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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 out the topics below for what's new in the trails world!
Special thanks to the sponsor of this issue:
Nominate an outstanding trail for CRT Annual Achievement Awards
Projects funded with Recreational Trails Program (RTP) dollars are eligible for the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) 2014 Annual Achievement Awards. Project award categories include: construction and design; maintenance and rehabilitation; education and communication initiatives; accessibility enhancement; multiple-use management or "corridor sharing"; environment/wildlife compatibility; and use of youth conservation/service corps. See State by State list of all CRT Awards with links to individual award web pages. Read more and download Nomination Form...
Next International Trails Symposium: Portland, Oregon (May 17-20, 2015)
Mark your calendar! Just over a year from now you'll be attending the 2015 American Trails International Trails Symposium. The host city is Portland, Oregon, and the dates are May 17-20, 2015. Portland has a lot of attractions for the trails enthusiast. The Willamette River Greenway is one of America's great urban river corridors with trails and pedestrian-friendly bridges through downtown. Public transit is outstanding and the city is full of examples of creative community development. Add parks, bikeways, and in-town hiking opportunities, plus water trails, and nearby national forests for every kind of trail activity.
The exhibitor contract is now available. If you send in your contract and payment by May 1, you will receive a 25% discount!
We'll keep you posted as other areas of the Symposium come together. Read more about past and future Symposia...
Learn more in 2014 with American Trails Webinars
American Trails continues the dynamic online Advancing Trails 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 IACET (International Association for Continuing Education and Training). Our 75 minute webinars are worth 0.10 CEUs and are available for an additional $20 fee.
Check out upcoming American Trails webinars for 2014:
- MAY 15, 2014: Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind (presented by Robert Spurlock and Elaine Stewart, Metro) Details coming soon
- JUNE 26, 2014: Applying Foundations of Mountain Trail Sustainability to a trail network ~ Part 1 of 3 (presented by Hugh Duffy, National Park Service) See details and register today...
- JULY 2014: Urban Trails in Difficult Places (presented by Bob Searns, The Greenway Team, and Bill Nuemann, DHM Design) Details coming soon
- AUGUST 2014: Fundamentals of Mountain Trail Sustainability ~ Part 2 of 3 (presented by Hugh Duffy, National Park Service) Details coming soon
Read more and see current Webinar schedule...
The Recreational Trails Program Annual Report is Live
The goal of FHWA's online Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Database project is to provide a central repository for RTP project data that is usable by FHWA, Congress, the States, all levels of policy makers, RTP administrators, project managers, stakeholders, and the general public. The RTP Database includes over 18,000 projects that have received over $900 million in funding. These projects have been matched with over $600 million. To get a sense of the types of outstanding projects funded by the RTP, we encourage you to review the RTP Annual Report and visit the RTP Database. Please note: data collection is an ongoing effort and data is regularly being entered into the database as it is received from the States, District of Columbia, and other sources. Should you need assistance with the RTP Database, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners announced for National Recreation Trails Photo Contest
American Trails sponsors the annual Photo Contest for National Recreation Trails. In celebration of these great trails we present awards of varied types of trails from across America to highlight the diversity of these great trails, from backcountry pathways to urban greenways. You can see the winners in each category as well as all 160 entries for 2013. Visit the NRT photo contest galleries...
TIGER Discretionary Grants: Applications due April 28, 2014
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives. Since 2009, Congress has dedicated more than $4.1 billion for six rounds to fund projects that have a significant impact on the Nation, a region, or a metropolitan area. Learn how to apply, attend webinars, and view examples of past grant recipients...
American Trails' National and International Trails Awards for 2015
American Trails presents the National and International Trails Awards Program to recognize organizations, agencies, businesses, and individual leaders who are working to create trails around the world. Nominations for the various categories of awards are now available, with the winners to be announced at the 22nd American Trails International Trails Symposium in Portland, Oregon in 2015. Three new awards for international trails will be featured. The deadline for submitting nominations is September 15, 2014. Read more and download the Nomination Form...
Supreme Court favors adjacent landowner in rail trail case
On March 10 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the railroad right-of-way across a Wyoming landowner's property does not belong to the U.S. government. This case involves the Railroad Right-of Way Act of 1875, under which thousands of miles of rights-of-way were established across America. The court ruled that the U.S. did not retain the right to keep those corridors in public use (such as trails) after railroad operations have ceased. Trail proponents are debating what the impacts will be to existing and future rail trails. Read more...
