Charter Members - Mile Zero Trail Association

MZTA - Mile Zero Trail Association

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Invitation: Join 20 Charter Members to establish a visionary recreation, culture and education organization.

Would you have had the vision to start the American Canoe Association in 1880, the National Geographic Society in 1888, the Camping and Caravanning Club in 1901, the National Park-to-Park Highway Association in 1916, or the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in 1925?

Many innovative and influential organizations were founded more than a century ago. Inspired by equally visionary institutions, like the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian, the new adventure, conservation and education organizations debuted at the dawn of the century of car culture. They worked to inspire ordinary people to discover the natural and cultural world, and to access awe-inspiring places like the national parks and wilderness areas by many different modes of transportation - on foot, horses, bikes, watercraft, motor vehicles, and more - usually with a mission focused on preservation of the rare and beautiful, and survival of the endangered.

A new century of unlimited technological possibilities, combined with changing human health and social needs, will greatly alter the way modern people understand commuting and sedentary work, as well as the human role in the increasingly mechanized and automated workplace. Travel will be vastly different than it was decades ago. Rather than "getting away from it all" - the buzz of media, the gloom of incessant routines, and the stress of work or school) - for many, its primary purpose may be to escape stagnant workplaces and unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles. Or to focus on an important goal and think more clearly. In addition to physical and mental health, travel and opportunities to explore interesting environments will be imperative for inspiration, education, and competency in natural and social sciences.

Electric and autonomous vehicles may share roads and highways, or possibly dominate segregated travelways. More people will likely work remotely, while many may also work fewer hours or shorter seasons. Some may have longer vacations or transient down time. Larger numbers of people may seek to utilize their human power - trekking, running, cycling, climbing - for their own enjoyment and benefit. For many groups, great emphasis will be placed on conserving aspects of past ways of life and cultural identities. Preservation of traditional arts and creativity, and even presentation of new and innovative concepts, will also be a challenge for many people. Small and independent businesses will struggle to find avenues of promotion and support in a competitive mass marketplace.

Organizations will have an increasingly important role in steering through numerous inevitable social and lifestyle changes brought on by changing industries and technologies in the future.

Just as pioneering organizations were critical at the dawn of the century of car culture, they are equally as exciting at the turning point of many new communication and computing technologies (GPS, AI, DNA, and others), and possibly more needed than before on the cusp of an uncertain future. Without utilizing new potential for the positive benefit of humans and humanity, the capacity will default to lost potential to the detriment of the general population.

As we develop a recreation trail (along with other projects) with modern/coming realities of technology and occupations in mind, and simultaneously build an organization (made of many local, connected chapters) with an astute understanding of culture and education in quality of life, Mile Zero Trail Association (MZTA) is preparing to serve many productive public interests and social needs in the future.

The unique mission to establish trails, explore cultural interests and promote education to connect prominent trails (the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide and numerous historic trails) and link communities (physically and contextually) calls for an organization that is not focused on a single place or set inside a local boundary, but rather one that will reach across natural and artificial borders, and be a tremendous asset to many communities and travelers.

The model for the new organization could viewed as a composite of the programs, services and missions of several excellent and effective organizations (modern and historic), including groups as diverse as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Arbor Day Foundation, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Levitt Foundation, Oklahoma Historical Society, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian. MZTA organizers plan to draw from interaction with some of these prominent organizations, as well as experience with historic Texas-based centers and programs, including Camp Dos Cabezas, Houston Cool, Youth Voices, Carnival Connection, Houston International Festival, The Artery, college and community radio, and many more.

Above photo: A spectacular sunset over the surrounding plains and mountain ranges was captured by a student during Camp Dos Cabezas.


The organization, Mile Zero Trail Association (MZTA), will form and grow in much the same way as most purposeful non-profit organizations, through involving and gaining members and supporters. As with most, the process starts with its first members. For MZTA, they are Charter Members. They will help establish the organization as a non-profit corporation and Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) recognized 501(c)(3) educational and charitable organization, as well as help take the first steps to promote the organization to further interest Inaugural Members (first year members), and later General Members (second year and after).

