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It has been a whole year since we launched our first Route Map. Its purpose was to lay out goals for the year; the summits that we wanted to climb and the steps along the way (incidentally, if you’d like to find out how we did, take a look at our 2021 Impact Report).

2022 has rolled around, and the question is, do we need another route map? If we travelling old ground, then maybe not. That’s not the Trash Free Trails way, though. We never want to simply repeat what has been done before.

That doesn’t mean we are changing everything. The bread and butter of what we do will always be trail cleans. We are revisiting some of the same physical locations as last year. And you’ll see that some of our events take the best bits of 2021 as their basis. (There’s even some science behind this – by keeping some way-marks along the way the same, we can compare progress. How do we know if we've been able to catalyse improvements if we don't revisit things?)

Crossing familiar lands doesn’t mean always taking exactly the same path though. We will always look for ways that we can make a larger impact, work smarter or simply keep things fresh. As one of our heroes, Beau Miles, says; when something familiar to you feels exotic you are winning. We’ll focus on keeping on improving and having fun while we are at it.

We want to be trailblazers, and if we are to take our own path, we really need to know our destination. So of course we still need a Route Map. As with last year, it is part calendar, part statement of intent and part piece of art. The great thing about a map is it can be shared. It’s not just TFT HQ that will be following the route, but our partners, our A-Team and our TrashMOB will too.

What’s the destination?

Every journey starts with where it ends: an idea to travel somewhere. Climb into your car and the first thing your satnav wants to know is where you’d like to go. And the satnav is a really useful analogy. There are always different ways to get to an end goal. Some might be meandering and frustrating, others might be the equivalent of the open road, and some might turn out to be a wrong turn on to the M25 at rush hour.

Our destination in this case is our mission and priorities:

To reduce single-use pollution (aka; litter!) on our trails and wild places by 75% by 2025 and (re)connect people with nature through purposeful adventure.

Aiming for the top

Cool. So we know the very end goal. But we also know there are some summits to scale along the way. We are on one side of a mountain range and want to reach the other. Summits are not always easily scaled. In fact they can feel really daunting when you are standing at the bottom. But, they are really important. They are the visual representation of our end goals; everything we are hoping to achieve. This year, we have three major peaks:

  • The TFT Spring Clean in April

  • A summer of Purposeful Adventures in August

  • TFT Schools Month in October.

These reflect the three strands to our work, in order: clean trails, purposeful adventures, and education and understanding.

Stepping stones

The best way to deal with daunting summits is to focus on small steps. One foot in front of the other is much easier to visualise and achieve than a single giant leap. So while our eyes will always be on our end goals, we’ve got plenty of stepping stones along the way.

These include everything from adventure festivals to academic studies, Fort William World Cup to Red Bull Hardline, State of Our Trails Summit 2022 to a well earned rest. Exciting, meaningful and important steps, all of which contribute to our journey.

Doing stuff, versus achieving stuff

(c) Sam Dugon

So, if we get to December and we’ve ticked off each of the summits, and all those steps along the way, we’ll have succeeded, right? Well, based

on what we’ve learnt over our first few years, we know we’ll be on the correct track. But… the success of Trash Free Trails isn’t just about what we do, it’s about the outcomes of our efforts..

And that takes neatly back around to the start again, and measuring our impact. We’ll give Rich a little breather before he makes a start on the Annual Impact Report 2022 though ;-)

And, if you're more of a calendar type...

Thank you

We'd also like to say a huge thank you to our Strategic Partners; Trek UK, Bosch eBike Systems, The North Face & European Outdoor Conservation Association, Red Bull UK and Komoot. Your commitment to long term support and your friendship at the vital personal level has provided us with a stable platform from which to make long term plans to create sustained, positive change to our trails and wild places and the people who rely upon them.


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