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  November 30 is deadline for National Trails Award nominations  


American Trails Chair attended World Trails Conference, Korea 


Enter the 2012 National Recreation Trails photo contest 


Thanks to American Trails Patron Members! 


Keep up to date on trail funding and legislation     


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Registration for the International Trails Symposium will be open in December! 


New! Continuing Education Units will be offered for this Symposium 


Send in your Exhibitor Contract today! 


Thank you to our Symposium Sponsors & Exhibitors! 


The National Trails Symposium is going INTERNATIONAL! 


American Trails establishes the Hulet Hornbeck Youth Scholarship Fund 


You can contribute to the Symposium! 


Town of Fountain Hills hosts first Cyclovia 





The American Trails family welcomes a new baby!


Great Eastern Trail to stretch from Alabama to New York


Trail bridge completes loop in Quad Cities riverfront system


Alabama conference brings trail advocates together

Initiative would seek $25 million for elevated trail in Scottsdale, AZ

Summit County, Ohio, plans to spend $46 million for trails 




Photo gallery: warning trail users about high water

"The Third Mode" for future transportation

Creating environmentally friendly mountain bike trails

Winning federal dollars for bicycle and pedestrian projects

Best practices: improving the CA Coastal Trail at Lands End


American Trails website offers gateway for Trail Users and Trail Professionals 


September 12 webinar on "The Third Mode" available online 


Workshops to increase walking and walkability of local communities 


Training opportunities for 2013: see our online calendar  





 Your support helps us help trails!  


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Attend, Exhibit, Sponsor! 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium

April 14-17, 2013  


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November/December 2012 

Trail Tracks is our monthly e-Newsletter with links to, 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!


There are advertising opportunities in our Trail Tracks e-Newsletter! Find out more here. 

A special message of thanks to our friends on the trail


A message from Stuart Macdonald, American Trails Magazine and website editor: "While our minds are on gratitude, and remembering our blessings, I would like to say thanks for what so many are giving. They are the people who are working for trails in every corner of America. They are creating trails that enrich our lives, inspire us to exercise, and lift up our spirits with connections to the natural world." Read Stuart's full message on the American Trails Blog... 


whatshot WHAT'S HOT


November 30 is deadline for National Trails Awards nominations 


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 November 30, 2012. 


Award Nomination Categories: 

  • Lifetime Service
  • Best Trails State
  • Community Service
  • Corporate Award
  • International Trails Award (New Award)  
  • Kids and Trails Award
  • Outstanding Media Award
  • Outstanding Trail Sharing Award
  • Partnership Award
  • Planning/Design Award
  • State-of-the-Art Technology Award
  • Trails and the Arts Award
  • Trails for Health Award
  • Trails for Public Service Award
  • Trail Advocacy Award (1 per state, DC, Puerto Rico)
  • Trail Worker Award (1 per state, DC, Puerto Rico)
  • Developer Award (separate nomination process)   

See previous award winners and apply for a National Trails Award...


American Trails Chair attended World Trails Conference, Korea


Bob Searns, representing American Trails at the World Trails Conference, reports from Korea in our Blog. The event was held on Jeju Island, a sub-tropical province of Korea off the nation's south coast. More than 17 nations participated, from Uganda to Canada. This was the second year that American Trails was honored to participate. The conference brings trail associations together from around the world to share support, training, and ideas, to encourage trails across the globe to become more environmentally friendly, sustainably developed, and user friendly. Read our Blog on the World Trails Conference... 



Enter the 2012 National Recreation Trails photo contest: Deadline December 15!


American Trails sponsors an annual contest for photographs of National Recreation Trails (NRT) across the country. We provide awards in several categories and showcase the winners (and all the entries) on the NRT website. The goal is to highlight the diversity of the NRTs and to make more Americans familiar with these great trails. We're looking for good photos of trail users as well as special facilities, art on the trails, management issues, construction, and volunteers. Read more and see photos from previous contests...   


Thanks to American Trails Patron Members!

The Patron Members of American Trails are key supporters of our mission of "Trails for All Americans." We want to thank these vitally important members of American Trails. Their generous contributions enable us to advocate for funding and sensible policies for trails, greenways, public lands, and better communities across the country. Please visit our Patrons' websites and learn more about their services and goals... 


