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  Schedule-At-A-Glance now available online! 


Early registration for the International Trails Symposium ends Feb. 15! 


HIGHLIGHTED FEATURED WORKSHOPS: Becoming a Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer & Master Tread Trainer 


Host hotels filling up ~ reserve your room now! 


Janine Shepard will be the Closing Keynote at Symposium 


You can contribute to the Symposium: volunteer, auctions, mentor a youth, and more! 


In-depth Core Tracks added to Symposium schedule 


Symposium offers 26 Mobile Workshops for all trail interests 


Thank you to our Symposium sponsors and exhibitors 


Welcome international speakers, keynotes, and attendees 




  National Geographic Map Ad 









Like us on Facebook 


Follow us on Twitter 


Visit our blog 







Annual Awards for Recreational Trails Program-funded projects 


FHWA seeks nominations for Environmental Excellence Awards 


A season for thanks to friends of trails 


See new photos from nominations for the 2012 National Recreation Trails Photo Contest 


 "Breaking Barriers" aims to engage youth in the outdoors 


Keep up to date on trail funding and legislation 





James Swan writes about American Trails for Outdoor Hub

Michigan Governor proposes 924-mile trail to show off state

600-mile snowmobile trail would link Maine wind farms

Mississippi begins work on 44-mile rail trail

Lake Wobegon Trail used three times higher than thought

Trail users put aside differences to clear path




Featured Trail: New York's High Line soars above the city streets

Howard Peak Greenway is a key part of San Antonio's trails vision

America's Great Outdoors Progress Report

Combating the marijuana cartels on America's public lands

Best Practices: Signs crediting grants and programs 


Questions and Answers from webinar on "The Third Mode"

Purchase archived webinars in the American Trails Online Store

Ice Age Trail Association provides training for volunteers

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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January/February 2013 

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!


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


April 14-17, 2013 ~ Fountain Hills, Arizona

AT ITS 2013 logo
Schedule-At-A-Glance now available online!

View a draft schedule of the entire International Trails Symposium, including pre and post workshops and events, exhibit hall hours, a list of Core Tracks, and more. Please note: the dates and time slots of the Concurrent Sessions are listed, but their titles and presenters will not be announced until closer to the Symposium. Details are still being worked out. View the Schedule-At-A-Glance now...


Early registration ends February 15th!

Register online today to take advantage of the early registration rate of only $395 for a full registration for an American Trails member or $470 for a nonmember. A membership can be purchased at the same time you register. A full registration includes an entire meal package for the 4 core days of the conference, access to the exhibit hall, and endless networking opportunities! (Mobile and Featured Workshops are additional fees.) REGISTER NOW and learn more, including prices for single days, and separate meal packages for spouses or exhibit booth staffers...




Becoming a Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer & Master Tread Trainer


Coordinated by Tread Lightly!, a proud member of the
National Trails Training Partnership

  • Date: Sunday, April 14
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Cost: $102 (includes breakfast and lunch)


This program is designed to train participants in innovative, practical methods of spreading outdoor ethics to the public with a curriculum specifically focused on motorized and mechanized recreation. Completing the one-day Tread Trainer course will qualify the participant to become a Tread Lightly! representative - a "Tread Trainer." Once a participant becomes a Tread Trainer, he or she is equipped to present the Tread Lightly! message to other educators, clubs, employees, visitors, enthusiasts, or community members. The program was created as a mechanism to disseminate the Tread Lightly! message of responsible recreation through volunteerism.


Coordinated by Tread Lightly!, a proud member of the National Trails Training Partnership

  • Date: Thursday, April 18 & Friday, April 19
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (both days)
  • Cost: $174 (includes breakfast and lunch both days)


Tread Lightly!'s Master Tread Trainer course is a two-day course designed to provide an in-depth look at outdoor ethics focusing on motorized and mechanized recreation on both land and water. Participation in the course qualifies individuals to present the Tread Lightly! message consistently to others in their state or region.


Learn more about these and other Featured Workshops...


Host hotels filling up! Reserve your room now!

The 21st International Trails Symposium has three host hotels in Fountain Hills, one onsite and two others within five miles. Hotel contact and room information, cut-off dates, shuttles, and more can be found online. Mention the group American Trails International Trails Symposium for special rates that range from $89.99 to $109.00 per night, plus taxes.


  • Radisson Fort McDowell Resort
  • Holiday Inn
  • Comfort Inn


Learn more about the host hotels...



