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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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American Trails Webinar Series continues with new programs
American Trails is working to create a dynamic online Webinar series to help trail planners, supporters, and managers learn about focused topics of special interest. Our webinars are now eligible for CEUs through the Texas Recreation and Park Society, an authorized independent CEU provider through International Association for Continuing Education and Training. Our 75 minute webinars are worth .10 CEUs.
Check out upcoming webinars for 2013:
Introduction to Trail Maintenance Management Planning (presented by Kim Frederick, Chinook Associates LLC)
Trail Tread - Maintenance & Construction of Erosion Control Structures & Surface Water Management (presented by Kim Frederick, Chinook Associates LLC)
Equestrian Design & Construction (presented by Jan Hancock, Hancock Resources LLC)
Read more and see current Webinar schedule...
Many Symposium workshop presentations are now online
Now online are dozens of presentations from the American Trails International Trails Symposium. These are online slide shows from the presentations provided by speakers. Topics cover the full range of trails of all types, with an emphasis on new technology, planning techniques, enhancing tourism, and managing trails. See presentations in Concurrent Sessions and Core Tracks descriptions...
How trails benefit the environment: the American Trails Blog
In many places trails are a key ingredient in preserving open space and encouraging public interest in habitat and natural landscapes. In southern California, trails are especially important in preserving public access to stream corridors and the coast. We wanted to share a concise and well-written explanation of how trails promote natural resource management strategies that ensure environmental preservation, quality of life, and economic development. Read more on the American Trails Blog...
Foxx became the new Secretary of Transportation on July 2, 2013
Anthony Foxx joined the U.S. Department of Transportation after serving as the Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, from 2009 to 2013. During that time, he made efficient and innovative transportation investments the centerpiece of Charlotte's job creation and economic recovery efforts. These investments included extending the LYNX light rail system, the largest capital project ever undertaken by the city, which will build new roads, bridges, transit as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities; ...and starting the Charlotte Streetcar project. As Mayor, he promoted a vision and advocated for policies to make the city more pedestrian and bike friendly to help attract new businesses, residents, and visitors. Foxx was confirmed by the full U.S. Senate in a unanimous vote of 100-0 on June 27. Learn more...
Business owners are seeing the benefits of bike infrastructure
"In a growing number of communities, retailers are going beyond individual efforts and banding together to find ways to appeal to cyclists," writes Carolyn Szczepanski in Momentum Mag. Many examples from around the country illustrate how leaders in the public and private sector are realizing that being bike-friendly makes good business sense, boosting the bottom line, and promoting community-wide economic development. Read more and see photos...
Sponsorship signs to appear along St. Marks Trail
According to WCTV, a local TV station in Tallahassee, FL: Florida Park Service announced this week that it is trying to find sponsors for seven trails across the state in hopes that private companies will help to foot the bill for the upkeep. The state spends just over 100-thousand dollars a year to maintain the St. Marks Trail. "It basically announces their name as a sponsor of that trail. It's not a billboard. There are specific requirements for size and what the sign says and we have to approve the signs," said Doug Alderson with Florida's Office of Greenways and Trails. Read more...
Trail towns: communities adopting the North Country Trail
The Grand Rapids Press reported on "Trail Towns" along the long-distance North Country Trail: "Non-motorized trails provide a huge economic stimulus to the state and local communities. People travel to use them and spend money to do so. They buy guide books and gear, new hiking boots and apparel, food, gas, lodging, and a multitude of things while traveling. North Country Trail Association staffers now say they, too, are learning the value of their trail and have switched gears in recent years to make more connections with communities along the seven-state route." Read more and see photos...
South Carolina's cross-state trail gets help from Boeing
The Charleston City Paper reports on South Carolina's Palmetto Trail, which is supported by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation. After almost two decades, the existing pathway is 100 miles shy of completion. The lack of state funding forced PCF to seek corporate support, with much of the trail having been built with help from companies like BMW, REI, and Duke Energy. The PCF is still in need of a master plan to start filling in the trail's gaps. Now, thanks to funding from the Boeing Corporation, PCF will be able to develop that plan for the Palmetto Trail. Read more and see photos...
St. Louis plans 1.5-mile elevated trail through downtown
The St. Louis Beacon reports on "The Trestle," a project to transform an abandoned rail line built to access bridges over the Mississippi, into a 1.5-mile elevated park in the heart of Old North St. Louis. According to the Great Rivers Greenway group, "The abandoned rail trestle will be transformed into an elevated park, putting St. Louis on a short list with New York City and Paris, France, as one of the only cities in the world with such an attraction." Read more and see photos...
Bob Searns reflects on the past and future of trails
Former Chair of American Trails, Bob Searns, discusses important areas where American Trails and the trails community should be focusing going forward. He highlights expanding advocacy at the state, local, and grass roots level. "This includes understanding new trends, exploring new trail activities, enhancing the databases, and other efforts. As part of this strategy American Trails will be building its ties to the international trails community as well as expanding local engagement." Read more...
Tourism groups develop trails to Turkish history and culture
The whole country of Turkey is dense with both history and natural beauty, and much of it remains undiscovered or under-appreciated. The task of bringing these treasures back to the world's consciousness is often left to enthusiasts, writers, or individual tour operators who have found a love of this region and its people. In response, there is a growing movement of trail enthusiasts and tourism professionals who are discovering the need to take matters into their own hands. Read more and see photos...
