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January 2015 


Trail Tracks is our monthly e-Newsletter with links to, 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!


  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 

Registration for the International Trails Symposium is now open!  

Click here to begin your registration and see details...

Early registration goes through March 20. Don't forget that American Trails members save on registration fees. You can join the American Trails network when you register for the Symposium. 
 In the Registration system, you have the opportunity to sign up for: 

All workshops are on a first come basis - sign up today to secure your spot! 



Free entrance days in the national parks


Free days to national park sites in 2015 are: February 14-16 (Presidents Day weekend), April 18-19 (opening of National Park Week), August 25 (National Park Service Birthday), September 26 (National Public Lands Day), November 11 (Veterans Day). Read more... 


The life and death of the Highway Trust Fund


With so much of our funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, including trails, dependent on federal transportation programs, it is worth looking closer at how the system works. In a new study the non-partisan Eno Center for Transportation maintains that dependence on fuel tax no longer works. The study looks at alternatives to the current Highway Trust Fund. Read more and download the study...


May 17-20, 2015 ~ Portland, Oregon


American Trails hosts the next International Trails Symposium in Portland May 17-20, 2015.


The Symposium addresses every aspect of trails, greenways, and blueways. Learn from dozens of educational sessions and mobile workshops and network with experts and enthusiasts from across the globe. The theme for this year's Symposium is "Solutions for Success."


Thank you to our major partner, the Professional Trailbuilders Association and our local host and major planning partner, Metro, as well as to our major sponsors to date:


Oregon State Parks and Recreation, REIMIG, Inc., The Intertwine AllianceNorthwest Youth Corps, Alta Planning + Design, the Bureau of Land ManagementNational Park ServiceUS Fish & Wildlife Service, and the USDA Forest Service. 



Submit your bridge projects for Creative Crossings gallery


During the International Trails Symposium, trail project managers will have an opportunity to share the beauty of their trail crossings or bridges in the Creative Crossings Photo Gallery. American Trails is proud to showcase those bridges and other trail crossings through a photo gallery displayed in the Exhibit Hall at the Symposium, as well as in an online gallery on the American Trails website. Read how to submit your photos and project information...



FEATURING the Professional Trailbuilders Association Sustainable Trails Workshops  


The Professional Trailbuilders Association (PTBA) and the American Trails International Trails Symposium (AT ITS) are proud to announce an exciting new partnership program -- the Sustainable Trails Workshop Series and Outdoor Demonstration Area and Trade Show


Click here to learn more about the workshops being offered. PTBA workshops can be purchased independently from a Symposium registration. You can register for PTBA workshops through the Symposium online Registration system... 



PTBA logo


Thank you to all our supporters who donated to the Hulet Hornbeck Youth Scholarship Program!

With the generous support of our donors, we reached our end of year goal of raising one full $2500 scholarship! THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO CONTRIBUTED TO OUR CAMPAIGN! Click here to see a list of donors who support this important scholarship fund!

There is still time to give to the Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program if you missed the end of year campaign.


Exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities 


The Sponsorship & Exhibitor Packet is available online! Exhibitors get to choose their booth location in the order they send in their contract and payment (some exceptions apply). If you are interested in more recognition, we have larger sponsorship levels available with some excellent benefits to boost promotion for your organization. Download the Sponsorship & Exhibitor Packet now...

Exhibitors save 5% if you send in your contract and payment by March 31. 


Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors to date:

Learn more about the upcoming and past Symposiums...


Contact Candace Mitchell, Sponsor & Exhibitor Coordinator, if you have any questions at 



b5 Promote your company by donating an Auction item!


Our attendees are avid outdoors enthusiasts who are always searching for unique products and opportunities. Gift certificates, trail-related equipment, vacation packages, tour activities, and outdoor clothing/gear make fantastic auction items. Visit the Auction webpage to see how to donate today... 




NY announces $70 Million in funding for 68 bike/ped projects


New York State projects include the South Bronx Greenway, Erie Canalway Trail, Shoreline Trail, and Safe Routes to School projects. The funds are made available to the state through the Federal Highway Administration's Transportation Alternatives Program, which replaced Transportation Enhancements as the primary source of federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects nationwide. Read more...


Greenway designers pitch bike path as storm barrier


The New York Daily News reports on a walk and bike path that "could feature rain gardens, wetlands and wave-blocking berms to guard against Sandy-style flooding." The Brooklyn Greenway will stretch 14 miles from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. Designers say that water collection and dispersal features along the trail corridor could divert as much as a half-billion gallons away from the borough's sewer system. Read more and see maps and photos...


U.S. DOT Secretary launches challenge for Safer Streets


U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx launched the "Mayor's Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets," which invites Mayors and local elected officials to attend a Safer People, Safer Streets Summit and then take significant action over the next year to improve pedestrian and bicycle transportation safety. The Mayor's Challenge will showcase effective local actions to improve safety, take action, and promote partnerships to advance pedestrian and bicycle safety. Read more...



Crossing 14 freeway lanes to reach San Francisco Bay Trail


A new pedestrian and cyclist bridge will go over the 14-lane Hwy 101 connecting the San Francisco Bay waterfront and Palo Alto. The "curved network cable arch" bridge is located at the confluence of Adobe and Barron Creeks. A boardwalk over protected marshland is also included for pedestrians. The new bridge will be a year-round connection to the Baylands and the Bay Trail. Nearly twice as many trips are anticipated on the overpass (74,000) than are currently taken using the seasonal underpass. A team led by 64North Architecture won a competition to design the bridge. Read more and see slide show...