Current Patron Members
  • Atkins 
  • Baldwin Design Works, Ltd.
  • Roger Bell, American Trails Board Member
  • Bellfree Contractors
  • Biospan Technologies, Inc. 
  • Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast
  • Amy Camp, American Trails Board Member
  • Christopher Douwes
  • City of Elk Grove, CA
  • City of Little Rock, AR 
  • City of Redding, CA
  • Creative Pultrusions, Inc.
  • Equine Land Conservation Resource
  • Fermata, Inc.
  • Ontario Federation of Trail Riders
  • Pannier Graphics
  • Pioneer Bridges/Bailey Bridges
  • Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • Reliance Foundry
  • Rhino Marking & Protection Systems
  • Jenny Rigby, American Trails Board Member
  • Bob Searns, American Trails Board Member
  • Southwest Regional Recreation Authority/Spearhead Trails
  • SWECO Products, Inc.
  • Third Rock Consultants 
  • Tony Boone Trails, LLC
  • TrailArts
  • TRAfx
  • USDA Forest Service - Trails Unlimited
  • Voss Signs, LLC
  • Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA
  • Waterford Press 
  • Whitney Portal Store & Hostel
  • WILDWAYS Illustrated 
Keep up to date on trail funding and legislation

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 document 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. Learn more about supporting trails... 



April 14-17, 2013 ~ Fountain Hills, Arizona
AT ITS 2013 logo

Registration for the International Trails Symposium will be open in December!


Start planning now to attend the International Trails Symposium, April 14-17, 2013, in Arizona. Online registration will be open beginning in December. In addition to your conference registration, you will also be able to purchase mobile and featured workshops. Plan to register early to save on registration fees. All extra activities are on a first come first serve basis, so signing up early is encouraged! Read more about the Symposium here... 




We are delighted to offer interested attendees the opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through one of the Symposium's sponsors, the Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS), an authorized independent CEU provider through IACET (International Association for Continuing Education and Training). CEU approval is pending; exact sessions and workshops that will offer CEUs will be provided at a later date. Check the Symposium website for the latest news on the program... 


Send in your Exhibitor Contract today!

The Symposium is the premier opportunity to display your state-of-the-art products and services, provide demonstrations, show off your projects and programs, and talk with decision makers in your target market. Bring your business, agency, or nonprofit to the attention of the nation's trailbuilding community. January 31 is the deadline for a 5% discount for exhibitors at the 2013 American Trails International Trails Symposium. Learn more about the benefits of coming in early and download the exhibitor contract... 



Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors!


Exhibitors: sign up with your support by January 31 and save 5%!


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...  

  • American Trails
  • Arizona State Parks
  • Radisson Fort McDowell Resort Destination
  • Central Arizona Project
  • Fountain Hills CVB
  • Mesa CVB
  • Scottsdale CVB
  • US DOT Federal Highway Administration
  • National Park Service
  • USDA Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Trails Unlimited - Forest Service Enterprise Team 
  • The Acorn Group / Acorn Naturalists
  • Advanced Resource Solutions, Inc.
  • American Conservation Experience
  • American Quarter Horse Association - STEP Program
  • Arizona Community Foundation  
  • Arizona Trails Travel 
  • Asphalt Systems / USA Soy Solutions
  • Aztec Engineering Group, Inc. 
  • Backcountry Horsemen of America
  • Bellfree Contractors, Inc.
  • Beneficial Designs
  • Black Canyon Trail Coalition
  • California Trails & Greenways Conference 
  • City of Phoenix
  • Coe and Van Loo Consultants  
  • Contech Engineered Solutions
  • Creative Pultrusions, Inc.
  • E.T. Techtonics, Inc.
  • Envirosigns, Ltd.
  • Erica Fielder Studio
  • Gail Materials
  • GameTime
  • GroveSite
  • Integrated Touch Somatic Therapy 
  • Interpretive Graphics, Signs, & Systems
  • Irvine Ranch Conservancy
  • iZone
  • Jeju Olle Trail 
  • K Design
  • Kalamazoo Materials, Inc. 
  • Kay-Linn Enterprises
  • National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
  • Northwest Woodland Services, Inc.
  • Okanogan Trail Construction, Inc.
  • Paris Equipment Manufacturing, Ltd. 
  • Pennsylvania Equine Council
  • Pima Trails Association
  • Pioneer Bridges
  • Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls
  • PlayCore 
  • Professional Trailbuilders Association
  • Quad Cities CVB
  • Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • Redding CVB
  • Rhino Marking & Protection Systems
  • RideNow Powersports
  • Rockart Signs & Markers
  • Santa Fe Trail Association
  • Singletrack Trails 
  • Southwest Conservation Corps
  • St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center  
  • Stabilizer Solutions, Inc.  
  • Terrabilt Wayfinding Systems
  • Texas Recreation and Park Society 
  • Tour-Mate Systems 
  • Town of Pinetop-Lakeside / TRACKS (AZ White Mountains Trail System)
  • Tread Lightly!
  • Two Horse Enterprises 
  • Voss Signs
  • Waterford Publishing Group 
  • Wheeler
  • Yavapai Trails Association / Prescott Mile High Trail System
The National Trails Symposium is going INTERNATIONAL!


