July 2015 enews header
Join Our Mailing List

Table of Contents

Quick Links

Cool Trails Photo Gallery

Join Today - Support Trails

trails training

National Geographic Map Ad

July 2015 e-Newsletter


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!


Advancing trails for those who build, maintain, use, and dream of trails...


  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 


Call your Senators NOW to save funding for trails, walking, and biking!


The full Senate is gearing up to vote on its version of a transportation bill-and yet another attack on funding for trails, walking, and biking has surfaced! Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has introduced an amendment (S.A. 2280) that eliminates the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)-the nation's largest dedicated source of funding for trails, walking and biking. This program also funds the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), and helps people like you and me stay healthy, get outdoors, support our local economy and get where we need to go. Help us defend funding for TAP, (including the RTP) and for safe places to walk, bike, and ride in your community by calling your senators now.


The Senate could vote on this legislation as early as this weekend, and it's important that your legislators hear from you right away.The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, one of our valued partners, has prepared a webpage that includes contact information, as well as a simple message that you can use to communicate with your senators.  


Call your senators now and please spread the word through your networks! Please take this simple action now... 


Continue to visit American Trails "Supporting Trails" webpage for current alerts and legislation.



American Trails Webinars continue with fall series


The American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series continues this fall. The online educational programs help trail planners, supporters, and managers learn about focused topics of special interest. 


  • September, 2015: "Trail Volunteer Program Development" (presented by Kim Frederick, Chinook Associates)
  • October, 2015: "Youth Serving Accessibility - A Wonderful and Powerful Combination" (presented by the National Park Service)
  • November, 2015: "How to Plan, Design, Fund, Get Right of Way, and Build a Regional Greenway System in 1,500 Days" (presented by The Greenway Team, Alta Planning +Design, Greenways Incorporated, and City of Fayetteville, AR)
  • December, 2015: "The Role of Trails in Healthy Community Design" (presented by Mark Fenton, as well as Bob Searns, The Greenway Team)


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.  

Links to register and more details for our upcoming webinars will be available soon! Read more and see current Advancing Trails Webinar Series schedule...



National Park Service staff can help local projects


The NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program is accepting applications through August 1 for help with a wide range of community-led projects. Project applicants may be state or local agencies, tribes, nonprofit organizations, or citizen groups. Federal agencies may apply in partnership with other local organizations. Read more...


"World of Trails" Magazine now online

The World Trails Network (WTN) has published their first online magazine, World of Trails Magazine. The World Trails Network brings trail association, trail advocates, walkers, hikers, and people passionate about the outdoors together from around the world to foster global collaboration and networking for the betterment of the world's trails. Their digital magazine will offer current information about trails, featuring trails in many nations, as well as access to trail development resources, a forum for exchange on trail matters, and much more. Visit the World Trails Network website or read the first issue of the magazine...



AHS releases Hiking Trails in America report


The American Hiking Society's new report "Hiking Trails in America: Pathways to Prosperity" provides a summary of the last 50 years of trail legislation and development. A highlight of the report is its attention to the economic impact of trails on local communities, the outdoor industry, and the nation as a whole. Download the 28-page report... (pdf 6.7 mb)



50 Years of the Land and Water Conservation Fund


For a concise summary of the program and its benefits see the 2014 report: "The Land and Water Conservation Fund - 50 Years of Conserving America the Beautiful." It includes a history of this important funding program for parks, trails, and open space along with policy recommendations for the future. Download the report... (pdf 13.4 mb)



Tips for being an effective trail advocate


The Outdoor Industry Association presents their "Top 10 Lobbying Tips." The Association encourages supporters of outdoor recreation and public lands to learn how to connect with elected officials to get your concerns heard. Learn more about the "top ten pointers to help you be an effective and impactful lobbyist." Read more...


Oregon's non-motorized trail survey report in support of the 2015-2024 Oregon Trails Plan

In 2014, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) contracted with Oregon State University to conduct a survey of Oregonians who participate in non-motorized trail activities on recreational trails in Oregon. The survey, a component of the 2015-2024 Statewide Trails Plan, provides planners across the state with up-to-date information related to the use of recreational trails by Oregonians for use in local and regional planning. Read the final non-motorized trail survey report... 




Interested in hosting the 2017 International Trails Symposium? 


The bid packet will be finalized in mid-August! If your community is interested in hosting the 2017 International Trails Symposium and wishes to receive the packet once it is available, please email Candace Mitchell at candace@americantrails.org.


