MZTA - Mile Zero Trail Association

MZTA - Mile Zero Trail Association

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Welcome, everyone! Please join us!

Join us for the adventure, but most of all, join us in an important effort.

The Mile Zero Trail Association is much more than a group with a goal to establish a new National Recreation Trail; it is an organization with cultural, educational, recreational and economic benefits for people and communities.

While it will take about a year to describe the trail and possibly another year to have good informational campaigns up and running, it will take several more years to create and improve segments of the trail network in order to achieve the optimum conditions for cars, bikes and wheel chairs, and foot travelers. For hikers, for instance, the goal is to experience maximum solitude and exposure to nature, requiring that we move the route away from roadways as much as possible.

It will take a strong organization made up of people who are deeply committed. And it is the long timeframe of the initial key project that provides the opportunity to have tremendous impact through many other short-term projects that can be accomplished along the way.

Taos Pueblo UNESCO World Heritage Site
Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the Western end of the Link Trail.

Fun and

Start at Mile Zero

We know "Mile Zero" as a famous pop culture reference based on nostalgic highway markers. It is fun to take pictures at Mile Zero on U.S. Highway 1 in Key West, Florida, or at Mile Zero on the Trans-Canada Highway in Victoria, B.C., Canada (Vancouver Island), or setting out on the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, B.C., Canada. There is even a Zero Milestone in Washington DC.

Mile Zero is where you check that you have your supplies on a long hike. It's where you check your tires on a demanding bike tour. It's where you check your dedication on a long-distance run. It's where you check your GPS before an exciting road trip. It's where you check the calendar when you set out for several months on the Appalachian Trail.

And it's an even greater commitment we make at Mile Zero when we begin to blaze a new trail, one that will serve all those purposes.

Though their range is greatly reduced, bison are a timeless symbol of the Great Plains.

Be Part of a Big Achievement

While it will take years - working with our hands, working with local governments, working with federal departments - to establish a complete trail system, there isn't time to sit around and wait. There are many things we can and need to do in the interim - monthly, weekly, even daily - to create a comprehensive trail and a trail association in a new way - our own way - a bona fide National Cultural Trail.

Long before the Link Trail appears on a map, it will appear as a network connected by local people, activities, information, outreach and interested visitors.

We don't only need to know the best route through a region or county; we need to know the best reasons to come to a community, whether by car, bike or on foot. We don't only need a trail; we need hospitality services. We don't only need path finders and trail builders; we need events and programmers. And, we don't only need to recognize the possibilities of the trail for ourselves; we need to provide its benefits for others, especially young people and adults who may be struggling.

As an intermodal trail with parallel access for automobiles and buses, bikes and wheelchairs, and hikers and runners, Mile Zero Trail Association suggests that everyone involved should have a vision of a trail that will suit widely varying interests:

Accommodate thru-hikers traveling the full distance between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains, with local activities that may surprise and delight them during a wayside stop in a great trail town;

A trail that cyclists may tour leisurely and safely, with lots of great attractions in local, state and national parks; potentially, even forming a competitive multi-stage bike tour route;

A memorable, educational family road trip that provides unique and exciting experiences - fun, food, festivals, farm markets - in distinctive cultural destinations across the country;

The center of many healthy pursuits for local people in small towns, including walks and runs, local fundraisers, and activities that connect people with neighbors and neighboring communities.

And, a trail that promotes quality of life for locals and travelers alike through activities and resources for music lovers, historians, geologists, rock climbers, or participants' many other possible interests.

Sunflowers represent the long span of seasons for exploring the Link Trail.

Activities and

And a Whole Lot More

Keep in mind, in addition to the creation and promotion of the Link Trail, there are many other member benefits, as well as community benefits and activities, including:

Outreach and social events, fun runs, fundraisers for local causes, mini festivals, etc.

Economic benefits for potential new tourism, culture and education businesses.

Cultural exchange activities, such as touring artists and authors.

Youth benefits, including camps for members' children and deserving students.

Development of visitor and interpretive centers, as well as camp facilities.

Related projects, including tree "shelterbelts" and community gardens.

Conferences to involve members in planning for trails, facilities and programs.

Advocacy and educational development for a future National Historic and Interpretive Trail.

Founding of conservancy organizations to maintain the recreation and historic trails once they are fully established.

Paleontology is one of many interests awaiting future travelers and young campers.

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