Governor helps kick off 100 Missouri Miles Challenge for 2014
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon visited Rock Bridge Memorial State Park to launch the second year of the 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. The challenge encourages Missourians to complete "100 Missouri Miles" of physical activity by walking, running, biking, rolling, paddling, or hiking throughout Missouri. The Governor cited the American Trails National Trails Awards for 2013 recognizing Missouri as "Best Trails State." Read more about Missouri's Best Trails State Award and check out the Missouri Miles Challenge...
President lays out "Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure"
The President's budget proposes a four-year, $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization, an $87 billion increase over current spending levels. The challenge, according to the President, is that "the Highway Trust Fund that provides critical funding for repairing roads, bridges, and transit systems is projected to become insolvent later this summer, and the existing surface transportation bill expires in September. Moreover, the current way we fund our transportation investments is insufficient to meet the nation's transportation infrastructure needs and grow our economy." Read more and see budget comparisons..
Vermont Youth Corps helps state capital's trail system
The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps took on an urban challenge in Montpelier. Over three years the Corps worked to transform a tiny, eroded, and treacherous path into a beautiful trail that connects the city's largest office complex to the downtown area. Years of complex rock work boosted the technical skills of VYCC staff and crewmembers in building trails. Each year, the Corps uses federal transportation funds to employ more than 50 youth who complete 24 weeks of work on community-based projects all over the state. Read more and see photos...
Hikers do expensive damage to muddy trails
Boise State Public Radio reported on damage by hikers ignoring trail closure signs. Over 400,000 people hike in the foothills every year, according to David Gordon, who manages 150 miles of trail for the city of Boise. "He's fed up with the muddy trails -- and those who continue to use them. When people avoid the mud by hiking on the sides of the trails, they trample and kill vegetation and widen the paths. When hikers walk in the mud, the trails erode." Read more and see photos...
Council wants cost estimate to plow Capital Crescent Trail
Montgomery County (MD) officials want two county agencies to prepare cost estimates for snow plowing on the Capital Crescent Trail that connects Silver Spring, Bethesda, and D.C. According to Councilmember Roger Berliner, "In my opinion, not maintaining the Capital Crescent Trail does not only a great disservice to residents who rely on the trail for commuting purposes, but also to the County's goal of being a more walkable and bikeable community." Read more and see photos...
Skiers and snowmobilers work together on winter travel plan
The Helena Independent Record reports on a 10-year process to create a new Winter Travel Plan for key national forest areas in Montana. The goal was to have a plan that's easily implemented, understood, and enforceable with clear delineations between areas for snowmobile use and routes for snowshoeing and skiing. Overall, about 128,860 acres will be opened to motorized winter use -- including about 250 miles of groomed trails -- and nonmotorized winter use restrictions are in place on 121,610 acres. Read more and see photos...
Residents dispute State's right to develop Florida rail trail
The East Central Regional Rail Trail is being developed under the Depression-era Murphy Act, which allowed the government to use tax-defaulted land for public purposes. While some residents are fighting the trail, Volusia County officials say the law is working on behalf of taxpayers -- because Murphy reservations belong to everyone. The 50-mile corridor is the longest single rail-trail ever acquired by the State, according to the Office of Greenways and Trails. Read more and see photos...
Arizona Trail video celebrates 20 years of the Arizona Trail Association (ATA)
In celebration of the Arizona Trail Association's 20th Anniversary, founding board member Jan Hancock and her son, Brian, produced a beautiful photo documentary showing landmark events over the past two decades. The video is available for viewing on YouTube through the ATA's new Videos page. On this page you can also watch Trevor Arwood's amazing documentary "A Walk Across Arizona" showing the solitude, beauty, and challenges of a solo thru-hike. There is also an excellent BLM documentary on the Arizona Trail, and other videos from Arizona Trail friends. Check them out and share them with friends. And, if you have produced a YouTube video on the Arizona Trail, please email the link to the ATA web master and they will consider adding it to their Videos page.
Happening now: The Arizona Trail Trek is an 800-mile thru-hike across Arizona to promote the Arizona National Scenic Trail, the Gateway Communities and the new official Arizona Trail guidebook! Sirena Dufault, a part-time Gateway Community Liaison who gives talks to community groups to get people excited about the trail, kicked off the Arizona Trail Trek on March 14th, 2014 and will reach the Utah border on May 31st... and YOU are invited to participate! View the incredible videos above then kick off spring by following Sirena's journey along the Arizona Trail...
Tucson-area plan encourages new development to embrace trails
The Eastern Pima County Regional Trail System Master Plan provides a vision for a truly regional trails system that connects a greatly expanded network of trails in the urban core of Tucson with parks and open space. The plan also encourages new development to embrace trails and the connectivity they offer as a benefit to development projects. It also advances the idea of "trail parks" which are open space areas whose primary recreational purpose is trail use. Read more and see photos...
