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Trail Tracks is our monthly e-Newsletter with links to www.AmericanTrails.org, one of the world's most comprehensive online resources for planning, designing, building, funding, managing, and enhancing trails and greenways. We also bring you news from the halls of Congress, new studies and resources, interesting articles, events, and training opportunities. Check the topics below for what's new in the trails world!
Special thanks to the sponsor of this issue:
Webinar: Best Practices for Developing Interpretive Panels for Trails
The American Trails Webinar Series brings you "Telling a Better Story: Best Practices for Developing Interpretive Panels for Trails" that will be held Thursday, April 26 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific. The focus is on strategies for captivating your trail audience with provocative, well designed interpretive panels. Get practical advice for developing theme-based messages, establishing budgets, selecting images and design elements, understanding how visitors learn, writing interpretive text, and preparing files for production. Presenters are environmental education consultants Jennifer Rigby and Erica Fielder. Learn more and sign up for the Webinar...
Transportation bills in Congress still cause for concern
The House is in the spotlight on federal transportation funding, following Senate passage of its version of the bill. Last week, the Senate approved a $109 billion transportation bill. The bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 74-22. After all the rhetoric and amendments and work to support trails in the House and Senate transportation bills, it looks like there will be an extension of the current programs. John Mica (R-FL), Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the House won't address the bill passed by the Senate, but will simply extend the funding authorization, possibly until the November elections. However, with the current authorization expiring on March 31, it's apparent that Congress must now simply extend SAFETEA-LU, as it has done eight times. For trails and bike/ped programs, life would go on as it has since 2009 when the first extension took place. Watch for breaking news and be ready to add your support...
March 31 is deadline for Recreational Trails Program awards
The Coalition for Recreational Trails sponsors the Annual Achievement Awards as part of the ongoing effort to build awareness and appreciation of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). This is an important year to show how vital RTP funding is to building and preserving our nationwide trail systems. All types of outstanding projects funded by RTP are eligible for the awards. Honorees will be invited to the awards ceremony on Capitol Hill the first week in June during the annual celebration for Great Outdoors Week. Read more and download the nomination form...
Take action for trails: get the facts and contacts in one place
American Trails "SUPPORTING TRAILS" pages provide the facts on current issues and debates and the ongoing efforts of American Trails to continue its years of support for positive policies and funding for trails and greenways. Please join our efforts to document the value of trails and bicycle/pedestrian facilities as transportation infrastructure, and be an active and positive voice in the reauthorization process, economic stimulus proposals, and Federal land management agency budgets. We continuously add news and action items to these pages. Check back often and forward this link on through your networks...
Exhibitors: sign up with your support by March 31 and save 20%
Exhibitors can save 20% off exhibitor fees until March 31. Additional early exhibitor discounts include a logo link on our homepage and Symposium webpages, an article in one issue of our Trail Tracks e-Newsletter, and choice of booth location in the order we receive their contract (some exceptions apply). Exhibitors also get to help us design the "indoor trails and greenways system." Learn more about the benefits of coming in early and download the exhibitor contract...
International Trails Award to make its debut at the 2013 Symposium
The new International Trails Award will recognize an outstanding project or partnership -- that occurred outside the United States -- that demonstrates outstanding planning, design, or implementation and enhances the overall trails movement worldwide. Submissions describing the trail or greenway (or trail or greenway system) including successful aspects such as planning, design, challenges solved, public participation, sustainability, economic benefits, promotion, eco-tourism, and benefits to the local and global community are encouraged. The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2012. Read more and download the nomination packet...
National Trails Awards nomination form is now available!
Don't miss this opportunity to nominate an outstanding person, project, or organization that has impacted the world of trails over the last two years. The National Trails Awards are one way American Trails recognizes the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, and other leaders who are working to create a national system of trails for all Americans. Winners will be announced at the 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium (ITS) Awards Banquet in Arizona, April 16, 2013. The deadline for submitting nominations is October 31, 2012. See previous award winners and learn more about the National Trails Awards...
THANK YOU TO OUR EXHIBITORS!
See what some of our exhibitors have been up to...
- What is an interpretive master plan worth?
Jennifer Rigby, Director of The Acorn Group, tells us how to approach designing exhibits or signs for new trails and visitor centers: "An interpretive master plan challenges you to take stock of your site, tease out the important elements and messages, and determine which communication strategies are best suited for achieving your interpretive goals." The key elements are management, markets, mechanics of the site, messages, and media. Read more and see photos...
