This was an interesting find. “99% Invisible” is a professionally produced podcast “about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about.” Recently, they focused on the U.S. national trail network.
This a two-part article. Links to both segments are below . . .
The U.S. National Trails System‘s 30 Scenic and Historic routes alone span over 50,000 miles, longer than the entire Interstate Highway System. Extending across all 50 states, the National Recreation Trails network contains over 200,000 additional miles of public pathways. A person could walk these trails continuously for years and still experience only a fraction of the total system.
Sustaining public trails throughout the nation is a herculean task coordinated by various federal agencies (including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) as well as state-level organizations, like the California Conservation Corps (or: CCC). In turn, these agencies rely on a huge number of paid and volunteer workers to create and maintain both federal and state trails nationwide.