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Thanks to the hundreds of trails enthusiasts who joined us in Arizona for the American Trails International Trails Symposium in April!
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, and managing trails and greenways.
Efforts to save Recreational Trails Program funding continue
The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), developed remarkable communications among hundreds of national, state, and local organizations supporting the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and grassroots advocates across the nation. Yet the legislation did include a major modification to RTP - an "opt-out" for governors. In MAP-21's first year, two governors chose this option - Florida and Kansas. (Great news: CRT has learned that Kansas will not opt out of the RTP for FY 2014! The status of the Recreational Trails Program in Florida is still uncertain).
CRT members are urging governors across the country not to "opt out" to RTP for 2014.
The immediate threat to survival of the Recreational Trails Program is centered in the State that receives the largest amount of funding. California's Governor Jerry Brown is being advised to "opt out" of the RTP - in order to include those funds in a new Active Transportation Program. It is critical to retain the RTP as a discrete program, with its own defined user-paid funding. RTP-funded projects have facilitated healthy outdoor recreation for California's residents and visitors and have also supported associated, badly needed economic activity in communities across the state.
If this key state eliminates the Recreational Trails Program, it will not only be bad for the future of all types of multi-use recreational trails in California, but will also weaken the chances of keeping RTP in the next federal transportation bill.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!
Things are evolving fast, and critical decisions are being made daily. A new campaign geared to help Governor Brown understand the importance of Recreational Trails Program funding for California's trails is in play now. To learn more about how you can help save the RTP in California and keep up to date on current actions/opportunities, please visit the American Trails "Recreational Trails Program" webpage often...
Continue reading below to learn about several exceptional examples of Recreational Trails Program-funded projects making a difference in communities across the country.
June 1st is National Trails DayŽ
American Hiking Society's National Trails DayŽ is the country's largest celebration of trails. Make sure you don't miss out on the thousands of NTD activities happening all over the country. Events include hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects, and more. It is a great time to get some work done, recognize volunteers, and celebrate trails! Take an opportunity to get community leaders, State and Congressional representatives, and the media out on a Recreational Trails Program funded trail!
CLICK HERE to go to the American Hiking Society's website to find NTD events near you.
Here is a unique National Trails DayŽ Event being held in Hollywood:
An inspirational film, titled, "Mile... Mile & A Half" will be released by "The Muir Project" on June 1st. It is the story of a group of artists that, in an epic snow year, leave their daily lives behind to hike & record the historic John Muir Trail. From Yosemite to Mt. Whitney: 219 miles in 25 days. Along the way, they are joined by musicians, painters, teachers, and other adventure-seekers. In the midst of the grandeur and daily grind, they discover what matters most is the opportunity to seek inspiration and adventure wherever and whenever you can, with those around you. "Mile... Mile & A Half" is the feature-length documentary of that journey. EXPERIENCE IT on National Trails DayŽ...
June is Great Outdoors Month ~ celebrating the Economic and Health Benefits of the Great Outdoors
Excitement is growing across the nation about plans for Great Outdoors Week and Great Outdoors Month 2013. Great Outdoors Month celebrates a variety of important events and actions that occur during June, including National Trails DayŽ (June 1st) and Great Outdoors Day (June 8th), and highlights the benefits of active fun outdoors and our magnificent shared resources of forests, parks, refuges and other public lands and waters. Great Outdoors Month is coordinated by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and includes events co-hosted by more than a dozen federal agencies and national organizations.
During Great Outdoors Week, the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) will hold their Annual Achievement Awards Ceremony on Capitol Hill, as part of the ongoing effort to build awareness and appreciation of the highly successful Recreational Trails Program. Read about the CRT Annual Achievement Awards and see winners from past years...
