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Late March/Early April 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 

Join us in Portland for the Symposium! Register today! 

The 2015 International Trails Symposium will include over 120 educational sessions, 37 workshops, networking opportunities, an indoor trails and greenways exhibit hall, and an outdoor trade show and demonstration area. Register early to secure your spot in American Trails Mobile and Featured Workshops and PTBA Sustainable Trails Workshops!


Now available:


Don't forget ~ American Trails members save on registration rates!

You can join the American Trails network when you register for the Symposium.  


Nominate your RTP-funded trail for nationwide awards


The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) sponsors the Annual Achievement Awards to help build awareness and appreciation of the highly successful Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Outstanding projects funded by the 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... 


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. 


NEW! Archived Webinar recording now available for purchase:

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



Learn more about S. 705 ~ the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act (TAPIA)


Congress is preparing to take action on a new transportation bill. Given the shortfall of federal transportation dollars, already some members of Congress are questioning why the federal government provides any funding for bicycling and walking. Your help is needed to make sure that Congress doesn't cut funding to help local communities build sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, trails and more. The Transportation Alternatives Program provides hundreds of millions of dollars each year to local communities to invest in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Consider asking your Senators to stand up for the Transportation Alternatives Program by cosponsoring S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act (TAPIA). Learn more on the Safe Routes to School National Partnership website...    



What's the future of the Land and Water Conservation Fund?


Will there be enough bipartisan support for extending funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund? From parks to playgrounds, wilderness to wetlands, bicycle paths to hiking trails, LWCF has helped communities nationwide build trails and acquire parkland, water resources, and open space. Read current news and background on LWCF...


May 17-20, 2015 ~ Portland, Oregon


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


The Symposium addresses all aspects 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. 



Truly an International Trails Symposium!


To date, we have presenters and attendees coming from the following countries:


  • Australia
  • Canada
    • Alberta (Emerging Leaders Scholarship Recipient)
    • British Columbia
    • Ontario
    • Quebec
  • Chile
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua (Emerging Leaders Scholarship Recipient)
  • Russia ~ Siberia (Emerging Leaders Scholarship Recipient)
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Turkey


Learn about trails, including pilgrimage routes, that are contributing to a country's health and economic vitality and learn new perspectives on how to plan, design, build, advocate for, fund, and market trails from around the world. Share knowledge and successes to improve trails worldwide. Network and share your success stories with our visitors. American Trails is still seeking funding for international scholarships. Click here to download a list of Concurrent Sessions and Trail Talks being offered by international presenters... (pdf download link at top of the page)



Come early to attend Sunday events!


There are several free public events on Sunday, May 17 that you will not want to miss:


  • PTBA Outdoor Trade Show and Demonstration Area (8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)
  • Exhibit Hall Opens: This is the best day to visit with exhibitors! (12:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.)
  • 5th Annual Metro Trails Fair and American Trails Building Public Awareness Event for Trails in the Exhibit Hall (12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.) ~ OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
  • 8 Concurrent Sessions (12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
  • Horse Trails Caucus (3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
  • Happy Trails Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall (5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.)


Download a detailed schedule of events at the top of the Registration webpage...

Register today for American Trails Mobile and Featured Workshops!

Workshops are filling up fast and are on a first come, first serve basis. Register today to reserve your spot!

Mobile Workshops:
  • Lewis and Clark Coastal Hiking Adventure! ~ SOLD OUT
  • Exploring the 40-Mile Loop Trail by Bike
  • Exploring the Intertwine Regional Trails and Park System
  • Sandy Ridge Mountain Bike Trail
  • Walk the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail
  • Kayak the Lewis River-Vancouver Lake Water Trail
  • Canoe the Willamette River (In 2 Person Canoes)
  • Canoe the Willamette River (In One Large Canoe)
  • Explore the Alleys of North and Northwest Portland by Bike
  • Exploring the Historic Trolley Trail on Foot
  • Hike Portland's Forest Park ~ SOLD OUT
  • Hike the Scenic Cape Horn Trail
  • Horses and Trails - Helping Heroes
  • OHV Ride at Tillamook State Forest
  • Walk and Ride the 4Ts - Trail, Tram, Trolley, and Train!
  • Walk the Fanno Creek Greenway Trail


Featured Workshops: 

  • Strategic Thinking for Decision Making
  • Horse Trails Caucus
  • Trail Fundamentals and TMOs: Cornerstones of Effective Trail Management
  • Becoming Compliant with the Accessibility Guidelines for Developed Areas



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.