Janine Shepherd will be the Closing Keynote at Symposium

"Rising Like a Phoenix: A Testament to the Power of the Human Spirit"


A champion cross-country skier in training for the Winter Olympics, Janine's life was irrevocably altered when she was hit by a truck on a bike ride. Doctors warned her parents that she was not expected to survive her extensive injuries. Struggling to come to terms with her shattered Olympic dreams, and wondering what life could now offer, Janine's fighting spirit and miraculous recovery and subsequent achievements are a testament to the power of the human spirit. Read more about Janine Shepard...  


You can contribute to the Symposium!

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

Volunteer mentors are being sought to guide recipients of the Hulet Hornbeck Youth Scholarship during the Symposium. Mentors are needed to help introduce youth participants to professionals and provide information about job and career opportunities in conservation and resource management. This experience will aid in developing new trail and natural resource stewards and leaders for the future. Download the Mentor Letter and the Mentor Application to learn more. Deadline for Mentor Applications extended to February 11. Learn more about the Hulet Hornbeck Youth Scholarhip Fund...


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 28. Email them to symposium@americantrails.org along with the name of the bridge, trail name, location, and 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 28 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 and two high resolution photos to symposium@americantrails.org.


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 of auction items and how to donate one... 


In-depth Core Tracks added to Symposium schedule

A major innovation for this year's Symposium is a new format option called Core Tracks. Core Tracks are designed to allow presenters to explore subjects in greater depth than is possible in a 75 minute Concurrent Session. This will allow ample time for in-depth presentations, discussion, examples, and practice, and some sessions include field work. Registration is only required for OFFSITE Core Tracks taking place the morning of Tuesday, April 16. (Please note: Some of the Core Tracks have a Part 1 and a Part 2. Some sessions are held in the classroom and some are offsite. It is highly encouraged that you attend both Part 1 and Part 2.) Learn more and view a list of the Core Tracks...



Symposium offers 26 Mobile Workshops for all trail interests


Choose from 26 Mobile Workshops that will be offered at the American Trails International Trails Symposium in April 2013. You'll find an educational field trip for every trail interest, including hiking, kayaking, four-wheeling, horseback riding, mountain bicycling, ATV riding, and more. Experience Arizona's varied backcountry as well as interesting communities committed to more walking and bicycling opportunities. See details of all Mobile Workshops... 



Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors!


Exhibitors: sign up with your support and choose your booth location in the order your contract is received 


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 Discovery Trail Society 
  • American Quarter Horse Association - STEP Program
  • Arizona Community Foundation
  • Arizona Horse Council
  • Arizona Trail Association   
  • Arizona Trails Travel
  • Asphalt Systems / USA Soy Solutions
  • Aztec Engineering Group, Inc. 
  • Backcountry Horsemen of America
  • Bellfree Contractors, Inc.
  • Beneficial Designs
  • Berntsen International, Inc. 
  • 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.
  • Eco-Counter 
  • Envirosigns, Ltd.
  • Erica Fielder Studio
  • Evapolet LLC 
  • Gail Materials
  • GameTime
  • GatorBridge & GatorDock 
  • GroveSite
  • Integrated Touch Somatic Therapy 
  • Interpretive Graphics, Signs, & Systems
  • Irvine Ranch Conservancy
  • iZone
  • Jeju Olle Trail 
  • K Design
  • Kafka Granite 
  • Kalamazoo Materials, Inc. 
  • Kay-Linn Enterprises
  • National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
  • Northwest Woodland Services, Inc.
  • Okanogan Trail Construction, Inc.
  • Pannier Graphics 
  • Paris Equipment Manufacturing, Ltd. 
  • Pennsylvania Equine Council
  • Pima Trails Association
  • Pink Adventure Tours 
  • Pioneer Bridges
  • Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls
  • PlayCore 
  • Professional Trailbuilders Association
  • Project Groundwork 
  • Quad Cities CVB
  • Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • Recreation Solutions USDA Forest Service 
  • 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.
  • Sutter Equipment Company, Inc. 
  • TechniSoil North America, LLC 
  • 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 Press
  • Western Wood Preservers Institute  
  • Wheeler
  • Yavapai Trails Association / Prescott Mile High Trail System
Welcome INTERNATIONAL speakers, keynotes, and attendees


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
  • Japan 
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom  


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


whatshot WHAT'S HOT


Annual Awards for Recreational Trails Program-funded projects


The Coalition for Recreational Trails, a federation of national and regional trail-related organizations, hosts an annual achievement awards program to recognize outstanding trail projects funded by the Recreational Trails Program. The winners are recognized each year in Washington, D.C. during the American Recreation Coalition's Great Outdoors Week in early June. Read more and download nomination form...


