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Cedar Valley Nature Trail in Iowa. Photo: Liz Zabel, courtesy GO Cedar Rapids

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy recently announced plans for a coast-to-coast bike and walking route from Washington, D.C., to Washington state. There's an interactive map for this entirely car-free way to get across the country here.

Why it matters: The Great American Rail-Trail will be the nation's first cross-country trail, linking more than 125 existing trails and 90 trail gaps over more than 3,700 miles.

  • Connecting the trails could put nearly 50 million people within 50 miles of the route.
  • The trail is mostly comprised of defunct railroads turned into walking and biking paths.
  • Finishing the trail could take a couple of decades.

The backdrop: The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy was founded in 1986 to help convert former rail corridors into public trails for bikers, strollers and other active users.

  • Co-founders David Burwell and Peter Harnik were railroad history buffs, and a coast-to-coast backbone was always part their vision, CityLab notes.

Go deeper

The social media addiction bubble

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Right now, everyone from Senate leaders to the makers of Netflix's popular "Social Dilemma" is promoting the idea that Facebook is addictive.

Yes, but: Human beings have raised fears about the addictive nature of every new media technology since the 18th century brought us the novel, yet the species has always seemed to recover its balance once the initial infatuation wears off.

Young people's next big COVID test

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Young, healthy people will be at the back of the line for coronavirus vaccines, and they'll have to maintain their sense of urgency as they wait their turn — otherwise, vaccinations won't be as effective in bringing the pandemic to a close.

The big picture: "It’s great young people are anticipating the vaccine," said Jewel Mullen, associate dean for health equity at the University of Texas. But the prospect of that enthusiasm waning is "a cause for concern," she said.

8 hours ago - World

New Zealand authorities charge 13 parties over deadly volcano eruption

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at New Zealand's parliament in Wellington. Photo: Mark Tantrum Photography via Getty Images

New Zealand authorities laid safety violation charges Monday against 10 organizations and three individuals over the fatal Whakaari/White Island volcanic disaster last December, per a statement from the agency WorksSafe.

Details: WorksSafe declined to name those charged as they may seek name suppression in court. But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said government agencies GNS Science, which monitors volcanic activity, and the National Emergency Management Agency were among those charged over the "horrific tragedy" that killed 22 people.