American Trails is thrilled to host its first International Trails Symposium in Arizona - an international tourist destination! We want to reach across the oceans to harness our combined wisdom to support and encourage the collective dedication to trail initiatives around the world. The program will feature international sessions, which will provide alternative ways of approaching challenges in the trails world and will provide excellent networking opportunities for our attendees. We are stronger and more effective together, and the Symposium is a perfect way for the international trails community to share success stories and lessons learned. 


Here is a sampling of confirmed countries to date:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China 
  • France
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom 

Check the Symposium website for the latest international updates... 


American Trails establishes Hulet Hornbeck Youth Scholarship Fund

Through funds provided by generous sponsors, American Trails is proud to offer scholarships from the American Trails Hulet Hornbeck Fund to youth between the ages of 18-25 to attend the Symposium in Arizona. In addition to attending the Symposium, scholarship winners will experience a one-day field trip immersion focused on all types of recreation trails and resource management issues. They will also work on a service project, network with Symposium participants, and absorb and contribute to the overall Symposium experience. Learn how to apply for youth scholarships...

You can contribute to the Symposium!

There are several ways for you to lend your support to the Symposium. American Trails is looking for volunteers, Creative Crossing photos, anniversary announcements, and auction items for both the Silent and Live Auctions. See below for details.

The Symposium has a wide variety of opportunities for volunteers. Just let us know how you are able to help by filling out the online volunteer application form. All volunteers get a "Trail Boss" t-shirt and are invited to attend the Volunteer Party closing night of the Symposium!

Creative Crossings Photo Gallery

During the Symposium, you will have an opportunity to share the beauty of your trail crossings or bridges in the Creative Crossings Photo Gallery. Recent years have seen the construction of some strikingly beautiful and innovative trail bridge designs. American Trails will showcase those bridges and other trail crossings in a photo gallery in the Exhibit Hall and on the American Trails website. Submit your Creative Crossing photos to the American Trails office by February 15. Email them to along with the name of the bridge, the trail name, the location, and the photo credit.


American Trails loves to celebrate important milestones for trail organizations and events at the American Trails International Symposiums! Let us know by February 1 and we will recognize your anniversary at the 21st National Trails Awards Celebration Banquet, as well as on the American Trails website. Email anniversary announcements to


Auction Items

Promote your brand and the great products and services you offer by donating an item to our Silent and Live Auctions. Our attendees are avid outdoors enthusiasts who are always searching for unique products and opportunities. There are also opportunities for being an exhibitor or sponsor for additional exposure for your company.

We encourage you to donate items that represent what your organization/company has to offer to the trails world. See a list of examples for auction items and how to submit one... 

Town of Fountain Hills hosts its first Cyclovia 


Join American Trails and the Town of Fountain Hills for the valley's first Cyclovia on Saturday, April 13, 2013. Cyc˙lo˙via (siI kle' via) is a Spanish word signifying the temporary closure of a network of streets to cars so that they can become "open" to the people who bike, walk, skate, and participate in fun, free, and healthy activities. Cyclovia Fountain Hills is excited to join in this tradition as they open a selection of their downtown streets for biking, walking, talking, jogging, skating, and much, much more! Enjoy free health education sessions, guided walks, yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and bicycle safety courses, and explore the beautiful scenery of Fountain Hills and their surrounding walking and hiking paths. The day-long event culminates with an outdoor "Concert in the Park." Leave home a day early for your Symposium trip to enjoy all that Fountain Hills has to offer! Learn more about the Cyclovia...  