Contact for an exhibitor form or for more information.

Support an Emerging Leader to attend the Symposium on scholarship!

This year's Symposium will be the most diverse yet in attendance as 15 Emerging Leaders (ages 19-25) from across the country and abroad (including Nicaragua, Alberta, Canada, and Russia [though currently based in Washington state for an internship)] will come to learn the foundations of establishing a career in the trails world, and over 10 international presenters will give attendees a different perspective on trail building, planning, and management techniques.

Gema 2015 EL
Meet Gema from Nicaragua, one of the young trail enthusiasts who received a 2015 Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders Scholarship

We hoped to fund 20 Emerging Leaders (ages 19-25) but to date, we have only been able to fund 15 of the 20. We have five aspiring young trail professionals on the waiting list ready to attend once more funding is received. Click here to meet them!

Any level of donation will help bring the remaining five Emerging Leaders to the Symposium. Your generous donation will help ensure the best Symposium to date!


Hotel Accommodations


Space is filling up fast at our host hotels. Be sure and mention you are with the block "International Trails Symposium" to receive the group rate.  


You must make your hotel reservation by April 22 in order to take advantage of the Symposium discount rate (subject to space availability). Read more on our host hotels and Symposium rates... 


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 April 15. 


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 


Volunteer opportunities are available during the Symposium!


We have volunteer positions to fit a variety of skill sets or time commitments. Volunteer positions include: registration check-in, merchandise sales, silent auction coordination, exhibit hall set up, room hosting/monitoring, and more!


A big thank you to The Intertwine Alliance for being the Volunteer Coordinator!   


See a complete listing here and fill out the online volunteer form... 




Rail with trail underway along Portland's MAX tracks


Gresham, Oregon is building a wide new paved path alongside the MAX tracks between the Cleveland Avenue station, at the eastern end of the Blue Line, and the Ruby Junction station where many TriMet trains stop their runs to go out of service. When it opens sometime this year, it'll be a million-dollar upgrade to the current path that's run in the grass alongside the tracks for years. Read more and see photos...


Bike-friendly apartment complex in Des Moines, Iowa


The developers of a 154-unit apartment complex are responding to the growing trend in bicycling in downtown Des Moines. Because the apartments sit on the convergence of three bike trails, bike lovers are being targeted as occupants. The CleanTechnica website says that "bike-riding residents have been shown to engage in commercial activity a great deal, more than drivers, and result in very strong economic gains (while driving results in economic losses)." Read more...



New Mexico Governor backs Rio Grande Trail


"Let's create a trail that will showcase 500 miles of New Mexico from Colorado to Texas," Governor Susana Martinez told a news conference Friday at Albuquerque's Rio Grande Nature Center. "It is a really ambitious but very wonderful goal. It is bold, but it is something we can do." Martinez also announced her support for a bill, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, which calls for establishing a commission to oversee the development of the Rio Grande Trail, envisioned as the state's version of the Appalachian Trail. Read more and see photos...



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. This program of the Federal Highway Administration is one of the essential ways that trails are funded across the country. Read more and download the report...


Volunteers to build accessible trail at Vancouver Lake


In partnership with Clark County, Washington Trails Association (WTA) is building a six-foot wide, crushed rock trail between Vancouver Lake and Buckmire Slough. Work has been accomplished by a grant from the Parks Foundation of Clark County plus many hours of dedicated volunteers. The path threads through a mature cottonwood forest along an old dike. Trail crews are also on the lookout for large tree roots which they avoid by ramping over them with rock fill or curving around them to keep the tread accessible and barrier-free. See project photo gallery...



Economic impacts of Iowa's river and nature-based recreation


Outdoor nature-based recreation is one of the largest industries in Iowa. Recent studies looking at different aspects of Iowa's natural areas show how it is vital to the state's economy. In particular, Iowa's extensive network of rivers and streams are increasingly popular for tourism. The overall economic impact from river recreation along 73 Iowa river and stream segments supports more than 6,350 jobs with $824 million in sales and $130 million of personal income. Read more...



Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Banks-Vernonia State Trail, Oregon


The Banks-Vernonia State Trail was Oregon's first rail-trail project. Just 30 miles west of Portland, the multi-use trail follows an abandoned railroad bed that stretches 21 miles between the towns of Banks and Vernonia in the northwest corner of the state. Trail highlights include 13 bridges and views from the 733-foot long Buxton Trestle. Read more and see photos...