Leading the effort, the American Recreation Coalition, along with a large coalition of outdoor recreation leaders, has once again asked the President, all 50 governors and other key officials to proclaim June as Great Outdoors Month. Proclamations generate widespread media attention, encouraging millions of American families to move outside, and prompting public discussion of important issues linked to outdoor recreation, including volunteerism, health, and outdoor ethics. In addition, the proclamations provide nationwide attention to the economic importance of recreation and the special role of the Great Outdoors in re-establishing the USA as a major destination for international visitors. The nation's health community is also increasingly vocal regarding the benefits of active time in the Great Outdoors as key to better health, better education and support for conservation. This year, ARC is encouraging governors to include their commitment to the continuation of the Recreational Trails Program in their proclamations. The proclamations will be on display in DC at Great Outdoors Week events. To view proclamations that have already been received, CLICK HERE.
Learn more about the American Recreation Coalitions' Great Outdoors Month and the various events and activities...
Outdoor recreation is essential to the American economy
How much does the Outdoor Recreation Economy generate in your state? The Outdoor Industry Association says that, "Every year, Americans spend $646 billion on outdoor recreation-- on gear, vehicles, trips, travel-related expenses, and more. This creates jobs, supports communities, generates tax revenue, and helps drive the economy. Throughout America, people recognize that outdoor recreation and open spaces attract and sustain families and businesses, create healthy communities, and foster a high quality of life." Read more and access state by state economic data...
Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway ~ an RTP-funded project ~ is awarded the prestigious Federal Highway Administration's 2013 Environmental Excellence Award
Federal Highway Administration's 2013 Environmental Excellence Award recognizes the exemplary achievements of the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway in "Nonmotorized and Multimodal Transportation." These biennial awards honor outstanding initiatives and partnerships across the United States that incorporate environmental stewardship into the planning and project development processes using FHWA funding sources. Winners have been selected from a number of exceptional nominations in several areas, which include: Air Quality Improvement and Climate Change; Collaboration and Partnership; Cultural and Historical Resources; Ecosystems, Habitat, and Wildlife; Environmental Leadership; Environmental Research; Environmental Streamlining (Every Day Counts); Geospatial Tools, Technology, and Analysis; Nonmotorized and Multimodal Transportation; Programmatic Agreements; Roadside Resource Management and Maintenance; and Wetlands, Watersheds, and Water Quality.
The Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway also won a Coalition for Recreational Trails Annual Achievement Award in the category of "Construction and Design - Long Distance" in 2012.
Learn more about the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway...
Michigan's Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway ~ an RTP-funded project ~ wins prestigious da Vinci Award for unique accessibility features
Ocqueoc Falls is one of the nation's most universally accessible waterfalls. Courtesy of grants from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, and the Recreation Improvement Fund, work has been completed to develop accessible routes to and into this popular waterfall in Michigan's NE Lower Peninsula. The concept of a stepped rock slope to the river was something totally new and unheard of. It includes a paved approach to three choices to access the river; a paved path to a boardwalk, broad stone steps, and a stepped rock slope. VIEW AN EXCELLENT VIDEO about the project...
RTP grant funding in the amount of $161,000 provided the matching funds to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant of $500,000.
In April, the Michigan Chapter of the National MS Society awarded the Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway project its prestigious da Vinci Award for "Environmental Adaptation/Daily Living or Work Aids." The da Vinci Awards celebrate innovations providing equal access and opportunity for all.
LEARN MORE about this RTP-funded project by visiting the Michigan DNR website...
Cedar Valley Trails ~ an RTP-funded project ~ named 2012 Outstanding Tourist Attraction
The Iowa Tourism Office and the Travel Federation of Iowa presented Cedar Valley Trails with the state's Outstanding Tourism Attraction award for 2012. This popular trail system, that has received Recreational Trails Funding, was one of several projects recognized for excellence in the tourism industry at the recent Iowa Tourism Conference. This 100-mile hard-surfaced, multi-purpose trail system began with an idea to convert abandoned railways and borrow pits to a chain-of-lakes and lineal park, and has blossomed into one of the area's most cherished resources. Read more and see photos...
Minneapolis bikers targeted with sticks, rocks, Molotov cocktail
The Atlantic reports on the latest assaults on the Midtown Greenway and recounts disturbing incidents that have marred the trail over the years: "But it's only the latest in a string of attacks on cyclists on the Greenway, an otherwise pleasant 5.5 mile trail for bikers and joggers sited along an old railroad track in south Minneapolis. Wanderers of the scenic byway have been punched, dragged screaming into the woods, had rocks thrown at them, basically everything except set on fire..." Read more and see photos...
