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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!
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Trail funding comes down to the wire in Congressional debate - and your help is needed NOW!
Compromises are being made in conference and may be devastating for trails!
The House and Senate began a conference committee in early May to try to reconcile their two versions of a new surface transportation bill. Until this week, it has appeared that there were irreconcilable differences and many leaders in the trails world projected there most likely would be another extension until following the election. However affairs have DRAMATICALLY changed over the last couple of days, and there may very well be a bill by the June 30th deadline, when the current authorization expires.
Compromises are being made in conference and may be devastating for trails! The trails community has worked tirelessly to secure dedicated funding for Recreational Trails, Transportation Enhancements, and Safe Routes to School. Under new discussions, these programs are at great risk, as one proposal gives Governors the opportunity to opt out of these programs.
As the debate in Congress continues, NOW is a crucial time to let your Senators and Representative know that you support funding for trails and bike/pedestrian facilities.
The message is simple, tell your members of Congress:
Please preserve dedicated funding for the Recreational Trails Program, Transportation Enhancements, and Safe Routes to School.
Call or email your members of Congress now:
And, if you live in California, it is especially important to ask Senator Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Conference Committee, to stay strong on protecting dedicated funding for trails, walking, and bicycling. Senator Boxer's Washington office number is (202) 224-3553.
See action alerts and current status...
June 28 webinar: The Art of Sustainable Trail Management
Space is limited! Reserve your seat today!
Tony Boone of Tony Boone Trails, LLC will present "The Art of Sustainable Trail Management" on June 28. Learn the essentials of developing and managing natural surface, shared-use trail systems from a professional trailbuilder with years of international experience. Tony's expertise has helped guide, sculpt, and construct over 800 kilometers of world class trails in China, the Phillipines, and Australia. His passion is creating sustainable, kinesthetically, and aesthetically diverse trails, and teaching others to do the same. He is highly skilled in the utilization and training of state-of-the-art trail technology and trail building equipment. Tony has been an active member of American Trails and the Professional Trail Builders Association since 1995. His primary focus since the summer of 2010, has been assisting the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) to develop their international markets. The webinar is geared primarily towards beginning and intermediate level trailbuilders: including volunteers, agency staff, and professional trail crews. The online seminar continues the American Trails "Advancing Trails Webinar Series." Learn more and register now!
Chinese farmers, the Trek/IMBA trail crew in Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Find products and consultants in our Online Business Directory
The American Trails Online Business Directory provides a convenient way for trail planners and managers to find the best trail related services and cutting-edge products. The Business Directory not only has a new look, but is more user friendly, includes a search function, and is more interactive. Check out the Business Directory today...
Take action for trails: get the facts and contacts in one place
American Trails "SUPPORTING TRAILS" pages provide the latest on current issues and debates and the ongoing efforts of American Trails to continue its 24+ years of support for positive policies and funding for trails and greenways. Please join our efforts to report the value of trails and bicycle/pedestrian facilities as transportation infrastructure, and be an active and positive voice in the transportation reauthorization process, Federal land management agency budgets, and more. We continuously add news and action items to these pages. Check back often and forward this link on through your networks...
The American Trails Board recognizes Special Donors
On behalf of the American Trails Board and Staff, we would like to recognize these special DONORS that recently contributed to an important program for American Trails:
Secretary Salazar establishes the National Water Trails System (NWTS), a new class of NRTs
As of March 2012, there is a new element to utilizing the National Recreation Trails (NRT) program authority. Based on the priority actions of the America's Great Outdoors report, Department of the Interior Secretary Salazar has established the National Water Trails System (NWTS), a new class of NRTs. The National Water Trails System will protect and restore America's rivers, shorelines, and waterways; conserve natural areas along waterways; and increase access to outdoor recreation on waterways and shorelines. The vision of the NWTS is to create a distinctive national network of exemplary water trails that are cooperatively supported and sustained by public, private, and/or nonprofit entities. With the recent development of the National Water Trails System, an enhanced focus on providing and promoting water-based trail opportunities throughout the United States will complement the existing network of National Recreation Trails. Rivers, lakes, and other waterways can now apply to become part of the National Water Trails System. To apply, the water trail manager will follow the basic guidelines of the National Recreation Trails program; in addition, they need to address how seven (7) best management practices are followed on their water trail. Learn more and make application at http://www.nps.gov/watertrails. Read Frequently Asked Questions...
