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February 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!  

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! 


Don't forget to make your hotel reservations! There are two host hotels for the Symposium:

  • The DoubleTree by Hilton Portland
  • Inn at the Convention Center


You must book your reservations by April 22 to take advantage of the group discount. Access hotel information here... 



2014 Recreational Trails Program Annual Report now online


The Federal Highway Administration has just released a new Annual Report on the Recreational Trails Program. The 2014 report was produced by American Trails in partnership with contractor KMS Enterprises, Inc. It highlights program funding and administration, the RTP database, and illustrates how states use funds with examples of trail projects across the country. It also documents the many benefits of the program and national trends and issues affecting trails. Read more and download the report...


March 19 Webinar on Trail Wayfinding Systems


American Trails presents the webinar "Trail Wayfinding Systems: A Practical Guide to Principles, Best Practices, and Deployment" that will provide trail and greenway planners, designers, and managers with a practical understanding of trail/ped/bike wayfinding and informational systems with an emphasis on in-the-field structures and media.


The webinar will be moderated by Bob Searns with The Greenway Team and Emeritus Chair of the American Trails Board. The presenters include Jenny Rigby with The Acorn Group and American Trails Board Member, as well as Karen Vitkay, Alta Planning + Design and Mark VanderKlipp and Jeff Frank with Corbin Design, Inc.


Read more about the webinar and the presenters and how to register... 


Thank you to the sponsor of this webinar:



Nominate your RTP-funded trail for nationwide awards


The Coalition for Recreational Trails sponsors the Annual Achievement Awards to help build awareness and appreciation of the highly successful Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Outstanding projects funded by RTP are honored at the awards ceremony on Capitol Hill in June during the annual celebration of Great Outdoors Month. Deadline for submitting nominations is April 1, 2015. Read more and download the CRT award nomination form... 


Land and Water Conservation Fund is in the crosshairs again


The Land and Water Conservation Fund channels federal offshore energy royalties to caring for public lands. Many cities have developed thriving urban parks thanks to LWCF matching grants that led to public and private investments that fuelled economic and cultural revitalization in neighborhoods close to the urban core. If Congress does not act to reauthorize the LWCF before September 2015, it will expire, putting park projects across the country at risk. Read more...



Trails, taxes, and the Highway Trust Fund


We provided the wrong link to "The Life and Death of the Highway Trust Fund" in the January eNews. With so much of our funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, including trails, dependent on federal fuel tax, it is worth looking closer at how the system works. 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. Download "The Life and Death of the Highway Trust Fund" (pdf 2.2mb)...


The New Years issue of the American Trails Magazine is here!


This issue includes a large spread on the 2015 International Trails Symposium taking place in Portland, Oregon May 17-20. It will feature articles on trails in the Portland and surrounding areas and the most up-to-date information on the Symposium. The New Years issue also features winners from the American Trails National Recreation Trails Photo Contest, plus resources and training opportunities for trails professionals. Read now... 

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 and Outdoor Trade Show 


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.


PTBA logo  


Sustainable Trails Workshop Series 

PTBA workshops can be purchased independently from a Symposium registration. You can register for PTBA workshops through the Symposium online Registration system...  


Learn about The Legacy Trail that these Sustainable Workshops will help build. 


Outdoor Trade Show
The PTBA Outdoor Demonstration Area and Trade Show will run on Sunday, May 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., during the American Trails International Trails Symposium. This is the only trade show in the nation dedicated to trailbuilders and trailbuilding tools, technology, and techniques. The outdoor demonstration area will have dirt, terrain, rocks, logs, and brush for equipment demonstrations. It is the single best opportunity for attendees to try various machines and equipment in a variety of conditions and compare and contrast them with one another. What better way for your company to market your cutting-edge trailbuilding tools, technologies, and products!

To sign up as a vendor to display your equipment in the Outdoor Trade Show, be sure and mark this on the exhibitor form. You must be an exhibitor in order to participate in the Outdoor Trade Show and there is a small additional fee.


