Wood, an author who has published books on traditional forms of Texas music (seen above interviewing Blues musician Milton Hopkins), will build interests for locals and visitors.

Music History

Cities like New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville are proof that music is a favorite pursuit and pastime of many American and international travelers alike. Music traditions, like the popular Celtic band the Killdares performing at the Texas State Fair (below), are a part of many communities' identities.

Live Music


History - Markers, Museums and More

Shamrock History

Many travelers are intereted in the origins of communities, like Shamrock, Texas, and the popular culture events they have inspired.

Texas Historic Marker

Serious historians are interested to know the places where peoples lived and survived, like the site of springs in Tarrant County that supported indigenous communities and attracted early Texas immigrants.

Hot Springs Plaque

Communities on the trail, like Hot Springs and Medicine Park, have fascinating histories as health retreats and vacation destinations, attracting many celebrities and historic figures. Museums and displays (below) help interpret many of our own diverse histories as migrants in places across the span of the trail.

Historic Railroad Exhibit


Cultural and Religious Traditions

Danza Procession

Centuries-old traditional New Mexican music and dance, as well as Mexican traditional Danza Aztec (pictured above and below) represent the diversity of many religious and cultural traditions found along the span of the Link Trail across the southern United States.

Danza Musician

Music from dozens of traditions is a major attraction on the modern trail, largely due to the network of unique and iconic intersecting routes that were utilized throughout history, including the Camino Real, Ancient Puebloan trade routes, Chisholm Trail, Mississippi River, Natchez Trace, Georgia Road, and many more.

Chimayo Worshipper

The two-centuries-old Pilgrimmage to Chimayo, an annual religious trek from surrounding communities (many on and connected to the Link Trail) to the Santuario de Chimayo (above) is made by pilgrims (below) for a variety of historic hardships and modern strife.

Chimayo Pilgrim


Food, Markets and Gardens

Fresh Peaches
Photo by student camp participant.

Chapter Organizations may help travelers know where peaches and other fresh fruit are available along the Link Trail, and may even help facilitate local Farmers Markets.

Home-grown Onions

Vegetables raised in local farms and community gardens may be beneficial to trail users and local community members in need. A Chapter Organization might plan a cooking demonstration as a fundraiser, or organize a tasting at a local winery or craft brewery for member outreach, as well as local business promotion.

Houston Urban Garden

Urban gardens pictured above (Houston) and below (New Orleans) offer different services for their communities, providing interesting possible examples for trail communities.

NOLA Urban Garden


Nature and Wildlife

Antique Roses

Whether manicured antique roses and cultivated gardens (above) or natural environments (below), travelers are interested in the landscape and nature settings that can be experienced in communities acoss the span of the Link Trail.

Natural Setting

Chapter Organizations may help visitors know what kinds of native plants and wildlife can be seen along the trail.

Prairie Dog

Prairie Dogs (above), seen across the Great Plains, and Bighorn Sheep (below), found in the high elevations of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, are two of the many species of wild animals that inhabit the diverse trail environments.

Bighorn Sheep


Hospitality and Services

Nostalgic Motel

Whether on the main route or while making a short detour traveling to and from the trail, people are interested to know where great local experiences, like this nostalgic Route 66 motel, can be found.

Historic Market

This revitalized market in New Orleans offers an excellent example of the kinds of local attractions that may develop on the Link Trail as Chapter Organizations successfully inspire new culture and adventure seekers to visit towns and cities along the trail.

Outdoor Restaurant

Leisure dining and informal gathering spaces, like the Axelrad Beer Garden in Houston, are a primary interest for travelers and a major benefit to local communities.

Market Vendors

"Pop-up Markets" and vendor opportunities are a fun and beneficial activity that Chapter Organizations may help facilitate.

Food Coop

The New Orleans Food Coop (pictured above and below) is an example of how beneficial community organizations and visitor attractions may work hand-in-hand on the Link Trail, as it anchors the versatile New Orleans Healing Center.

Healing Center


Camps and Youth Camp Adventures

Student in Kiva Exhibit
Photo by student camp participant.

Students gain tremendous benefits during camp, including hands-on experience and interpretive ability, while visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Taos Pueblo, Chaco Culture National National Historical Park and Mesa Verde National Park.

Camp Student Hiker
Photo by student camp participant.

Camp students experience adventurous, inspiring learning environments that include productive activity and develop lifelong interests, like hiking and traveling.

Cultural Interpretive Exhibit

An interpretive exhibit educates about indigenous peoples' past architecture and lifeways (above), and ladders take camp students to a historic Mesa Verde cliff dwelling (below).

Mesa Verde

With the wide array of visitor interests and amenities, along with educational and historic resources, found along the proposed corridor of the Link Trail (See a preliminary assessment), it offers almost unlimited opportunities for adventure travelers and tourists, in addition to the main reasons for traveling the trail - to experience the land and people by car, bus, bike, on foot, or even by horse or future autonomous (self-driving) vehicle. View more Cultural Interests found on and near on the Link Trail.

More image galleries and updates will be provided. Stay tuned!

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