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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, greenways, and blueways. We also bring you news from the halls of Congress, new studies and resources, interesting articles, events, training opportunities, and the latest in trail products and services. Check the topics below for what's new in the trails world!
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Accessibility webinar presented by US Access Board cancelled for October 17
The Great Lakes ADA Center, ADA National Network, and the US Access Board regretfully announce that the October 17, 2013 Accessibility Online Session titled "FINAL RULE - Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards for Trails, Picnic and Camping Facilities, and Beach Access Routes" has been cancelled. Because of the absence of a Fiscal Year 2014 appropriation, the US Access Board was compelled to shut-down its operations. They hope to reschedule the session, once a continuing resolution or current year appropriation has been signed into law.
Questions can be directed to email@example.com regarding this matter.
Next American Trails webinar Oct. 24 covers natural surface trail maintenance
This is the second in a series of three webinars on Trail
Maintenance Managementbrought to you by Kim Frederick of Chinook Associates LLC and American Trails. If you are a veteran trail maintainer this second webinar, "Natural Surface Trail Tread Maintenance ~ Part 2 of 3," will present some ideas on how you might pass along the skill to others. If you are just developing your skill set, you will get information to consider so you can make good decisions on the trail to maximize your effectiveness, it is appropriate for both agency personnel and volunteers.
CEUs are being offered for this webinar. Learn more and register for this webinar...
Accessible trail guidelines finalized for federal lands
On September 26 the US Access Board issued new accessibility guidelines for outdoor areas on federal lands. The guidelines provide detailed specifications for accessible trails, picnic and camping areas, viewing areas, beach access routes, and other components of outdoor developed areas when newly built or altered. The final guidelines have been over a dozen years in the making. Read more and access the guidelines text...
The American Trails slogan has always been "Trails for All Americans." And as Christopher Douwes of FHWA and Stuart Macdonald, American Trails webmaster, wrote in 2007, "When it comes to making trails more available to everybody, most of us need to raise our accessibility awareness. Let's get smarter! We'll improve our trails for everyone, and it's the right thing to do." Read more on the American Trails Blog...
How trails benefit the environment: 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...
Coalition for Recreational Trails dominates US DOT strategic planning process
The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) successfully showcased the importance of the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) in a new, high-visibility venue: The Strategic Plan Online Dialogue of the US Secretary of Transportation. CRT members reviewed the DOT's Draft Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018 in early September, 2013, and were very concerned that there was no mention of the RTP within the DOT mission statement, mission-oriented goals, or strategic objectives. On behalf of the CRT membership, Co-Chair Derrick Crandall submitted comments to DOT that called attention to this oversight and summarized RTP's importance. The trails community's response to these comments was immediate and impressive. By the time the idea submission and voting process had ended only three days after the CRT submitted its comments -- CRT's submission, entitled "RTP Is Important Plan Element," was voted the most popular of all the ideas submitted to the DOT. Read more about the trails community's response in support of the RTP...
Trails flooded in Colorado: see the American Trails blog
When flood PLAIN turns into flood WAY, trails are in trouble. The recent floods in Colorado remind us that our stream-side corridors are vulnerable. Yet in our urban and suburban areas, trails along rivers are the most popular pathways. How do we balance the cost and value of our greenways when they're covered in brown mud? Read more and see photos...
It's time to enter 2013 National Recreation Trails Photo Contest
American Trails sponsors an annual contest for photographs of National Recreation Trails across the country. It's easy to enter, so take your camera when you're out on the trail! We'll be giving awards in several categories to highlight the diversity of the NRTs and to make more Americans familiar with these great trails. Deadline for entries is Dec. 15, 2013. See details on the 2013 NRT Photo Contest...
Boulder, CO counts 93 miles of trails with significant damage
The Boulder Daily Camera reported on the effects of the recent flooding on area trails: "The city property most heavily damaged, according to the assessment, is open space and mountain parks. Those areas suffered an estimated $17.67 million in flooding impacts. About 93 miles, or 64 percent, of the city's 145 miles of trails suffered significant to severe damage, according to the city." Read more and see photos...
World's largest garbage dump to be world-class park
The Staten Island Advance reported on Freshkills Park, a landfill reclamation project that began in October 2008 and will continue in phases for at least 30 years. When fully developed, Freshkills Park will be the second largest park in New York City and 2.7 times the size of Central Park in Manhattan. An expansive network of paths, recreational waterways, and park drives will enable people to be able to experience the site by canoe, on horseback, on mountain bike, on foot, or by car. Read more and see photos and maps...
Volusia County, FL officials see trails as wave of the future
The Daytona News Journal reported on the East Central Regional Rail Trail between Edgewater and Enterprise, Florida. "When it is complete, it will be the longest of its kind in Florida. But this 52-mile-long, 12-foot-wide ribbon of asphalt represents more than a pleasant place to ride a bicycle or watch birds on a warm summer's evening -- it could be an economic engine for the future." Read more...
Greenway app maps 100-plus miles of Raleigh trails
WRAL Raleigh reports that in a little over a year, over 14,000 people have installed the RGreenway app, a mobile guide that helps them enjoy the outdoors. RGreenway is short for Raleigh Greenway, officially the Capital Area Greenway System. The app shows how trails connect, measures walking or biking distance, and shows the weather forecast all in one place. Read more and see photos...
Trail would be cheaper than subsidizing rail, NY citizens say
Over 12,000 people and 350 local businesses have petitioned New York state to allow an inexpensive rail-to-trail line through the Adirondacks to bring tourists and economic benefits. In 1996, the state gave train advocates a five-year opportunity to develop rail services on the inactive 90-mile rail from Old Forge to Lake Placid. Despite tens of millions of dollars of state money spent to rehabilitate and maintain it, most of that rail line is now essentially abandoned. Read more and see photos...