To learn more about our past Symposiums, including our most recent one held in Portland, Oregon this past May, click here




Where Should Electric Mountain Bikes Roam?


Should electric-powered mountain bikes be allowed on the same trails as traditional human-powered mountain bikes? Electric mountain bikes--commonly called e-mountain bikes in the cycling industry--are relatively new to the U.S. market. Manufacturers say the bikes will attract new participants and enable older riders to enjoy the trails. Read more and see photos...



Oregon town is becoming a "crossroads" for trail routes


Banks, OR is already known as the southern terminus of the 21-mile-long Banks-Vernonia rail trail that attracts nearly 100,000 visitors annually. Now, a vigorous effort to convert other abandoned or little-used rail lines to trails is shining a light on hiking and cycling routes extending west and south of the town. Four other trails are in various stages of planning, design and construction, including the 86-mile-long Salmonberry corridor. Read more and see photos...


Towpath Trail through Cleveland: progress on a difficult trail


The Towpath Trail project has been ongoing for decades, but as it moves forward through dense urban terrain, it becomes more and more complex. A $700,000 Clean Ohio grant will kick off the final round of land acquisitions needed to finish the next segment of the long-awaited Towpath Trail to be built in the city. In all, completing the remaining sections of the six miles of Towpath in Cleveland will cost an estimated $43 million. Read more and see photos...



Three cases where Minnesota bike tourism is trending well


Bicycle tourists who are hitting the trails are inspiring new services and events in the communities they pass through, while bolstering mainstays such as arts organizations and state parks. Communities and businesses along the Root River, Paul Bunyan, and Mesabi trails are all reporting new growth and positive economic impact from visitors. Read more and see photos... 


Thanks to those that joined us in Portland 
May 17-20, 2015! 

Many Symposium presentations now available online


The program at the International Trails Symposium featured 120 cutting-edge presentations with over 190 presenters, including concurrent sessions, in-depth core tracks, Sustainable Trails workshops offered by the Professional TrailBuilders Association, and 15 mobile workshops throughout the Portland region.

National and international experts provided training on a variety of issues including planning, building, funding, and managing trails -- all that tied into the Symposium theme "Solutions for Success." Thank you to our presenters for sharing their knowledge and expertise, as well as their presentations online.

Many concurrent and core track presentations have been made available to us in PowerPoint or PDF format. 
View presentations available online...   


Global representation from 18 nations


We were excited to welcome to Portland presenters, exhibitors, award winners, attendees, and scholarship recipients from 19 countries:


  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • Nepal (in spirit)
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Russia
  • South Africa
  • Turkey



Due to the massive earthquake that hit Nepal just three weeks prior to the Symposium, seven Nepalese delegates who planned to attend and present were no longer able to. They were all in our thoughts and prayers!



American Trails presents the National & International Trails Award winners 


The American Trails Awards Program recognized the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, and other leaders who are working for the betterment of trails both nationally and internationally. The awards honor outstanding efforts of agencies, communities, corporations, advocates, and the media in improving trails, creating healthier communities, and getting kids as well as adults out on trails and into the outdoors. Read more and see photos of the winners...


"Voices from the Trails" brings Symposium to a close


Everyone who attended the International Trails Symposium was invited to share their thoughts and dreams about the future of trails. Just as the Symposium is about meeting new people and discovering new ideas, we wanted to further explore trails as part of a changing world. We included many of these visions and big ideas as the "Voices" in our closing session. The program was opened by Stuart Macdonald and closed by Galeo Saintz. Hear the "Voices from the Trails"...



16 Emerging Leaders attend on scholarship thanks to donors


Thanks to the support of the nationwide trails community, American Trails brought 16 young trail enthusiasts to the International Trails Symposium through the Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program. These aspiring trail professionals came from four countries (including Nicaragua, Canada, and Russia) and ten states, with interests ranging from trail building to urban planning to conservation.


During their time in Portland, they learned from experts, interacted with a mentor, participated in a hands-on field day and hiking/bicycling excursion, received diversity training, and presented a panel session: 20/something Vision. Over the course of the trip, the scholarship recipients took a big step forward on the path to their career goals.


Thank you to all sponsors, supporters, donors, mentors, and committee members who made the 2015 Emerging Leaders Program a success! We would also like to thank each attendee who took the time to interact with an Emerging Leader, provide advice, and encourage them in their interest in trails.


Meet the 2015 Emerging Leaders...