And the worst trail user is...
Jill Missal wrote in the Anchorage Press that "the lobbying for user-specific trails has created the idea that all user groups must be strictly separated to maintain peace and safety and spare people the hassle of learning to share and cooperate." She concludes that "Bad trail users are why we have endless rules, endless conflicts, and have to take endless surveys and go to endless public meetings. It seems that every group has complaints about the others." Read more...
| AMERICAN TRAILS|
INTERNATIONAL TRAILS SYMPOSIUM
Thank you all for a great Trails Symposium!
We would like to thank everyone who joined us in Arizona for the American Trails International Trails Symposium. There were attendees from every State except Nebraska, and eleven different countries. We especially want to recognize our guests who came from several countries across five continents:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
In all, there were 520 attendees, including over 150 cutting-edge presenters. Among them were 118 generous sponsors, who provided 103 booths in the Exhibit Hall. And, we're grateful to the dedicated and inspired Arizona Planning Team and for the more than 150 incredible volunteers from Arizona and around the country! We were all impressed by the projects, people, and organizations who are creating a new culture of trails in many lands. American trails will be bringing you more ideas and endeavors from our allies in trails across the globe. Read more on the American Trails Blog...
National-- and International-- Trails Awards from American Trails
Check out the winners of the 2013 American Trails' National Trails Awards! Find out more about the winners by learning about their innovative techniques and problem solving, and the hard work they are doing to help build, improve, and enhance trails! The National Trails Awards program is one way American Trails recognizes the exemplary people who work to create a national system of trails to meet the recreation, health, and travel needs of Americans-- including those abroad. The awards honor outstanding efforts of agencies, trail professionals, the private sector, corporations, advocates, media, those creating healthier communities and people, groups dedicated to getting kids out on trails and into the outdoors, and others. Read more and see all the 2013 Awards...
Programs and presenters cover the world of trails ~ presentations have been posted
The educational sessions at the American Trails International Trails Symposium covered the world of trails, from concepts to construction to promotion. This year we included 18 in-depth Core Tracks, along with 10 Featured Workshops, 19 Mobile Workshops, and 50 Concurrent Sessions. In addition the program included Poster Sessions, Trail Talk Breakfasts, and Keynote Presentations. All told, there were close to 200 people who gave a presentation, took part in a discussion, hosted a field trip, or spoke to the crowd.
Read about sessions and view presentations submitted to us by visiting these pages:
Hulet Hornbeck Young Adult Scholars featured at Symposium
The "Hulet Hornbeck Youth Scholarship Program" provided training and mentoring opportunities at the American Trails International Trails Symposium to inspire young adults to choose a career path so they, too, can leave a lasting legacy on the world-- as Hulet did. Eighteen youth, ages 18 to 26, attended the 2013 Symposium on scholarship to learn more about the profession of trails, trail planning, and trail management. These young men and women are from all over the United States and Canada. Meet the Hulet Hornbeck Youth Scholars...
A special thanks to our Symposium sponsors and exhibitors
Our heartfelt thanks goes out to the many people who gave their efforts and enthusiasm to make the Symposium so successful. In particular we want to thank the many sponsors and exhibitors who make the Symposium possible as well as affordable. We hope you will take a look at the web page for our sponsors and remember their support when you are considering purchasing trail equipment, supplies, and services. Learn more about Symposium sponsors and exhibitors...
- American Trails
- Arizona State Parks
- Radisson Fort McDowell Resort Destination
- Central Arizona Project
- Fountain Hills CVB
- Mesa CVB
- Scottsdale CVB
- 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 ASLA Chapter
- Arizona Community Foundation
- Arizona Game & Fish
- Arizona Horse Council
- Arizona Parks & Recreation Association
- Arizona Trail Association
- Arizona Trails Travel
- ASARCO, LLC
- Asphalt Systems / USA Soy Solutions
- Aztec Engineering Group, Inc.