Be a mentor for an Emerging Leader!


We're busy planning the 2015 scholarship program, which will bring up to 20 young adults to the 2015 International Trails Symposium on scholarship. Each scholarship recipient will be paired with a mentor during the length of the Symposium to help guide them through networking opportunities, concurrent session selection, and future career path options. The deadline for mentor applications is March 11. Visit the Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders webpage to learn more and fill out a mentor application...  


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 



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... 



Oregon: Come early, stay late!


Portland and the surrounding Oregon countryside have a variety of activities to fit every budget from all types of trails, wine tours, backpacking adventures, scenic coastal drives, and more! Check out Symposium Sponsors Travel Portland and Travel Oregon for the latest deals and events taking place during your trip... 




New water trails designated in Louisiana and Michigan


Whether you travel north or south this year, two new national water trails provide the opportunity to explore and connect to America's waterways. Recognizing the achievements of federal, state, and local partners, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has designated the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail and the Huron River Water Trail as the 17th and 18th trails of the National Water Trails System. Read more here... 


Elevated Thinking: Video of the High Line in New York City


Narrated by actress Susan Sarandon, a new video by Great Museums Television details the efforts of a group of neighborhood activists, real estate developers, philanthropists, and city officials, and the architects, designers, and landscapers who created this model of urban imagination. Also featured are up-close looks at some of the High Line's special places and of the people who call this area home. See the video...



Aging Minnesota trails lead to big maintenance bills


The Star Tribune reports on struggles by the state and local governments to keep up with asphalt trail maintenance costs. "For state trails alone, maintenance is expected to cost $320 million over the next decade - and legislative funding is routinely falling short of what is needed, according to trail advocates. Counties that rode the building boom starting in the late 1980s are now facing trails that are showing their age." Read more and see photos...



Unicycle explorer revels in mountain solitude


Wynn Walker of Minden, Nevada is one of the few people who enjoys the sport of mountain unicycling, according to a report in the Reno Gazette Journal. Walker, a math professor, put in a lot of time at Mammoth Mountain Bike Park and has completed solo rides as long as 16 miles. "It takes a certain personality type that is willing to problem solve through their learning curve," says Kris Holm, a mountain unicycling pioneer from Vancouver, B.C. Read more and see photos...


"Every Kid in a Park" is goal of NPS Centennial


A goal of the National Park Service's Centennial in 2016 is to keep parks relevant to an increasingly urban and diverse nation. According to the American Recreation Coalition, "Every Kid in a Park will strive to ensure that every 4th grader in the nation has a meaningful experience in a park or other public lands setting beginning in the fall of 2015." Federal and state park and recreation agencies will host the visits, designed to be both fun and educational. Read more...



Winning pictures in the American Trails 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 in several categories to highlight the diversity of these great trails across America, from backcountry pathways to urban greenways. You can see the winners in each category as well as all 158 entries for 2014. Visit the NRT photo contest galleries....



Trends and technologies evolve, but trails still matter


"I can safely say that all of us who are deeply involved in trails have an abiding optimism about the value and longevity of trails," writes American Trails eNews editor Stuart Macdonald. In the last quarter-century trails have become more ingrained in our culture. But American Trails continues to promote a vision of even better and more accessible trails for all Americans. Read more and see photos...



Featured Recreational Trails Program project: North Dakota winter trails


Winter trail activities are an important part of North Dakota's outdoor recreation. For well-maintained snow trails, the ND Parks and Recreation Department has used Recreational Trails Program funds to match state funds to purchase trail maintenance equipment for both cross country ski trails and snowmobile routes. Other RTP-funded projects include maps, safety training, and equipment evaluation. Read more and see photos... 


Walking into history: volunteers improve the Mason-Dixon Trail


A new volunteer-built trail leads to a unique place in our nation's history: a key point marked by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon on their famous survey of 1765. Now, 250 years later, a four-mile trail is being built in a partnership of Friends of White Clay Creek Preserve and the Wilmington Trail Club, with the Delaware and Pennsylvania state parks agencies. Read more and see photos...