Featured National Recreation Trail: Lower Cache River Trail, Illinois
This three-mile paddling and hiking trail, a designated National Recreation Trail, is the result of a partnership between Illinois DNR, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Nature Conservancy to preserve, restore, and manage a 60,000-acre complex of wetlands. The Lower Cache is best known for its remnant examples of high quality wetlands which once were prominent in the Cache River Valley of Pulaski County, IL. Paddlers and hikers will find much to see in the way of wildlife, birds, and a true southern cypress/tupelo swamp. Read more and see photos...
Global trail warming: the worldwide trail revolution heats up
Tony Boone writes, "After traveling and digging in a handful of countries over the past several years, I have been amazed at the increasing international awareness and the intensifying desire for recreational trails. Those that know the joys and benefits of hiking, running, or riding a simple path through nature can celebrate. Finally the economic, physical, environmental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of trails are becoming obvious on a global basis. Read more and see photos...
Best Practices: Planning and Building an Urban Greenway
The story of the South Platte River Greenway in the Denver metro area covers the challenges of design in a constricted river corridor to creating a nonprofit foundation to manage the trail. Four Colorado experts discuss:
- Participation by multiple municipalities, agencies, and flood control district
- Combining stream stabilization improvements with trail construction
- Strategies for negotiations for property acquisition and trail rights-of-way
- Site challenges and the construction solutions and techniques
- River Corridor park and trail master planning, public involvement
View the 156-slide presentation from the American Trails International Trails Symposium...
| TRAINING & EDUCATION|
Archived Webinar: Building Your Trail Right the First Time
Professional trail consultant, and newly elected Chair of the American Trails Board, John Favro teaches how to place a trail on the landscape so that it is consistent with the natural environment so that it will be aesthetically pleasing, meet user needs, and require minimal maintenance in the future. Learn more about the influences of water on trail alignments, the use of control points in trail layout, and how to determine sustainable grade. Access the archived webinar in the American Trails Store...
BLM offers free trail etiquette and safety posters
The Bureau of Land Management has trail etiquette and safety posters available for free download. They were designed for the Campbell Tract, a forested recreation site in the heart of Anchorage, AK managed by the BLM. With its 12 miles of trails, including the popular Campbell Tract Loop Trail, the tract offers four-season outdoor recreation opportunities. The area's diverse plants, wildlife, and habitats also serve as a wonderful outdoor classroom for the Anchorage community. Read more and see posters...
Winning Federal dollars for bicycle and pedestrian projects
Advocacy Advance, a partnership of League of American Bicyclists and Alliance for Biking & Walking, has compiled a lot of information for Federal funds for bicycling and walking projects and programs. Statewide advocacy organizations are looking to take on challenges that will have an on-going impact on the way transportation funds are distributed in their regions and states. More and more, they 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. Learn more and access resources...
Texas Children in Nature Strategic Plan
According to this new report, trails are a key way for kids to be more active outdoors. For youth, like all Americans, close-to-home opportunities for outdoor recreation are essential. Key goals are to "Optimize access to natural areas to make them safe and convenient" and to "Create hiking, biking, walking, and paddling trails with points of access for multiple and diverse users in natural areas, including those with disabilities." Creation of new natural areas and providing more interpretation programs are also discussed. Read more and download the complete report...
Accessible Picnic Tables: Requirements and Recommendations
The National Center on Accessibility set out guidelines for providing accessible picnic tables as part of outdoor recreation facilities. It includes topics for scoping and technical provisions for accessible picnic tables, including the number and dispersion of Accessible Tables, Wheelchair Seating Spaces, Clear Ground Space (Firmness, Stability, and Slope), and Connection to Outdoor Recreation Access Route. Read more and see photos...
Iowa interactive map helps bicyclists find the right route
The Iowa DOT announced it has created a mobile version of its Iowa Transportation Map for Bicyclists. The online version features an interactive Google map, complete with up-to-date information to plan bicycle trips and find all available routes. The map also features rest stops, restaurants, bike shops, and water fountains along the way. Users just have to enter their starting address and destination address, and the site will come up with the best route for that trip. Access the online Iowa bike map...
Training opportunities for trail skills
Here are some of the trail-related training opportunities coming up in late summer 2013. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details...
August 12-16 - Gainesville, FL
* Basic Wildland Firefighter Training
August 13-15 - Sacramento, CA
* Safe Routes to School National Conference
September 9-12 - Boulder, CO
* Economic, Health, and Social Benefits of Walking and Bicycling
September 11-13 - Munich, Germany
* International Conference on Walking and Livable Communities
September 13 - Wenatchee, WA
* Washington State Trails Caucus
September 24-25 - Dubuque, IA
* Growing Sustainable Communities Conference
September 26 - Charleston, WV
* Navigating MAP-21 Workshop
September 28 - Sanford, FL
* Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST) Symposium
October 1-3 - Washington, DC
* 2013 Walking Summit
October 2 - Jackson, MS
* Mississippi Bike Summit
October 4 - Providence, RI
* New England Bike-Walk Summit
October 8-10 - Houston, TX
* National Recreation and Park Association Congress and Exposition
October 17 - Omaha, NE
* Navigating MAP-21 Workshop
October 27-30 - Matteson, IL
* Mid America Trails & Greenways Conference
Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.
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Header photo: Trail along the Manyunk Canal near Philadelphia; photo by Stuart Macdonald, www.manayunkcanal.org