This amazing man is doing back-breaking work, all to save a little-known trail.

“When I drive into the Badlands, I feel my blood pressure drop. I feel my stress disappear. I feel my worries just vanish."

Sometimes when Nick Ybarra is out clearing the Maah Daah Hey Trail, he just wants to drop his shovel and walk away.

At 144 miles, the Maah Daah Hey in North Dakota is one of the longest single-track trails in America, and it runs through incredible, undulating, wholly unspoiled terrain. It also covers much of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is home to the famously beautiful Painted Canyon.

However, despite its unique grandeur, the trail was in danger of disappearing forever — because no one really knew about it. Ybarra was determined to change that.

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Nature Valley

Rue Mapp can still remember the moment she fell in love with the great outdoors.

"I grew up in an outdoor loving family," recalls Mapp over the phone. "We had a ranch in Northern California."

Rue Mapp. All photos courtesy of Outdoor Afro.

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Nature Valley

Along the Missouri River, there are 26 rambling trails where you can walk or bike through soft marshlands, towering bluffs, pleasing pastures, and thick forests.

Those trails make up the Katy Trail State Park — the longest public area in the United States that was formerly train tracks.

Built on the corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, there's also quite a bit of history to be found on any outdoor excursion in this state park. Most trails go past restored historic depots and former railroad towns. It's no surprise all 240 miles of this park were added to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Hall of Fame in 2008.

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State Farm

When I was a kid, I went on a lot of nature walks with my mom.

We lived in the country in Central Texas and had a little plot of woods all to ourselves. We walked around big, ancient oaks and twisted, gnarly mesquite trees. Sometimes, we'd find a tree covered in big, ropey mustang grapevines and I'd climb up into the trees, pretending I was in the Swiss Family Robinson.

Other times, we went looking for animals. My favorites were the green anole lizards that lived on trees and flashed their red neck flaps at you.

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