Shannon Blueway received award for Best Tourism Initiative


Only three months since its launch in October of last year, Leitrim's latest tourism project has already collected its first award in Dublin. The Blueway is a developing, multi-activity trail running alongside water which links walking, cycling, canoeing, paddleboarding, fishing, and cruising with local towns and villages. Read more and see photos...



Eight great walks in Australia


Want to experience the best of the outdoors in Australia at a pace where you can appreciate the landscapes? Nick Redmayne of The Telegraph suggest some great hikes. Trails include Western Australia's 620-mile Bibbulman Track and the Overland Track in Tasmania. With the continent's great climate variations you can choose a desert hike through the Northern Territory or the Juwun Walk in Queensland's tropical north. Read more and see photos...



Hike through the Alleys of Stone in Cuenca, Spain


There are many great routes for walking and hiking in the countryside of Spain, and Cuenca Province has several really fascinating trails to follow, including "Los Callejones de Las Majadas," or the Alleys of Stone. For fans of the James Bond movies, these stone alleys were chosen as a scene for several sequences in the film "The World is Not Enough." Read more and see photos and video...


Access the world of trails with American Trails' International page


American Trails brings you news and travel tips on trails across the globe. See our international trails webpage for resources, organizations, and agency websites. As we have learned from the European tradition of footpaths and dedicated bikeways, other countries are learning from our explosion of community trails and rail-trails. Our goal is to share ideas and help connect trail supporters everywhere. Visit the International Trails index page...


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. 


Upcoming Webinars:

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





Sponsor a webinar for only $250!


Sponsor the webinar listed above, or any of our webinars in the Advancing Trails Webinar Series, for only $250! Learn about the benefits and recognition our sponsors receive here.


If you are interested in sponsoring any of our webinars or have any questions, contact Candace Mitchell, Webinar Coordinator, at



Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Questions & Answers


The Federal Highway Administration revised the Transportation Alternatives Program Questions and Answers to address recent input. This Q&A supplements the TAP Program Guidance released in June 2013. The TAP provides funding for programs and projects that includes on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails, and Safe Routes to School projects. Read more on the FHWA website...



What a horse sees: meeting a horse and rider on the trail


Everett Lewis, of Washington Backcountry Horsemen, has made available his video on sharing trails with horses, mountain bikers, and hikers. "What a Horse Sees!" is a short film illustrating safe ways of passing horse and rider on the trail. From that it is just as applicable to those of us riding the horses as the bikers and hikers that also want to learn how to be safe around equines. View the video at Trailmeister...



Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation in Washington State


A new report documents the return on investment in outdoor recreation in the State of Washington. Nearly 200,000 jobs are supported in the state as a result of outdoor recreation spending. A total of 122,600 jobs are from expenditures associated with outdoor recreation on public lands. These numbers compare to jobs supported by other major employers in the state such as information technology (191,000) or the aerospace industry (94,200). Download the 116-page study (pdf 7.9 mb)...


Spring 2015 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... 

March 3-5 - Montgomery Bell State Park, TN *Accessibility Training for Park Facilities 

March 3-6 - Abilene, TX

*Texas Recreation & Park Society Institute

March 9 - Online Webinar hosted by America Walks *Lessons from the Experts: 10 First Steps to Walkability

March 10-12 - Washington, DC

*National Bike Summit

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

March 19 - Online Webinar hosted by American Trails
*Trail Wayfinding Systems: A Practical Guide to Principles, Best Practices, and Deployment ~ Register Now!

April 11-14 - San Francisco, CA *Greater & Greener 2015: Innovative Parks, Vibrant Cities

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: Cross-country skiing at Mountain Dell Golf Course, east of Salt Lake City ~ 6,000 feet elevation; photo by Stuart Macdonald