The American Trails family welcomes a new baby!

Candace & Baby Ollie Announcement  

Executive Assistant and Communications Coordinator for American Trails, Candace Mitchell, gave birth to Oliver (Ollie) Richard Mitchell-Gallagher at 3:30 p.m. on November 6 - just in time to vote! Mom, Dad, and their doctor and nurses were chatting about hiking the Grand Canyon as Ollie was being born! He is the most adorable little guy. He was born 9 pounds, 1 ounce and 19 " long. He is a BIG boy and has already outgrown most of his clothes! He and his proud Mom and Dad are all doing great! You should see Candace's smile - it lights up the room!


Candace will be out on maternity leave through the end of the year. You can send congratulations to her via or to American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049, and we will make sure she receives your messages. Melina is covering the office in her absence. Congratulations to Candace!  


Great Eastern Trail to stretch from Alabama to New York

Chattanooga would be the largest city that a long-distance trail passes through if the Great Eastern Trail is completed. The planned trail passes through nine states between New York's Finger Lakes and Alabama's Flagg Mountain. About 1,400 of the planned 1,800 miles are open for hiking on a series of already constructed or under-construction trails, such as the 300-mile Cumberland State Scenic Trail and the Pinhoti Trail. Read more and see the map...


Trail bridge completes loop in Quad Cities riverfront system

A new 600-foot trail bridge connecting Credit Island with Davenport, Iowa, was dedicated on Oct. 29. The bridge creates a new loop route, and offers other connecting possibilities as well. One can go west to Buffalo, where the city council is considering a proposal for an engineering study that would build a trail all the way to Wild Cat Den State Park in Muscatine. There are plans to expand the riverfront trail north to Princeton, said Kathy Wine, director of River Action Inc., which is based in Davenport. Read more and see photos...


Alabama conference brings trail advocates together


The Alabama Trails Conference, in its second year, aims to bring trail developers together to network and share ideas. Comments from community leaders at the meeting indicated that the conference is achieving that aim. Thomas Tartt, mayor of Livingston, said he learned for the first time about the Alabama Scenic River Trail. Now, he said, he's going to try to have a local waterway adopted into the 2,000-mile trail of navigable waterways. Read more and see photos...


Initiative would seek $25 million for elevated trail in Scottsdale, AZ

The Arizona Republic reports on a plan to build an elevated recreational trail over a major roadway. "Billed as the Scottsdale High Line Park, the 1.6-mile trail along McDowell Road would run from Indian Bend Wash to Papago Park, and include an amphitheater at the park. The $25 million initiative, if successful, would only finance an initial segment of roughly 0.6 miles." The proposal is one effort to spark economic development in south Scottsdale. Read more and see artwork...


Summit County, Ohio, plans to spend $46 million for trails

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, "Summit County trail supporters celebrated the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail in the county, then announced plans for eight regional trails with a total price tag of $46 million." From 2002 to 2012, the county has awarded 74 trails grants totaling $1.5 million that generated an additional $21.7 million in federal, state, local, and private funding. Read more... 


 onthetrailON THE TRAIL
Photo gallery: warning trail users about high water


Seasonal flooding is a fact of life for many stream side trails and greenways corridors. As with other potential hazards, it is prudent for trail managers to remind trail users to anticipate possible water on the trail. Many kinds of signs are used to warn trail users, including bilingual messages. Also very helpful are detour signs to point the way to a continuation of the route on nearby sidewalks and streets in case of flooding. See photos and descriptions... 


