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  • Aria Zoner

The Importance of a Trail's Mission Statement

When it comes to named trails, the destination may be clear but the reason behind why it was built in the first place may not be. In this post, I share the HST's mission statement plus a few statements from other long-distance trails that are similar to it.

Progress on the Mission

Are you interested in sharing your input and experiences from your time spent on The Hot Springs Trail? Now you can on! Just click on their search bar for trails and…whoa! There it is! And right next to the Hayduke Trail too!

Why am I so excited about this?

Well by now you may already know that when I initially had the thought of designing a long-distance hiking trail that went from hot spring to hot spring, I was hiking on the Hayduke. But did you know that I became confident that I could author and publish my own guidebook thanks to meeting and talking with the authors of the Hayduke?

There are 50 trails that are listed here on Postholer. Is the fact that mine lands right next to theirs just a matter of the Heart, or is it merely a coincidence?

I’d like to think it’s a 3rd thing: Trail Magic.

But that’s not all. These trails don’t just have a clear destination in sight, they also have a clear mission in mind.


The Importance of a Trail's Mission Statement


The Hayduke Trail's mission is "to showcase these beautiful, unique and threatened public lands, and to try to dispel the notion that they are wastelands, good only for their limited resources.”

The HST’s mission is “to create a National Scenic Trail that highlights the therapeutic benefits and scenic natural beauty of hot springs, and honors the ongoing work and dedication that has been put into finding, building, and maintaining them.”

Although I may have started on my mission more than 11 years after the Hayduke did theirs, mine might actually be accomplished first.

Why's that?

You see, getting people excited about hot springs is easy compared to getting them to understand that desert landscapes are worth protecting from exploitation and unconscious resource extraction. Although seemingly desolate and worthless, desert landscapes provide a value that is not based on physical goods – it’s an aesthetic value that can only be calculated by the lives it touches.

Here are 2 ways you can help the Hayduke Trail with its mission:

1. Read The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey, and gain an understanding of the economic motives behind how public lands are managed; then, from this frame of mind this coming holiday season, vote with your consumer dollars.

2. Go on a hike (a day-hike is long enough) then share what you saw, felt, and learned out there. If you saw the light, let us know about it. If you saw the darkness and shadows of mankind, then write about that.

You don’t have to throw a monkey wrench at something to make a difference, sometimes all you need to do is put your pen to paper, then share it.

Here are 2 ways you can help the HST with its mission:

1. See hot springs for more than just the soaking. See them for their natural beauty, their rarity on the landscape, and their intrinsic nature to draw us into them.

2. The next time you go soaking, whether it's on-trail or off it, take time to reflect on the work that people have put into wild & resort hot springs - making them accessible, useable, and worthy of adventuring to. Let this feeling of gratitude be your way of honoring them.


Happy holidays and an extra special thanks to Buck30 for getting the HST on Postholer and to The Hayduke Trail for letting me ride on its heels.


Looking for something in between the Hayduke & The Hot Springs Trail?

Here's what Renee Patrick, trail coordinator at ONDA, had to say about the Oregon Desert Trail's mission statement: "The ODT's mission to connect the stunning regions in Oregon's high desert with a navigable route that immerses hikers in the lands the Oregon Natural Desert Association has been striving to protect for over 30 years." She went on to say..."By introducing more people to these amazing landscapes, we create opportunities to foster a sense of responsibility to protect, defend, and restore for generations to come"...."You can also visit 10 hot spring areas while you're on this trail."

Whatever the mission is, there's a place out there for it. If the mission you're looking for is not something that's already been clearly defined, you may just have to take the lead and be the one who defines it.

Until next time, happy soaking & enjoy the mission!


Do you have an idea that can help make The Hot Springs Trail better for future users? If so, let me know in the comments below…



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