Trails: the best kept secret in Dallas, Texas
Dallas area trails have become the new "identity" for many neighborhoods. They have taken electrical corridors and abandoned rail corridors-- areas that were once empty, unattractive spaces-- and transformed them into active and highly-desirable assets. The trail system has become so extensive that even though Dallas County contains 900 square miles, there is now a trail no more than about 20 minutes away for most people, and $28 million is budgeted for additional projects. Read more and see photos...
Accessible urban trail built by California Conservation Corps
San Diego County partnered with the California Conservation Corps to develop an accessible trail surfaced with crushed granite material. While the CCC typically builds non-paved, or natural surface trails, this project gave them an opportunity to build a hardened trail comparable to asphalt or concrete. TechniSoil's G5 stabilizer was used to create a natural-looking trail that would accommodate wheelchairs, strollers, bicycles, and even vehicles. Read more and see photos...
Featured National Recreation Trail: Chattahoochee Valley, AL
The Chattahoochee Valley Railroad Trail is a biking, jogging, and walking trail that traverses 7.5 miles from the Shawmut Mill Village to the Riverdale Mill Village. The trail traces the path of the Chattahoochee Valley Railway, which was constructed by the West Point Manufacturing Company to serve several cotton mills along the Chattahoochee River on the Alabama-Georgia border. Read more and see photos...
An overview of the National Water Trails System
A new national network of water trails is expected to increase access to water-based outdoor recreation, encourage community stewardship of waterways, and promote tourism. Designated water trails also serve as models for best management practices. Goals are to designate additional exemplary water trails, develop a mentorship program to support trail managers, share best practices, and provide good examples of boat launches, signs, and designs for access points. Read more and access resources...
Stories from America's Service and Conservation Corps
The Corps Network has released a new book, Join the Crew, which features the stories of young adults in 40 different service and conservation corps programs. The release is particularly timely because, even as our country faces some of the highest youth unemployment rates in recent history, Corps programs help young men and women of diverse backgrounds gain meaningful employment, life skills, and academic and career credentials. Read more about Join the Crew...
| TRAINING & EDUCATION|
Access past webinar recordings on a variety of topics
American Trails is working to create a dynamic online webinar series to help fill the trails training void created by agency budget cuts and travel restrictions. While we continue to bring you monthly webinars in the Advancing Trails Webinar Series, webinars that have passed are available for purchase in our online store:
- Introduction to Trail Maintenance Management Planning: Part 1 of 3
- From the Driveway to the Trailhead - the Missing Link
- Building Your Trail Right the First Time
- The Third Mode: Connecting Greenways, Trails and Active Mobility (On-Street Bike Routes, Sidewalks and Transit) Networks
- The Art of Sustainable, Natural Surface, Trail Management
- Water Trail Accessibility: Assessing and Creating More Accessible Facilities and Programs
- Telling a Better Story - Best Practices for Developing Interpretive Panels for Trails
- Making the Case for Trails in Tight Economic Times
We also have sponsorship opportunities for our webinars that provide great recognition for your company as well as complimentary registrations. Read more about the Advancing Trails Webinar Series...
Volunteers for Outdoor Missouri teach skills series
The Master Trail Builder program builds skills with a "trail college curriculum." The training program is sponsored by Volunteers for Outdoor Missouri, whose mission is to build a force of volunteer workers that provides the resources for state, county, and cities to draw upon in building and maintaining sustainable recreational trails. Read more and see course details...
Best Practices: trail direction and wayfinding signs
Some trails are so highly developed and continuous there is no chance of a visitor losing the path. But even wide, well-used trails are disrupted by roads, intersections, missing bridges, and other obstacles. Signs showing the trail user where to go to pick up the route again are essential parts of trail development. Direction signs also help hikers and riders find destinations along the trail. See commentary and photos in American Trails Cool Trail Solutions Photo Gallery...
Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System
PEDSAFE 2013 explains the issues facing pedestrians, how to analyze crashes, and how to address pedestrian safety problems. There are also 85 success stories and case studies. Each case study documents safety countermeasures, along with the background of the problem, pedestrian safety solution selected, and the results of the treatment. Finally, a software tool allows the user to input the basic safety problem and site conditions of a location, and the expert system will propose candidate safety treatment options. Access the Pedestrian Safety Guide...
Current training opportunities for trail skills
Here are some of the trail-related training opportunities coming up in fall 2013. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details...
October 12-17 - Orlando, FL
* Annual NOHVCC and INOHVAA Joint Conference
October 24 - American Trails Webinar
* Webinar: Natural Surface Trail Tread Maintenance - Part 2 of 3
October 25 - Madison, WI
* Wisconsin Bike Summit
October 25 - Online Webinar
* Webinar: Designing Bicycle Facilities
October 27-30 - Matteson, IL
* Mid America Trails & Greenways Conference
October 30-31 - Matteson, IL
* Universal Trail Assessment Process Coordinator Workshop
October 31 - November 3 - Louisville, KY
* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School
November 2-7 - Tucson, AZ
* National Scenic & Historic Trails Conference
November 7-10 - Bowling Green, KY
* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School
November 9 - Baraboo, WI
* Trail Planning with Ice Age Trail Alliance
November 13-14 - Baltimore, MD
* Wildlife Habitat Council 25th Annual Symposium
November 14-17 - Columbus, GA
* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School
November 15-18 - Boston, MA
* ASLA National Conference
November 25-28 - Kelowna, BC, Canada
* Building SustainABLE Communities Conference
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.
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Header photo: Aspens are turning at Kenosha Pass Trailhead on The Colorado Trail; photo by Stuart Macdonald