Uniting the Bay: Trails Are Creating Healthy Communities in California

Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area have long supported development of trails and greenways throughout the immense and influential nine-county region. This local, grassroots activism has led to creation of some of the best regional trails in the country and positioned the Bay Area as a leader in the trails movement. Despite the tremendous popularity of trails, there are still major gaps in the area’s trail system, due to fierce competition for transportation and park funding, barriers in the built environment and a lack of attention to underserved areas.

Recognizing the importance of integrating the region’s trails into a complete, connected network, local partners have launched the Bay Area Trails Collaborative (BATC). Currently comprising more than 40 nonprofits, public agencies and private entities representing transportation, recreation, public health, equity and open space/conservation interests—the diverse group is speaking in a unified voice to regional and state planning authorities on behalf of trails.

The group aims to accelerate completion of an interconnected trail network in the San Francisco Bay Area that would link the region’s nine counties via a route spanning more than 1,000 miles. The completed trail system will connect local communities with jobs, resources and open space, and provide healthy recreation and active-transportation options, including hundreds of miles of trails, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and greenways that abound in the region.

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