FHWA seeks nominations for Environmental Excellence Awards


The Environmental Excellence Awards recognize partners, projects, and processes across the United States that use FHWA funding sources to go beyond environmental compliance and achieve environmental excellence. Awardees must make an outstanding contribution that exceeds traditional expectations for transportation projects and encourages environmental stewardship and partnerships. Deadline has been extended to February 15. Read more...



A season for thanks to friends of trails


American Trails' website editor, Stuart Macdonald, expresses thanks for 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. We thank the many friends of trails, volunteers, workers, and elected officials, as well as "the optimists who refuse to give up, who believe that every problem has a solution, and that every community deserves a trail." Read our Blog on what we're thankful for... 



See new photos from nominations for the 2012 National Recreation Trails Photo Contest 


American Trails sponsors an annual contest for photographs of National Recreation Trails across the country. All the entries are displayed on the NRT website. We will provide awards in several categories and showcase the winners in February. The goal is to highlight the diversity of the NRTs and to make more Americans familiar with these great trails. See galleries of photos entered in the NRT Photo Contest...



"Breaking Barriers" aims to engage youth in the outdoors


Young people are spending less time outdoors and more time in front of a screen than ever before. As a result, more and more young people are disconnected from the natural world. This disturbing trend has implications for their health and well-being, academic success, civic engagement, and their future interest in both public lands and the environment. The Breaking Barriers Project undertook a year-long, action-oriented, research project designed to increase understanding of what prevents and what motivates youth to participate in activities outdoors. Read more and download the full report... 



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...



James Swan writes about American Trails for Outdoor Hub


In a recent internet article author James Swan writes about "American Trails: A National Movement Spreading Worldwide." He cites their efforts to "get people outside to do what's good for them." He quotes Pam Gluck, American Trails Executive Director on the benefits: "Trails also play a key role in increasing environmental awareness, by revitalizing river corridors, as well as providing fun alternatives to driving." Read more...





600-mile snowmobile trail would link Maine wind farms


Maine snowmobilers love to have destinations for their wintertime rides, and they are working with the wind power industry on a plan to link perhaps 10 of the state's wind farms with trails in a unique addition to Maine's outdoor tourism menu. The wind power companies, for their part, make a practice of reaching out to those who have some connection to the land where their projects are going, through hunting, fishing, or other outdoor recreational activity. Read more and see photos...



Mississippi begins work on 44-mile rail trail


Tanglefoot Trail runs through three North Mississippi counties -- Union, Pontotoc, and Chickasaw. The Trail begins in New Albany and runs 44 miles south to Houston, MS. If all goes according to schedule, the trail should be complete and open for public use by late spring or early summer 2013. The Chickasaw Journal quoted Lee Nabors, a trail advocate from Houston: "There is not a doubt in my mind that once the trail is open the entrepreneurial spirit of people around here will find a way to capitalize on this project." Read more and see photos... 



Lake Wobegon Trail used three times higher than thought


The Stearns County Times reports that, "About three times more people used the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail than originally thought, according to a summer count that estimated annual visits at 311,433." Stearns County Parks Director Chuck Wocken said he believed that number was even higher. Because the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Coalition pilot project was conducted only during the summer, Wocken said winter uses, such as snowmobiling, likely were under-represented. Read more...



Trail users put aside differences to clear path


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about an effort by the U.S. Forest Service in north Georgia to bring together bikers, equestrians, and off-roaders with the goal of getting more volunteers together to share expertise and work in concert for the trail systems. "The U.S. Forest Service didn't have a good database of trail conditions, nor did they have the manpower or money to maintain them," said Dave Logan, a member of the Southern Four-Wheel Drive Association. "We wanted to see what we had, what trails needed to be fixed, what needed to be closed or rerouted. Now, we as volunteers have a work plan." Read more... 



Featured Trail: New York's High Line soars above the city streets


Photographer Don Andberg provides some views of the former elevated railroad line that is now a linear park soaring above the Manhattan streets. The new High Line has been acclaimed for enhancing the life of the city, while spurring new investment in the West Chelsea neighborhood. Over two million people visited the park during its first year of operation in 2009-10. Read more and see Don's photos of the High Line... 