Benefits of completing links in American Tobacco Trail studied


The Institute for Transportation Research and Education studied the American Tobacco Trail in Durham, NC to determine changes in trail usage that indicate impacts to transportation, health, and economic behaviors from the construction of a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over I-40. Use of the ATT increased after construction of the bridge, from 217,900 trips in 2013 to 508,100 trips in 2014, an increase of 233%. Read more and download the study...



Exploring the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail


Author Ron Ory shares his November 2014 tour of the Star Spangled Banner Trail. He travelled for over three weeks along the trail route and includes dozens of photos with his story. He visited historic sites, museums, and interpretive locations along the 560-mile land and water route that tells the story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. It travels through Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and commemorates the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore. Read more and see photos...


Featured Recreational Trails Program Project: Prairie Spirit Trail, KS


The Prairie Spirit Trail in eastern Kansas is a 51-mile long path through small towns and scenic prairie, southwest of Kansas City. The Prairie Spirit Trail has received several grants of Federal Recreational Trails Program funds. The railbanked railroad corridor is now managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, supported by a strong volunteer support group, the Friends of the Prairie Spirit Trail. Read more and see photos...


Featured National Recreation Trail: Mason-Dixon Trail, PA


This 30-mile section of the 193-mile Mason-Dixon Trail follows the lower Susquehanna River in York County, PA. There are beautiful views, deep ravines with waterfalls, and several big climbs and descents to where streams have carved out canyons in the river hills. The trail connects with the Appalachian Trail at Whisky Springs to the west and the Brandywine Trail at Chads Ford to the east. Read more and see photos... 


What are the 10 best long-distance trails in the world?


What would be your picks for the top treks worldwide? Jack Davidson and the Cable News Network add some less familiar trails to the more well-known routes that make up the typical Top Ten lists. Read more and see photos...



New Zealander builds trails to follow history on family land


The Otago Daily Times reports on entrepreneur Tom O'Brien, who built a 28 km mountain bike trail by hand. The fourth generation owner of Blackmore Farm, Garston, NZ, saw an opportunity to add recreational tourism to the land, much of which is under conservation easements. "Tom says cycling trails are 'all the rage' now, but thinks Welcome Rock Trails' ecological, historical and landscape values are its point of difference." Read more and see photos...



Learn more with the American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series


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 eligible for CEUs through the Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS), an authorized independent CEU provider through IACET (International Association for Continuing Education and Training). Our 75 minute webinars are worth 0.10 CEUs which are available for an additional $20 fee. 


Stay tuned for upcoming details on the next American Trails webinar:

  • MARCH 19: Wayfinding for Trails - Moderated by Bob Searns, Board Member of American Trails with instructors from Corbin Design, Alta Planning + Design, and The Acorn Group

Read more and see current Advancing Trails Webinar Series schedule...  



Summary of FHWA pedestrian and bicycle research


The Federal Highway Administration has compiled recent, ongoing, and upcoming pedestrian and bicycle research efforts and related activities. The web page also includes links to bike/ped programs and guidance. Topics include safety, planning, and Safe Routes to School. Visit the Federal Highway Administration Pedestrian & Bicycle Activities index...



Funding for maintenance of trails and bike/ped facilities


Advocacy Advance has a new study titled How Communities are Paying to Maintain Trails, Bike Lanes, and Sidewalks. This report examines agency maintenance policies and procedures for bike/ped maintenance and it provides several examples of communities who've successfully made these facilities a sufficient priority to overcome the challenge of paying for maintenance. Download the 28-page study (pdf 2.2 mb)...



USFS National Scenic and Historic Trails


The U.S. Forest Service manages 5 of America's 11 national scenic trails and has responsibility for parts of 16 national historic trails. A new document describes the NSHT program's major policy elements and legislative requirments. Administrators and partners should use this information to guide their development of NSHT programs and identify priorities. Download the document: National Scenic and Historic Trails Program (pdf 1.6mb)...



Winter 2014 trails training and educational opportunities  


Here are some of the trail-related training opportunities coming up this winter. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details... 


February 3 - Online Webinar hosted by Institute of Traffic Engineers

* Focus on Pedestrians: Sidewalks and Crosswalks


February 7 - Elon, NC

*Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail Annual Meeting


February 7-12 - Washington, DC

* Hike the Hill


February 8-11, 2015 - Washington, DC

* The Corps Network National Conference

March 3-6 - Abilene, TX
*Texas Recreation & Park Society Institute

March 10-12 - Washington, DC
*National Bike Summit

March 10-13 - Sacramento, CA
*California Park & Recreation Society Annual Conference & Expo

April 12-16 - Annapolis, MD
*National Outdoor Recreation Conference

April 15 -17 - Burns, TN
*Tennessee Greenways and Trails Forum

April 22-24 - Yosemite, CA
*California Trails and Greenways Conference

Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at



Join American Trails and receive a gift of an 18-ounce Klean Kanteen water bottle!


Klean Kanteen moss  

American Trails is excited to announce a new co-brand partnership with Klean Kanteen! Members who join at the Trail Professional level or higher will receive a gift of an 18-ounce stainless steel Klean Kanteen commemorative water bottle celebrating American Trails 25 year anniversary!


Water bottles are also available for purchase in our Online Store.  


Klean Kanteen introduced the first hydration bottle made from stainless steel to give people a safe and healthy alternative to plastic. Their mission, like American Trails, promotes sustainability and healthy lifestyles for everyone. You can learn more about them at


klean kanteen logo  



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.


American Trails is a tax-exempt, nonprofit charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible.


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Header photo: Snow trails in Salt Lake City's Sugar House Park; photo by Stuart Macdonald