- Backcountry Horsemen of America
- Bass Pro Shops
- Bellfree Contractors, Inc.
- Beneficial Designs
- Berntsen International, Inc.
- Bikepath Country
- Bingham Equipment Co.
- Black Canyon Trail Coalition
- California Trails & Greenways Conference
- Canycom USA, Inc.
- City of Peoria
- City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation and Streets Department
- Coe and Van Loo Consultants
- Contech Engineered Solutions
- Creative Pultrusions, Inc.
- Dayton, Ohio Region
- Decorative Paving Solutions
- E.T. Techtonics, Inc.
- Envirosigns, Ltd.
- Erica Fielder Studio
- Evapolet LLC
- Gail Materials
- GatorBridge & GatorDock
- Integrated Touch Somatic Therapy
- Interpretive Graphics, Signs, & Systems
- Irvine Ranch Conservancy
- iZone Imaging
- J2 Engineering & Environmental Design
- Jeju Olle Foundation
- K Design
- Kafka Granite
- Kalamazoo Materials, Inc.
- Kathy Loper Events
- Kay-Linn Enterprises
- National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
- Nez Perce National Historic Trail
- Northwest Woodland Services, Inc.
- Okanogan Trail Construction, Inc.
- Olsson Associates
- Pannier Graphics
- Paris Equipment Manufacturing, Ltd.
- Pennsylvania Equine Council
- Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation
- Pima Trails Association
- Pink Adventure Tours
- Pioneer Bridges
- Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls
- 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
- Salsco, Inc.
- Santa Fe Trail Association
- Singletrack Trails
- Sol, Inc.
- Southwest Conservation Corps
- Salt River Project (SRP)
- St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center
- Stabilizer Solutions, Inc.
- Sutter Equipment Company, Inc.
- SWECO Products, Inc.
- TechniSoil Global Inc.
- Terrabilt Wayfinding Systems
- Texas Recreation and Park Society
- Tierra Right of Way Services
- Tour-Mate Systems
- Town of Pinetop-Lakeside / TRACKS (AZ White Mountains Trail System)
- Tread Lightly!
- TriActive America
- Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Two Horse Enterprises
- Voss Signs
- Waste Management
- Waterford Press
- Waypoint Amenities
- Western Wood Preservers Institute
- World Trail Network
- Yavapai Trails Association / Prescott Mile High Trail System
Sustainable trails: doing it right the first time
Trail designer and consultant, John Favro (American Trails Board Chair) asks, "When you construct or reroute a trail, you are putting a structure on the landscape that will be there, in good or bad condition, for 100 years or more in most places. So why not do it right?" There are three basic rules John has when he begins laying out a trail:
- Find what the sustainable grade should be.
- Locate the trail on a sideslope, never on flat ground.
- Follow a curvilinear alignment.
Read more and see photos...
Richard Louv's new book The Nature Principle reviewed by Roger Bell
American Trails Board Member Roger Bell reviews The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, by Richard Louv, author of the widely acclaimed Last Child in the Woods. "The new book is equally compelling, loaded with revelations and insights and offering timely remedies for the pervasive malaise Louv identifies. He focuses more broadly on adult culture, which he finds every bit as problematic." Read the full review...
Purchase The Nature Principle in the American Trails Online Bookstore.
Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded trail: Neutaconkanut Hill, Providence, Rhode Island
The highest point in Providence is historic Neutaconkanut Hill, now a model of public agency and private nonprofit collaboration. A Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant has enabled the Neutaconkanut Hill Conservancy and the City of Providence Parks Department to improve trails by clearing brush, installing a variety of erosion control measures, installing trail markers, and installing wooded boardwalks in low-lying areas. Read more and see photos...
Central Arizona Project Canal Trail: a pathway for water and people
Tom Fitzgerald provides details of the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal, a key lifeline for central Arizona, as well as a recreation corridor. Built by the Bureau of Reclamation at a cost of $3.6 billion, this 336-mile long system of open canal, pipelines, siphons, and tunnels brings Colorado River water to the heart of Arizona. Another benefit is a long distance, non-motorized, multi-use recreational trail in the canal corridor. The CAP was designated a National Recreation Trail in 2003. Read more and see photos...