About 20 Charter Members are needed to help the organization incorporate and file its paperwork with the I.R.S.

Why 20? It is not a definite or strict number, but it is about the number of Charter Members necessary to meet the small budget needed to take the first formal steps, which primarily require filing fees.

Annual membership in Mile Zero Trail Association is expected to be $50, pending approval of the organization's board of directors. The cost for Charter Members who sign up before June 30 and Inaugural Members who join later in the year (by January 31, 2019) will be $50.
For information about the status of membership fees as tax-deductible contributions, see NOTE 2 below.

Review the Website Page Index.

Learn more about Membership.

Sign up to be a Charter Member.

In addition to Charter Membership, it is also possible to be a volunteer. One of our largest and most important challenges is to form Chapter Organizations. Volunteers will form committees to explore and form the Chapter Organizations. They may also form a committee to achieve another organization goal, such as youth camp development.

If this interests you, follow the link to learn more about committee and Chapter Organization volunteers, and send a message to chapters [at]
See NOTE 1 below.

Cabildo, Louisiana State Museum - Mile Zero Trail Association
The historic Cabildo, a unit of the Louisiana State Museum.

Mission and

A Combined Effort of Many Communities

The mission: Mile Zero Trail Association advocates for development, access, education, preservation, diverse transit and sensible use of parks and trails.

The mission is intended to be achieved through a combination of recreation and intermodal transportation activities, as well and cultural and educational components that serve to connect communities.

There are several key projects, including a national recreation trail and a national historic trail. The organization, especially with the help of Chapter Organizations, will promote interest in the substantial existing resources, mainly for education and visitor experience, as well as economic benefits to communities. The organization will also plan and establish resources, like events and facilities.

It is hoped that the key projects, through the involvement of local communities and Chapter Organizations, will result in a wide variety of cultural and educational programs, youth camps, tree planting/environmental education programs, and facilities and visitor centers. The communities will experience important economic and quality of life benefits, as well.

Learn more about the organization's goals and principles.


Additional Information

Connect on Social Media

Mile Zero Trail Association launched a Meetup group based in Richardson, Texas on April 1, 2018, but it may be joined by people from most anywhere. As the organization grows, its activities will expand to wider regions and more cities. Its internet address is:

Learn more about MZTA use of Social Media.

Additional notes

NOTE 1: Send a message for the purpose of committee and Chapter Organization planning only. It is not a newsletter signup. General or periodic information about MZTA will not be provided to the general public or media through this email. It is for direct committee and Chapter Organization communication and planning only. Spam will be reported and blocked. MZTA will be in contact with those who inquire about committee and Chapter Organization planning and will not share your email with any people or businesses, except in the possible case where a person has a coincidental interest to organize a committee and Chapter Organization in the same town, city or close geographic area. (Example: For the purpose of local organizing, MZTA will facilitate communication with more than one individual in a region by communicating as a group or sharing email addresses for this limited purpose if each in the group agree.)

NOTE 2: Mile Zero Trail Association plans to incorporate as a non-profit organization and apply for official status as an I.R.S. recognized 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization. The planned timeframe is 2018. Until the steps are successfully completed, contributions are not guaranteed to be tax deductible. They are, however, tax deductible for a period of 27 months prior to the organization gaining 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization status once it is achieved. For the convenience of Charter Members who would like to ensure that their membership fee is tax deductible, the organization's goal is to apply for and achieve official non-profit status in the 2018 calendar year. It could fall to 2019 if there are delays in processing, but MZTA plans to meet the series of required deadlines. Charter Members will be informed and involved with the process.

Cotton Belt depot in Grapevine, Texas - Mile Zero Trail Association
For over 100 years, the Cotton Belt connected cities across the southcentral United States, including Grapevine (pictured) and Plano. Today, a section of its track is being developed as part of the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) Cotton Belt Line. In a forward-thinking effort that will benefit Mile Zero Trail Association's planned Link Trail, citizens will advocate for the inclusion of a parallel hike and bike route.

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