June 4 marks the 19th anniversary of National Trails Day, when we will once again have an opportunity to focus on our precious trails and say thanks to the many trail volunteers and supporters that work hard to build and maintain them.

Since 1993, this one-day event has inspired tens of thousands of people across the country in every state — from Maine to California and Alaska to Florida — to hit the trail and gain an appreciation for trails of all kinds and better understand their importance to our health and well-being.

The American Hiking Society, the national organization dedicated to promoting and protecting hiking trails and the hiking experience, has set the theme for this year’s big event. “Made with All Natural Ingredients” encourages everyone to get outside and connect with other like-minded outdoors people through local outing clubs, outdoor retailers and other businesses, community parks and recreation groups, land trusts, and state and federal parks and lands agencies.

“Dedicated volunteers, outdoor enthusiasts, trail lovers and those new to the outdoors are truly the key ingredients to National Trails Day,” said Gregory Miller, AHS president. “Naturally, it’s a time to give back to trails and pay it forward by introducing someone new to the outdoors.”

Nationally, some 2,000 events are expected to take place on June 4, including trail-building and maintenance, hiking, paddling, mountain and road biking, horseback riding, running, bird watching and much more. More than 300,000 people are expected to participate.

“The more venues we can organize, the more people we can get interested in nature and the outdoors,” said Heather Sable, AHS trails programs manager.

Here in Maine, at least 17 scheduled public events will ensure plenty of trails-related activity and good fun, from Mount Agamenticus in southern York County to Deboullie Public Reserved Land in T15 R9 in the northern wilds of Aroostook County, and lots of places in-between.

Want to work on trails for National Trails Day? Here’s where to look:

Join the Pemaquid Watershed Association and help clear trails at La Verna Preserve and Bearce-Allen Preserve in Bristol.

Help the Canton Parks and Trails Committee clear the Whitney Brook Trail.

Get busy with The Nature Conservancy in Georgetown and help build cedar log bog bridges, install water bars, paint trail blazes and cut a half-mile of new trail.

Connect with the Mahoosuc Land Trust for trail work on Rumford Whitecap Mountain.

Assist the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club as they work cooperatively with Portland Trails on the urban trails of the area.

Help the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands construct a new loop trail in the remote and beautiful Deboullie Public Reserved Land.

Help the National Park Service brush out the Schoodic Head Trail in Winter Harbor.

Volunteer to maintain trails, habitats and facilities at Mt. Agamenticus.

Want to simply go for a hike, run or walk instead? Check out these events:

Take a hike with the folks from Bigrock Ski Area and climb Mars Hill via a section of the International Appalachian Trail.

Join the South Portland Land Trust and discover some of the more obscure trails and natural areas in town.

Meet up with Skowhegan Trails and check out the many local trails.

Get your heart pumping with Sanford Trails and their 5K race/walk.

Hike the Back River Trail with Chewonki to clear and mark the route.

Walk with Boothbay Region Community Trails on a variety of paths from the harbor to East Boothbay.

What do you need to get involved for the day? Helpful items include a sense of humor and some energy and enthusiasm for the outdoors. And a day pack of food and water, sunscreen and bug spray, extra clothes, raingear and whatnot. Trail clothes, work gloves and good boots will round out your outfit. Pre-registration may be required, so do check with the event leader in advance.

Worried about what you might be getting into? You shouldn’t be.

“Outdoors people are pretty much all friendly and welcoming,” said Sable.

So, as the folks at the Appalachian Mountain Club like to say, it’s time to “get out, get dirty and give back.”

For more information go to www.americanhiking.org and click on the “National Trails Day” icon to find event listings for Maine. You can also reach AHS at 800-972-8608.

Carey Kish of Bowdoin is a freelance writer and avid hiker. Send comments and hike suggestions to:

[email protected]