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Dan Burden: Orlando, Florida

Dan BurdenExecutive Director, Walkable Communities

Dan Burden began his career planning outdoor adventure programs for youth hostels, and has been devising ways to get people outdoors for more than 35 years. His work once sparked an idea to bicycle from Alaska to Argentina, and, in 1972, Burden and three others embarked on the “Hemistour,” the first major event in adventure cycling.

During the expedition, the foursome brainstormed a cross-country ride to coincide with the upcoming bicentennial. After several years of research and advocacy, they published the route for the 4,200-mile TransAmerica bicycle trail in 1976. That year, the Bikecentennial cross-country ride kicked off and nearly 2,000 cyclists, hailing from all 50 states and 22 nations, rode the entire length of the trail. Burden’s route continues to draw riders today.

Burden Outdoor “I have always been an advocate of people being outdoors, getting in touch with the planet,” says Burden. “It gives people a good introduction to their communities and neighborhoods and nature itself.”

Over the years, Burden has personally examined and photographed walking and bicycling conditions in more than 200 cities. In 1994, he traveled to China as a bicycling consultant for the United Nations.

Photo of a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented community by Dan Burden

His work in the field of active living has been prolific, distinguishing Burden as one of the nation’s leading experts on strategies for creating pedestrian- and bicycle- friendly communities. He served as Florida’s first state bicycle and pedestrian coordinator and has taught bicycle and pedestrian facility design courses in hundreds of different communities throughout the nation. He continues to serve as a course developer and trainer for the National Highway Institute.

Burden is executive director of Walkable Communities, a nonprofit devoted to helping communities and municipalities of all sizes—including school districts and business districts—become more walkable and pedestrian friendly.

He notes that as America continues to ease into more sedentary pursuits, people are leading less healthy lifestyles. Burden’s life’s work is to remind us of this maxim: “Our feet were created for a reason.”

Learn more:

Walkable Communities

He Takes Back the Streets for Walking,” Time magazine

How Can I Find and Help Build a Walkable Community?

22 Benefits of Urban Street Trees

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