Trail Running Environmental Values Survey

Hey Trail Runners!

We have a favor to ask of you. We are a small group of trail runners working to identify the core environmental values we share as a community. We want to hear about the environmental issues that concern you and the challenges we face. Please consider taking this quick (<5 minutes) and confidential survey to help us gain a better understanding of how we can work together towards meaningful solutions to those most concerning environmental challenges. If you run on trails, we want to hear from you!

There will be a chance to enter into a raffle for some sweet prizes from Patagonia, SCARPA, Black Diamond, and Ultimate Direction at the end.

[This survey is now closed.]

Meghan Hicks

is's Managing Editor and the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running.' The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 24 comments

  1. Jamie

    Thanks for doing this survey! If there are options to get involved on the ground floor with a trail running/environmental advocacy group I would love to be involved. Please let me know.

  2. Paul

    I’m not convinced trail running and environmental advocacy are linked the way this survey suggests. In some ways the interests of trail runners and environmental advocates are opposed (e.g. the rerouting of the AC100 course a few years ago).

    1. Clare Gallagher

      Thanks for your thoughts–please write them in the survey! This is a general survey and by no means indicates the potential org’s complete mission. Thanks for the interest and please stay tuned!

  3. TJ King

    I hope this survey is the first step towards the formation of an advocacy group specifically related to trail running. It would be great if our community had something similar to the climbing community such as American Alpine Club or the Access Fund. If so, count me in!

  4. Bob

    Hey Guest Writer – who are you?
    I am all for environmental advocacy, and I can imagine links with the trail running / ultra community. Seems a natural connection, but I am always suspicious of anonymity. Sometimes that hides motives. Did I miss that somewhere?

    1. Clare Gallagher

      Hey Bob, my name is Clare Gallagher, I’m a trail/ultra runner. There’s a handful of us, along with a natural resources management shredder who’s the advisor to us all. We didn’t intend for this to be suspicious, we just want to keep the focus on the content. Byron P obviously helped us with getting this out to you all on IRF, but we made the survey. Please stay tuned for more information and thanks for your interest.

      1. Bob

        Thanks. I did respond to the survey, because I figured Byron and Meghan would not have posted it if it was not legit, but I like to know who I am supporting :)

    1. Bryon Powell

      Device? Browser and version? :-) (Not that I can do much seeing as how it’s a Google form.)

      If needed, you can click through the link above the form and try to fill out the survey in its native form.

  5. Todd v

    I attempted the survey but it didn’t end with a ‘submit’ button so now I think I wasted my time, and you didn’t get my responses..

  6. Cari

    Stoked that you’re working on this, Clare! Some colleagues and I who work in natural resource science/management have been noodling along these themes, but always run out of momentum. Thank you for getting something moving!

  7. Stu

    I applaud your motives, but have concerns that a trail running advocacy group is somewhat at odds with and environmental group. At least where I come from, the environmentalist would say that trampling over tree roots and through bush and forested areas is damaging for nature and we should hug a tree rather than run past it. I have been running trails for 50 years through New Zealand and Australia and the greatest damage being done to natural bush and forest, other than housing, agriculture and industry development, is recreational development to establish walking and cycling paths and bridges over creeks. There are few publicly accessible areas that have not been substantially changed.

  8. Jim Lambert

    I just love how trail running puts my mind at ease and always makes me feel refreshed and invigorated. And I love the challenge it represents.

  9. Brent Hildebrand


    I missed the survey, but I just wanted to share a couple of thoughts because I think environmentalism and trail running are closely connected. After all, why else is it that hitting the trail is so much more special/fun/magical than pounding the pavement?
    Beside climate change intensifying and prolonging fire season, closing trails and making air quality impossible to train in, here are a few issues I think matter to the trail running community:

    Land. Open space is vital for trail running, and it is quickly becoming a scarce commodity. In addition to the land our trails actually lie on, access and easements are an important part of the trails we love.
    Trails. Trail maintenance is a big deal and there often isn’t much money to support it. Organized runner-volunteers can do a lot in a weekend, so leadership for events like that are great. BUT, runners and hikers are also one of the biggest culprits when it comes to causing trail damage. I am especially reminded of that this time of year when the trails get muddy. If people can’t handle getting their shoes muddy staying ON the trail, they need to stick to the sidewalks until summer. This drives me absolutely crazy. The amount of damage that can be done on a popular trail in even one sloppy weekend is pretty bad.
    Invasive plants. I’ve seen invasive plants like spotted knapweed and leafy spurge take over complete hillsides in just a couple of years, eradicating the buttercups, shooting stars, lupine, and paintbrush I’ve come to love. It seems to me that us trail runners are up in the hills more than most and if we pulled even one invasize plant per run, we could probably make an impact.

    Those are my thoughts. Thank you for taking an interest in this, it is much appreciated!

  10. Tyler Wilson

    Hi Clare and Megan,

    I was wondering what the results of this survey were? As a trail runner/environmentalist/writer, I am interested in writing about this topic (maybe as a guest writer in the community voices column!). My writing would benefit greatly from the information you collected in this survey. Are you planning on publishing a follow-up? If not, would you be willing to share some of the data with me? Thanks a bunch!


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