Rebuilding a historic shelter on the Appalachian Trail
The Georgia Appalachian Trail Club has worked for years to maintain the Blood Mountain Shelter on the Appalachian Trail. It was originally constructed from local stone in 1937 for the Georgia State Parks system by CCC workers. Because of its location in designated Wilderness, rebuilding the historic shelter meant that transportation of building materials, and removal of demolition and construction debris had to be done using non-powered hand tools and pack animals. Read more and see photos...
Featured National Recreation Trail: Chipola River Greenway, FL
Two sections of the Chipola River Greenway in northwest Florida feature rock formations, caves, sink holes, and wetlands. The trails are connected by water to multiple other parks through forests and floodplain. The trails were created and are maintained by volunteers from the Florida Trail Association, Chipola Greenway Volunteers, and Boy Scouts, with donations by local businesses. Read more about the Butler Trail and trails at Hinson Conservation and Recreation Area...
Best Practices: accessible routes to water and beaches
See a series of photos of pathways that provide access to beaches and water trail launching sites. Three examples of accessible trails to a fishing pond (Bettendorf, Iowa), and two beaches along the Colorado River in Utah. Various types of paving and surface hardening are used to improve access for people uising wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers. See American Trails' Cool Trail Solutions commentary and gallery of photos...
American Trails Business Directory IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Composite Advantage's FiberSPAN™ Bridge
Dayton, Ohio's Five Rivers MetroParks has installed a prefabricated, 20-foot FiberSPAN™ trail bridge in Germantown MetroPark. Manufactured by Composite Advantage, the zero-maintenance Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) trail bridge spans a stream as part of a new trail construction project at the Germantown, Ohio park. The Dayton area's Five Rivers MetroParks covers nearly 16,000 acres. Germantown MetroPark is considered one of the most diverse and significant natural areas managed by MetroParks. "We were very impressed with the ease of installation of this product," says Chris Pion, park project manager for Five Rivers MetroParks. "The bridge was light enough to make installation easy in a remote location without the use of heavy equipment. It also was installed in just one hour in single-digit temperatures." Read more on this press release and to learn about Composite Advantage...
4th World Trails Conference held in Jeju, Korea
The Jeju Olle Foundation hosted the 4th World Trails Conference, where major trail organizations from all around the world gathered to discuss sustainable growth and an enhanced network. (If the Jeju Olle Foundation link doesn't open in English for you, click on the black oval at the top right of their webpage to view the language choices.) Fifty trail institutions and organizations from 18 countries were present for the three-day-long conference on Jeju Island, South Korea. Pam Gluck representing American Trails and Laura Belleville representing the Appalachian Trails Conservancy attended from the United States. American Trails serves as a proud member of the World Trails Network (WTN). Learn more about the World Trails Conference and the World Trails Network...
American Trails International Trails page links you to trails around the globe
We've updated our webpage for trails in countries around the world. Greenways and trail systems are a growing interest in many countries. American Trails serves as a proud member of the new World Trails Network (WTN) and is happy to include information about members of the WTN on the American Trails International webpage. We also welcome your suggestions to add to this page. Visit the new International Trails index page...
Tunnel could be Europe's longest underground cycleway
The BBC reports that Europe's longest underground cycleway could be built in West Yorkshire, England if campaigners succeed in their aim to get an abandoned 1.4-mile railway tunnel converted into a cycle path. But it's a race against time because Queensbury Tunnel between Bradford and Halifax needs expensive repairs and there are fears its owners might fill it with concrete. Read more and see photos...
Cycle trails making positive impact on New Zealand economy
A new report shows that businesses and communities in areas served by the New Zealand Cycle Trail are making great progress, with increased economic activity and more visitors to the trail regions. Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail Evaluation Report shows that visitors typically spent one to three nights in trail regions and spent an average of $131 to $176 per person per day. Of local businesses surveyed, one in seven said they had expanded their business as a result of the trail opening in their region. Read more and download full report...
| TRAINING & EDUCATION|
Sustainable Trails Conference supports quality trail design
The Sustainable Trails Conference is this year's best resource for knowledge, equipment, expertise, and information on the current state of the trails industry. The conference, hosted by the Professional Trailbuilders Association, will be held March 30-April 5 in Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park, WV. Attendees will find new and valuable workshops, an exciting new trade show, and sessions highlighting the challenges and rewards of building, designing, and maintaining trails in varied environments around the country. See program details and conference registration...