Funding crisis threatens West Virginia bridge renovation
"For at least 10 years, Charleston-area trail enthusiasts have dreamed about converting the old CSX rail trestle across the Kanawha River for cycling and walking," writes Jim Balow in The Charleston Gazette. "The 105-year-old span would be the key link -- the centerpiece -- of the Kanawha Trestle Trail that would stretch from the state Capitol to South Charleston and beyond. Last Monday, though, City Council members... dealt a crushing blow to those dreams when they 're-purposed' almost $800,000 of federal transportation funds that Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., had earmarked for the project in 2004." Read more and see photos...
Violet Crown Trail to link 30 miles of Austin communities and open space
Almost the entire 30 mile trail route has been acquired, reports Austin360.com, and a master plan is finished. Environmental and engineering studies are mostly done and trail routes scouted. "It will be the longest regional trail in Central Texas," said Butch Smith, project manager with the Hill Country Conservancy, which has been instrumental in planning the trail. Read more and see maps...
Connecting Kids and Families to the West's Great Outdoors
The Western Governors' Association's new report finds that children in the West are spending less time enjoying the region's great outdoor spaces. This is especially true of the youngest Westerners. The report asks, "If getting kids out into nature can 'boost mental acuity and creativity and promote health and wellness' as Richard Louv claims, then what can families, the public and private sectors, do to help connect kids to the outdoors near their homes and schools?" State programs are described as models for action. Learn more and read recommendations...
It's time to think about nominations for National Trails Awards
The National Trails Awards are sponsored by American Trails to celebrate the leaders of our national system of trails for their outstanding contributions. This is the opportunity to recognize an outstanding person, project, or organization with America's most prestigious trail awards. A new "International Trails" category is being introduced this year. Winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet on April 16 at the 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium in Arizona. The deadline for submitting nominations is October 31, 2012. See previous award winners and learn more about the National Trails Awards...
Desert trails and rivers in Fountain Hills, Arizona
Fountain Hills is the community adjacent to the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Resort Destination, the location of the 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium. Once you've taken in panoramic views of rugged mountains and slopes lush with vegetation unique to the Sonoran Desert, choose from a network of trails for hiking, biking, and wildlife watching at McDowell Mountain Regional Park or Fountain Hills McDowell Mountain Preserve. The Town of Fountain Hills also has lakes, urban trails, parks, and a public art collection. Read more and see photos of Fountain Hills trails...
Exhibitors: learn how to get your logo on the American Trails homepage - deadline June 30th
Calling all exhibitors! July 31 is the deadline to save 15% off exhibitor fees. June 30 is the deadline for sponsors and exhibitors to get their logo link on the American Trails homepage and an article in an issue of the Trail Tracks e-Newsletter. Learn more and download the exhibitor contract...
Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors!
We want to extend a huge thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors to date for the 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium! Learn more and link to these exhibitor's websites...
- Arizona State Parks
- Radisson Fort McDowell Resort Destination
- Central Arizona Project
- Fountain Hills CVB
- Mesa CVB
- Scottsdale CVB
- National Park Service
- US Fish & Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- USDA Forest Service - Trails Unlimited
- USDA Forest Service
- US DOT Federal Highway Administration
- The Acorn Group/Acorn Naturalists
- Advanced Resource Solutions, Inc.
- American Conservation Experience
- American Quarter Horse Association - STEP Program
- Asphalt Systems/USA Soy Solutions
- Aztec Engineering
- Backcountry Horsemen of America
- Bellfree Contractors, Inc.
- Beneficial Designs
- E.T. Techtonics, Inc.
- Envirosigns, Ltd.
- Erica Fielder Studio
- Gail Materials
- Interpretive Graphics, Signs, & Systems
- K Design
- Kay-Linn Enterprises
- National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
- Northwest Woodland Services, Inc.
- Okanogan Trail Construction, Inc.