Best practices: artistic elements enliven trail surfaces
Many kinds of art have been applied to the surfaces of paved trails. We find poems, words of wisdom, the names of local birds, and snippets of history engraved in concrete. Plaques provide a more durable inset, often of metal. Ceramics are also set into the concrete as mosaics or other pieces of art. The concrete can also be colored or tinted to create bold patterns. Plants, animals, and local history are all popular topics. See American Trails' Cool Trail Solutions gallery of artistic trail surface treatment photos...
| TRAINING & EDUCATION|
RIDE ON Designated Routes campaign preserves Utah trails
Tread Lightly! has created a new statewide campaign to help educate outdoor enthusiasts who use motorized vehicles on Utah's public lands. The RIDE ON Designated Route campaign unites the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration together in an effort to spread a consistent message throughout the state. It includes funding from Yamaha's OHV Access Initiative and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. (The Yamaha Motor Corporation won American Trails 2013 National Corporate Award.) Learn more about the Designated Routes educational program...
Posters promote OHV safety education in Minnesota schools
The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) created an innovative safety education program to post key messages on walls and lockers in K-12 schools. Colorful, 5-by-5 foot posters were on display at 23 schools in five Minnesota school districts. "The School Media Project was a great opportunity for us to get important safety messages in front of the people that need them the most: students, parents, and teachers," said Karen Umphress, NOHVCC Project Manager (and American Trails Board Member). Read more and see posters...
Marketing Toolbox for Mississippi River Trail Bikeway
"Minnesota has been working to develop a series of bicycle-friendly communities along the 800 miles of the Mississippi River Trail Bikeway in the state," says Liz Walton of MN Department of Transportation. "As cities become more bike-friendly, MnDOT wants its partners to have tools and information they need to effectively market the MRT, and bicycling in general." A marketing plan development flow chart is provided to help identify the information needed to make marketing efforts a success. Read more and download pdf of the full document...
Economic benefits of the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail System
The "Economic and Impact Analysis of the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail System" provides a very positive outlook for the future economic and usage impact of the trail system on the Calhoun County (AL) economy. The study was completed in July 2012 by the Center for Economic Development at Jacksonville State University. Annual users projected between 50,000 and 150,000 with a direct impact from spending between $1.27 million and $3.81 million. Read more and download the full study...
Upcoming trail-related training opportunities
Here are some of the trail-related training opportunities coming up in summer 2013. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details...
June 6-8 - Green Bay, Wl
* International Snowmobile Congress
June 17-21 - Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
* Accessibility Management in Parks, Recreation and Tourism
June 18-19 - Greenfield, NH
* Sustainable Trails For All Conference
June 26-30 - Manitou Springs, CO
* United Four Wheel Drive Association Convention
July 18-20 - Rock Hill, SC
* 2013 National Equestrian Trails Conference
The Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School will be held with local sponsors in numerous places this summer, highlighting hands-on training in sustainable trail building and management. See the calendar for dates and locations...
Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
| JOIN THE AMERICAN TRAILS NETWORK|
Working together - works! There is strength in numbers!
For over 25 years, American Trails has been a collective voice for a diverse coalition of enthusiasts, professionals, advocates, land managers, conservationists, and friends of the outdoors and livable cities. 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 will continue to keep you informed on both trail know-how and issues critical to the future of trails. With your help, we can increase funding for trails, keep more trails open, and improve the health and well-being of Americans of all ages and abilities, including our children.
- Visit our Blog.
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- Find Products and Services for Trails.
- Purchase books, maps, memberships, and webinars through the American Trails Online Store.
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- American Trails - maintains one of the World's most comprehensive online go-to sources for planning, designing, building, funding, managing, enhancing, and supporting trails and greenways at www.AmericanTrails.org.
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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: Brins Mesa Trail, Sedona, AZ; photo by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, CVL Hike Club, www.cvlci.com