Featured National Recreation Trail: Alabama Scenic River Trail


The Alabama Scenic River Trail is approximately 631 miles in length. It is considered to be the longest water trail in a single state. The Alabama Scenic River Trail Association publishes four trail guides, each describing in detail the route through a portion of the trail, providing information on campgrounds, marinas, put-in and take-out locations, and points of interest. Read more and see photos...


20 years of modern recreation trails in Western Australia


Western Australia's modern trails community was born out of a government initiative 20 years ago. Today, the importance of trails is becoming better understood and is seen as relevant to better community outcomes. The report profiles important trails, documents the value of trails, and recaps the politics and funding that have helped create a modern culture of trails. Download the illustrated 76-page report...  (18.7 mb)



Cycling the desert: new Israel Bike Trail


As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop trails that make the country's spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The Tourism Ministry estimates that the trail from Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat will promote economic growth in the region as new initiatives open up alongside existing tourism enterprises - offering overnight accommodations, hospitality, and logistics for cyclists traveling the trail. Read more and see photos...



Crypt Lake Trail: Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada


The hike to Crypt Lake along the Crypt Lake Trail is a great day hike with a little bit of adventure thrown into the mix at Waterton Lakes National Park. You start with a boat ride across Upper Waterton Lake, then hike by four gorgeous waterfalls, climb a steel ladder, crawl through a narrow tunnel for nearly 100 feet, and walk directly above a harrowing cliff as you hold on to a steel cable. Read more and see photos...

Webinar on FHWA's Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation

A recorded webinar is available on the Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation. The Federal Highway Administration is doing research for a "framework for issues such as data collection and management, network implementation and documentation, research, training, and national design guidance. The strategic framework will inform future investments, coordinate policies, and promote partnerships." Launch the recorded webinar...



Reducing liability associated with public access


Public access to property for recreational uses such as hiking, bird watching, fishing and hunting raises concern about the possibility of liability on account of injury to a recreational user. Most state laws provide some protection from liability associated with public use of property for recreational purposes. The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association details practical steps to minimize risk of liability that will be useful for projects in every state. Read more...



Anchoring trail markers and signs in rocky areas


Installing trail markers and signposts in rocky backcountry terrain is difficult. The old solution was for trail crews and hikers to build rock cairns. Anchoring systems now help recreation crews install permanent trail markers. The San Dimas Technology and Development Center developed instructions, with materials lists, for installing trail markers and signposts, under varying conditions, without the use of heavy tools and equipment. Download the research report... (pdf 668 kb)



Louisville Loop Master Plan: 100-mile loop path system


A plan to complete the Louisville Loop would link Louisville's diverse parks and neighborhoods along more than 100 miles of paved trail. The plan also provides for connections to southern Indiana and surrounding Kentucky counties, offering significant new opportunities for recreation and alternative transportation. The Ohio River Levee Trail and the RiverWalk are now connected, and the loop is approximately 25% complete. Download the 80-page study... (pdf 11.8 mb)

Resource education curriculum for youth conservation corps
Kristen Schulte, an Emerging Leader at the American Trails 2013 International Trails Symposium, shared a set of 17 one-hour lessons highlighting specific concepts related to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This Resource Education Curriculum was developed for the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps. It teaches leadership, cultural heritage, ecological relationships, stewardship, and sustainability. Read more and download the Curriculum...



Guide for creating safer communities for walking and biking


The Federal Highway Administration recently released "A Resident's Guide for Creating Safer Communities for Walking and Biking." This guide provides examples from other communities working to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. It includes ideas and resources to help residents learn about issues that affect walking and bicycling conditions along with checklists, tip sheets, worksheets, and sample solutions. Download the 100-page guide... (pdf 2.7 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... 

April 9-12 - Fruitland Park, FL
*Florida Trail Association Annual Conference

April 10 - Des Moines, IA
*Equestrian Soft Trails Conference

April 10 - Provo, UT
* 2015 Utah Bike Summit: Two Wheels, One Love

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 18-19 - National Parks Across America
*Arizona Trail Association Trail Training
April 22 - Columbus, OH
*Ohio Bicycling Summit
April 22-24 - Yosemite, CA
*California Trails and Greenways Conference

April 23-24 - Wasilla, AK
*Alaska Trails Statewide Trails Conference
May 17-20 - Portland, OR
*American Trails International Trails Symposium and Professional Trailbuilders Association (PTBA) Sustainable Trails Workshops 

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: Banks-Vernonia State Trail, photo by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department