Howard Peak Greenway is a key part of San Antonio's trails vision


The City of San Antonio Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail System currently boasts a total of 41 miles of completed trail and several more miles of trail under construction and in the design phase. These trails were completed through the Linear Park Creekway Development Program for Salado Creek, Leon Creek, Medina River, and the San Antonio River, which is funded through sales tax approved by voters in 2000, 2005, and 2010. Approximately 1,200 acres of property along San Antonio Creekways have been acquired for the program since its inception. Read more and see photos... 



America's Great Outdoors Progress Report


The Obama Administration released the 2011 America's Great Outdoors Progress Report on how the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative is being addressed by 15 federal agencies. "The quality and accessibility of our outdoor spaces have a significant impact on the economic and physical health of American communities," said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. "Actions under the America's Great Outdoors initiative are reinvigorating a national discussion about the value of conservation, resulting in smart, innovative strategies and investments that respond to the priorities of American communities." Read more and download the full study... 



Combating marijuana cartels on America's public lands


Americans may disagree over the legalization of marijuana, but not when it comes to the pot plantations fast turning once-pristine corners of our public lands into environmentally ravaged war zones. These illicit wilderness farms are guarded by armed gangs, who are willing to kill innocent hikers and law enforcement personnel to protect their profits. In "War in the Woods," California Fish and Game Warden Lieutenant John Nores and author James Swan recount in riveting detail the perilous job of eradicating pot plantations. Read more... 



Best Practices: Signs crediting grants and programs


The message that "trails don't just happen" is vital in nurturing public support for the funding sources behind trails. The source of funds for land acquisition as well as facilities is also important. Some programs are specific to a locality, such as sales tax support. Other projects are funded by state sources, such as lotteries. And many trails are partly funded by grants from federal funds, such as the Recreational Trails Program and the Land & Water Conservation Fund. See gallery of photos of funding signs... 



Questions and Answers from webinar on "The Third Mode"


Jeff Olson, Andy Clarke, and Bob Searns answer questions asked during the webinar on The Third Mode: Towards a Green Society. The event was held September 12, 2012, and covers the latest issues and policies in planning and designing urban mobility networks, and how to integrate transportation with greenways and trails to create seamless metro-wide systems. Learn more and read the Q and A... 


Purchase archived webinars in the American Trails Online Store 


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, via the American Trails "Advancing Trails" Webinar Series, and 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 and upcoming webinars now... 


Archived webinars: 

  • The Third Mode: Connecting Greenways, Trails and Active Mobility  
  • Making the Case for Trails in Tight Economic Times
  • Other Power Driven Mobility Devices
  • Telling a Better Story: Best Practices for Interpretive Panels for Trails
  • Water Trail Accessibility: Assessing and Creating More Accessible Facilities and Programs
  • The Art of Sustainable Trail Management 

More American Trails webinars planned in coming months


The American Trails "Advancing Trails" webinar series will bring top-quality training to your desktop. We're working on more programs to cover important topics for trails and greenways. CEUs will be offered on future webinars starting in summer 2013. Stay tuned for more details! 


Here are some we're working on now:

  • Creative Funding
  • World-Class Bridges
  • Urban Trails in Difficult Places
  • Urban Paddle Way Planning and Design
  • The Nitty Gritty of Tunnels, Culverts, and Crossings
  • How to Plan and Build Top-Notch Equestrian Facilities

Read more on the American Trails "Advancing Trails" webinar series...


Ice Age Trail Association provides training for volunteers 


Complementing the many volunteer opportunities available through the Ice Age Trail Alliance's 21 local chapters is the IATA's statewide Mobile Skills Crew trail building program. The program's vision is to build a statewide group of volunteers who are trained in advanced crew leadership and trail construction techniques. Read more about the Mobile Skills Crew training...



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 early 2013:


February 7-9 - Kansas City, MO  

* 12th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference


February 7-10 - Phoenix, AZ

* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School


February 9-14 - Washington, DC

* American Hiking Society's Hike the Hill


February 10-15 - Albuquerque, NM 

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


February 25 - March 1 - Washington, DC

* Universal Approach to Interpretive Planning, Programs, and Design


March 8-10 - Mobile, AL

* Alabama Hiking Trail 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  

* 21st 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 nttp@americantrails.org.



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: On the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Mill Creek Canyon, Utah; Christmas Day, 2012; photo by Stuart Macdonald