- Pioneer Bridges
- Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls
- Professional Trailbuilders Association
- Rhino Marking & Protection Systems
- RideNow Powersports
- Rockart Signs & Markers
- Santa Fe Trail Association
- Southwest Conservation Corps
- Terrabilt Wayfinding Systems
- Voss Signs
New Zealand creates new trail system with a focus on tourism
In 2009 the New Zealand Government began to form a $NZ 50 million project into a 1,500-mile network of 19 "Great Rides." New Zealand Cycle Trail Programme Manager John Dunn says the economic vision was to create immediate jobs through construction of the cycle trails, and longer term jobs via the increased tourism demand that a network of cycle trails would bring. There would also be complimentary health, environmental, and recreational benefits for both New Zealanders and visitors from offshore. Read more and see photos...
Volunteers are making ambitious trail partnerships work
"To face the reality of declining budgets at every level of government required to provide for maintenance and reconstruction of our national trail systems is a depressing and serious problem," writes Alan Hill with the Shasta Trinity Unit of Backcountry Horsemen of California. He explores the success as well as complexity of a 20-year partnership among the Shasta Trinity Unit of Backcountry Horsemen of California, US Forest Service, and California Conservation Corps. All trail users will be interested in the lessons learned and how the partnership process works. Read more and see photos...
Cool Trail Solutions photo gallery: trails with two adjacent treads
Separate trails in the same corridor provide for different activities. In many urban trail corridors the sheer amount of use creates some dificulties for sharing the trail. Wider trails are one solution. But how wide do you want to make the trail? And does a single surface material satisfy all trail users? In many cases, the better solution is to provide two or even three pathways or trail treads with different surfaces. Other treatments seek to make the separation of treads more clear. Read more and see photos...
Featured NRT: Kanatak Trail, Becharof National Wildlife Refuge, AK
One of the newly-designated National Recreation Trails of 2012, the Kanatak Trail, is in a remote and primitive natural setting. The route was used for centuries as a connection between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea by the resourceful people of the Alaska Peninsula, and provides an unusual educational and recreational experience for today's visitor. Getting to the trail is an adventure in itself, requiring a boat or plane. Recent improvements to the trail, which is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, were made by a Student Conservation Association crew. Read more and see photos...
| TRAINING & EDUCATION|
Archived webinar on water trail accessibility available for purchase
The American Trails' webinar, "Water Trail Accessibility: Assessing and Creating More Accessible Facilities and Programs," is now available online. Featured presenters Mike Passo with Elakah Expeditions, LLC, Doug Alderson, the Paddling Trails Coordinator for Florida Office of Trails and Greenways, and Bob Searns of The Greenway Team, share their experiences with creating paddling trails on a variety of waterways, with real life examples and case studies of water trail challenges. American Trails members save on the purchase price! Read more and learn how to purchase a copy of the archived webinar...
Summer training opportunities for 2012: see our online training calendar
Check the Online Training Calendar for a wide variety of learning opportunities for volunteers and professionals engaged with trails of all kinds. American Trails, through the National Trails Training Partnership, works with agencies and organizations across America to promote trail-related training. Let us know if we can publicize your training, courses, workshops, or conferences! See details on events below and many more opportunities for training on the Online Trails Training Calendar...
Upcoming trail-related training opportunities for summer 2012:
June 28 - Online Webinar: 10:00-11:30a.m. Pacific
* American Trails Webinar: The Art of Sustainable Trail Management ~ Register Now!
July 5-8 - Bozeman, MT
* Adaptive Paddling Workshop
July 8-14 - Lone Pine, CA in the Wilderness
* Mountain Horsemanship: Veterinary Care and Horsepacking
July 12-14 - Lexington, KY
* Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference
July 14-15 - Carlisle, PA
* American Red Cross Wilderness & Remote First Aid Course
July 14-17 - New York, NY
* International Urban Parks Conference
July 16-20 - Lakewood, CO
* Accessibility Management in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
August 20-24 - Portland, OR
* Comprehensive Bicycle Planning & Design
August 21-25 - Great Falls, MT
* NOHVCC Conference
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!
- I'm a Pathways for Play advocate. Ask me why.
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Header photo: Boardwalk along Spanish Bay near Asilomar State Beach, CA. Photo by Stuart Macdonald.