- More than just words: experience trails through interactive interpretive panels
More than words, interactive signs amplify the experience of trail patrons by engaging the senses. When multiple senses are engaged, awareness is heightened, which means patrons are more likely to internalize the information contained on a single sign. Interpretive Graphics explains how this internalization fosters connections, increases the desire for stewardship, and intensifies the desire for more learning, making interactive signage a powerful interpretive tool. Read more...
- Interpretive signs for Illinois Route 66 National Scenic Byway
Signs and interpretive wayside panels bring Illinois Route 66 Heritage Road to life for visitors from around the world. The first phase of the project produced an interpretive master plan with multiple access points and hundreds of attractions from Chicago to St. Louis. The second phase featured interpretive wayside panels, designed by iZone, shaped in a streamlined design, with supports meant to resemble chrome features of 1950s automobiles. Read more and see photos...
Learn how your organization can get an article as an exhibitor in our e-Newsletter. Email Candace Mitchell, Exhibitor Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rail trail across the Mississippi River planned for Memphis
Arkansas and Tennessee Departments of Transportation are looking into a pedestrian walkway and bike path along the Harahan Bridge, as a way of extending the Mississippi River Trail across the river. The project combines longstanding efforts to improve the downtown Memphis mall and to establish a bicycling and walking route across the Mississippi River on the 1916 Harahan Bridge -- a railroad span that has, on both sides of the tracks, cantilevered structures that once carried motor vehicles. Read more and see photos...
TRACKS works for better trail systems in Arizona
TRACKS is a group of over 350 volunteers who plan, build, and maintain over 200 miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and trail runners in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests of northeast Arizona. Much of the work involves coordination with the U.S. Forest Service as well as with the Arizona State Committee on Trails. The group has been working to develop the White Mountains Trail System since the early 1990s. Read more and see photos...
American Trails website offers gateway for both trail users and professionals
One of the recent improvements we have made to our expansive website is to create a clearer and user friendly gateway to our two main streams of visitors -- Trail Users & Trail Professionals.
- The Trail Users gateway is for those looking for places to hike or ride, or to connect with trail organizations and learn about projects in their state.
- The Trail Professionals gateway page gives quick access to our web areas on skills, training, resources, and advocacy.
As always, we're interested in your feedback! Email us at email@example.com.
| TRAINING & EDUCATION|
Best Practices: Principles of Ecologically Sustainable Trails
Trails are our most important tool for linking conservation and recreation. As such, they must be developed and maintained in ways that avoid negative impacts to our ecological resources. These "guiding principles" when developing and maintaining trail systems are from the Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation and their Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual, and adapted from Minnesota DNR's Trails and Waterways Trail Planning, Design, and Development Guidelines. Learn more...
Spring training for volunteers, staff members, and students:
March 29-April 1 - Sedona, AZ
* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School
March 29-April 1 - Moore's Springs, NC
* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School
April 11 - Webinar: 2:00 p.m. (Eastern)
* Developing a Fundraising Plan
April 16-17 - Salem, OR
* Oregon Active Transportation Summit
April 16-19 - Baton Rouge, LA
* National Association of Recreation Resource Planners Conference
April 17-20 - Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV
* Access to Parks and Outdoor Recreation Areas
April 18-20 - Woodland Hills, CA
* California Trails & Greenways Conference
April 21 - Poughkeepsie, NY
* Dutchess County Regional Trails Conference
April 23 - Toronto, ON, Canada
* Complete Streets Forum
April 24-26, 2012 - Ashville, NC
* River Management Society Symposium
April 26 - Webinar: 10:00 a.m. (Pacific)
* Telling a Better Story: Best Practices for Developing Interpretive Panels for Trails ~ Purchase Now!
April 28 - Redding, CA
* Shasta Living Streets ("Cyclovia") / Whole Earth and Watershed Festival
Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at NTTP@AmericanTrails.org.
| JOIN THE AMERICAN TRAILS NETWORK|
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- Attend, Exhibit, Sponsor! The 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium (ITS) ~ April 14-17, 2013. Check out the early exhibitor discounts and benefits and their deadlines!
- Learn about and find National Recreation Trails (NRT) near you today!
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Send news and calendar items to firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Trails is a tax-exempt, nonprofit charitable organization under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible.
Header photo: Winter rains bring spring flowers on San Diego County trails; photo by Stuart Macdonald