"The Third Mode" for future transportation


The recent American Trails Webinar, The Third Mode: Towards a Green Society, explains how our society can create better connections between people, nature, and the built environment. Presenter and author Jeff Olson grew up in American suburbia, where he realized that better planning and design were keys to a sustainable future. His vision of creating a better world will hopefully inspire a new generation. The book is now available in print and electronic formats. Learn more and order the book at 


Creating environmentally friendly mountain bike trails


Two Arizona universities, BLM, and Shimano partnered to produce Planning and Managing Environmentally Friendly Mountain Bike Trails. Results from this study support the ecological sustainability of mountain biking, while sounding a clear call to action for (a) user ethics to protect the right to ride on public lands and (b) to mitigate mountain bike trails that were poorly designed or not constructed for mountain bike use. The study includes "Mountain Biker Responsibility for Sustainable Use," and "Case Study: Lake Tahoe Basin - A User-Based Approach to Management Planning." Read more and download the full study...  


Winning federal dollars for bicycle and pedestrian projects

Statewide bicycle advocacy organizations are turning their attention to policies and processes that determine the flow of federal funds to bicycling and walking projects and programs. To that end, leaders have started to seek models that address these campaigns from a statewide perspective. This resource lists steps that advocates have taken to improve success with federal funding programs such as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), the Surface Transportation Program, the Highway Safety Improvement Programs, and Section 402 State and Community Safety Grants. Read more... 

Best practices: improving the CA Coastal Trail at Lands End


This spirit of cooperation and collaborative stewardship is best reflected in the robust volunteer program at Lands End in San Francisco. More than 3,150 community members- of all ages and from diverse backgrounds- joined to restore native habitat and maintain trails, while fostering conservation consciousness and a greater sense of civic pride. Work has included improving accessibility and wayfinding, enhancing trailheads and parking areas, and planting more than 80,000 native plants of 81 different species. Read more and see photos...



American Trails website offers gateway for both trail professionals and users


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 Professionals and Trail Users. 

  • The Trail Professionals gateway page gives quick access to our web areas on skills, training, resources, and advocacy.
  • 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. From this portal, you can check out the National Recreation Trails Database or our State-by-State pages and learn about trails and trail groups in your area.  

As always, we're interested in your feedback! Email us at


September 12 webinar on "The Third Mode" available online

American Trails is continuing to be on the cutting-edge when it comes to bringing you the latest in state-of-the-art information on all aspects of trails and greenways. We are now pleased to offer webinars available for purchase through our online store. We understand that through these tough economic times, we cannot always travel in or out of state to attend important and informative meetings in the trails industry. You can purchase an archived webinar session if you missed it on the date and time it was held. View and purchase archived webinars now...



Workshops to increase walking and walkability of local communities 


America Walks received funding from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide workshops and technical assistance to improve walkability of local communities. The goal is to help build the effectiveness of organizations, individuals, and businesses in implementing projects and campaigns that further walkability. Workshops, webinars, and other resources will be offered. Read more on workshops and learning opportunities... 


Training opportunities for 2013: see our online calendar


Check the Online Trails 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...


Here are some scheduled trail-related training opportunities coming up in December and in early 2013:


December 5 - Washington, DC

*Aligning Resources to Build a National Walking Movement


December 19 - Online Webinar

*Webinar: Wayfinding Options for Cyclists


January 29 - February 1 - Boulder City, NV

*Access to Parks and Outdoor Recreation Areas


February 7-9 - Kansas City, MO  

* 12th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference


February 10-15 - Albuquerque, NM 

* Professional Trailbuilders Association's (PTBA) 2013 Sustainable Trails Conference


March 10-14 - Portland, OR 

* Partnership Convention & Trade Show: Crossing Bridges Blazing Trails


April 14-17 - Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Resort, near Fountain Hills, AZ  

* American Trails International Trails Symposium


May 8-10 - Lake Tahoe, CA 

* California Trails and Greenways Conference


May 19-23 - Traverse City, MI 

* National Outdoor Recreation Conference


Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at


Your support helps us help trails!


American Trails strives to enrich the quality of life for all people and the sustainable development of communities by advancing and promoting the development, preservation, and enjoyment of diverse, high quality trails and greenways. We envision a network of trails within 15 minutes of every home, school, and workplace.


American Trails knows that you are passionate about trails and the positive impacts they bring to your community. We need your commitment of support in order to help us secure funding and to continue advocating for more and better trails across the country! Please take a moment to become a member of the American Trails network or make a donation to support our work...


Thank you for supporting American Trails and America's trails!  



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Header photo: Denver's Highline Canal Trail makes a big cottonwood-lined loop through Bible Park; photo by Stuart Macdonald