2014 California Trails & Greenways Conference offers last minute workshop specials
The California Trails & Greenways Conference is a forum for networking and building support for accessible, inter-connected, quality trail systems; and a venue for trail professionals and advocates to learn practical, up-to-date trail skills. This year's conference is taking place April 8-10 in Palm Springs, CA. The theme for this year's conference is: Interpretation - Conveying Values, Promoting Stewardship, Creating Legacies. This endeavor by California State Parks and the (nonprofit) California Trails Conference Foundation helps ensure effective trail stewardship and leadership for generations to come. Learn more and take advantage of workshop specials...
Recorded Webinar: Effective Fundraising for Trails and Greenways
An archived presentation of this January 30 presentation is now available for purchase from American Trails. It covers strategies for raising funds and garnering resources to move a trail or greenway project from vision to reality. The presenters for this webinar include Bob Searns, The Greenway Team; Mark Ackelson, Natural Heritage Foundation; and Marty Zeller, Conservation Partners. These three seasoned professionals shared key lessons from their decades of experience on key steps to take, partnerships to build, classes of resources to pursue, and leadership models and implementation strategies. Read more and access the recorded webinar...
Recorded Webinar: Managing Trail User Conflict
This webinar, which was presented February 20, is now available for purchase through the American Trails online Store. Presented by Steve Sherwood with Chinook Associates LLC, this educational session introduces a variety of innovative approaches to resolving trail user conflicts and reviews some of these management techniques. It also covers the obligations land managers and trail users have to help resolve trail conflicts. Ultimately all of the tools in the world will not resolve trail use conflict without compromise on the part of everyone involved. Read more and access the recorded webinar...
Q & A from the recorded webinar on Trails and the New Federal Accessibility Guidelines
An archived presentation of this webinar is now available free from American Trails. It covers the trails portion of the "Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines; Outdoor Developed Areas." These new accessibility guidelines for federal lands cover new or altered trails, picnic and camping areas, beach access routes, and related recreation facilities. Hosted by American Trails and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the presentation is by Janet Zeller, U.S. Forest Service National Accessibility Program Manager. Read more and access the archived webinar recording and view American Trails' new Q & A web page from the webinar...
Guidelines for developing water trail access sites launched
"Prepare to Launch! Guidelines for Assessing, Designing, and Building Access Sites for Carry-in Watercraft" is an online resource designed to help river managers, planners, boaters, and water trail leaders plan for and build access to waterways. Developed in a River Management Society and National Park Service partnership, the guide helps users through a process to determine the best launch sites and design choices. Read more and access resources...
Sustainable Trails for All Conference and Construction Workshop
Sustainable Trails for All Conference and Trail Construction for Universal Access Workshop: With the recent release of the Federal Trail Accessibility Guidelines, trail builders, park administrators, land trusts, government officials, and many others need to know how to build hiking trails that are sustainable and that provide access for everyone. These important workshops will help you understand the guidelines and will provide an overview of the techniques and hands-on skills needed to build sustainable hiking trails that provide enjoyment for all. Read more about the workshops and learning location...
IMBA Trail Building Schools scheduled across America in 2014
The Trail Care Crew program of the International Mountain Bicycling Association has inspired great volunteer trail work across the U.S. and abroad. Each crew visit is anchored around IMBA's highly-respected, one-day Trail Building School, during which the crews teach sustainable trail building. Additional presentations target relations with land managers, improving club organization, and educating elected officials. Visit the American Trails Training Calendar for currently scheduled IMBA trail schools...
Calendar of trails training and educational opportunities
Here are some of the trail-related training opportunities coming up in 2014. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details...
March 25-28 - Hot Springs, AR
* Access to Parks & Outdoor Recreation
March 30 - April 5 - Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park, WV
* Professional Trailbuilders Association's Sustainable Trails Conference
April 8-10 - Palm Springs, CA
* California Trails & Greenways Conference
April 9 - Honolulu, HI
* Navigating MAP-21 Workshop
April 10-11 - Guntersville, AL
* Alabama Trails Conference
April 10-13 - Sturgeon Bay, WI
* Ice Age Trail Alliance Annual Conference
April 11-12 - Athens, GA
* Georgia Trail Summit
May 13-16 - San Francisco, CA
* 2014 National Outdoor Recreation Conference
May 15 - Online Webinar from American Trails* Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind
Registration will open soon
June 25-26 - Greenfield, NH
* Sustainable Trails for All Conference
June 26 - Online Webinar from American Trails* Foundations of Mountain Trail Sustainability
Register online now
June 27-28 - Greenfield, NH
* Trail Construction for Universal Access Workshop
Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at email@example.com.
| JOIN THE AMERICAN TRAILS NETWORK|
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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.
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: Hiking at Coyote Point Park along San Francisco Bay in San Mateo County, CA; photo by Stuart Macdonald