EL 2015 field day



The Intertwine Alliance opening luncheon presentation "Business as Un-usual"


The Intertwine Alliance is an innovative coalition of over 140 nonprofits, government agencies, and for-profit companies working to mobilize resources behind parks, trails, and natural areas. Presenters from The Intertwine opened the Symposium by sharing about their efforts to move these vital community resources out of second class status and give them their rightful place as a central element of our civic infrastructure.  


View this presentation online and learn about Portland's vision for fostering health and nature in our increasingly urban world...



Trails for Heroes - trail therapy for our wounded veterans


Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trail therapy programs for our nation's wounded veterans are proving to be among the most successful methods of helping our injured service members overcome the ravages of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). At the Symposium closing luncheon, a panel of experts, facilitated by Jan Hancock with Hancock Resources, LLC, shared about their military veteran on-the-trail programs and success stories.


Read more about how you can be involved and view the presentation on the Trails for Heroes webpage... 



Thanks to Symposium sponsors and exhibitors!


We would like to again thank our generous sponsors, supporters, and exhibitors, who helped make the Symposium possible, and whose contributions helped us keep registration fees affordable. We especially would like to thank our primary Planning Partners, the Professional TrailBuilders Association and Metro, who, through dedication and inspiration, helped make the Symposium a success!


Thanks also to Alta Planning + Design for leading the design of the exhibit hall trails and greenways system. Thank you as well to GreenWorks, Mackenzie, WHPacific, Okanogan Trail Construction, and Zeager Bros, Inc. for help with design and surfacing in the exhibit hall.


View all of our sponsors and their websites...



2015 awards for Recreational Trails Program-funded projects


Winners have been announced for the 2015 "Annual Achievement Awards" in recognition of outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program funds. The awards were announced by the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 2015. The awards are part of annual efforts by national trails and outdoor recreation organizations to promote the importance of RTP funding to States across America. Read more and see photos...


Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Des Moines River Water Trail, IA


The 400-mile long Des Moines River Water Trail that runs from Estherville to the Mississippi River, is an extremely scenic stream. Water trail projects along the river received funding from the Recreational Trails Program in 2003, 2005, and 2006. The 20-mile section of the water trail in Polk County includes paddle-in campsites enabling a multi-day paddling experience. Read more and see photos...



New National Recreation Trails designated for 2015


On June 4, 2015, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis designated 10 local and state trails as National Recreation Trails, adding more than 150 miles to the National Trails System. Each year nominations for designation of new National Recreation Trails may be submitted. The NRT Program recognizes trails that provide opportunities for all Americans to enjoy nature and improve the quality of life of our communities. Read more and see photos...



Featured National Recreation Trail: B-Line Trail, Indiana


The B-Line Trail, created from a former railway corridor, runs through the heart of Bloomington, Indiana. The trail not only encourages recreation, fitness, economic development, and community activities, but provides all these things in a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing way. Sculptures and murals, limestone accents from local quarries, trees, and landscaping add to the inviting experience. Read more and see photos... 



All 50 States declare June as Great Outdoors Month™


What started as Great Outdoors Week under President Clinton in 1998 has grown significantly under both the Bush and Obama administrations into a month-long celebration of the outdoors and all the benefits it brings - including annual economic impact of $650 billion nationwide. In 2015, all 50 governors issued Great Outdoors Month™ proclamations. Download your state's proclamation... 



An intimate walk in nature: The best trekking trails in Turkey


Trekking is an activity that was created as an alternative tourism sector over recent years. It is growing quickly in Turkey thanks to the country's countless natural beauties, mountains, and forests that present perfect areas for trekking. This on-foot-journey is a hike through mountainous areas along lovely villages, while enjoying the close contact with nature. Read more and see photos...



Hiking trail opens at still-warm lava field in Iceland


Employees of Vatnajökull National Park have finished marking a hiking trail along the northern edge of Holuhraun lava field. Ranger Hjörleifur Finnsson described the feeling of walking across the lava, which was red hot and glowing only six months ago, to be incredible. The Holuhraun eruption, which began in late August 2014, came to an end last February. People can still feel the heat rising from the lava. Read more and see video...



Top 20 bicycle friendly cities ranked worldwide


The Copenhagenize Design Company believes that "With rising urbanization, our cities need modern mobility solutions, and moving around on two wheels proves time and again that it can offer results." Cities with a regional population over 600,000 were included in the company's competition for a total of 122 cities. The top 20 were picked for serious advocacy, bike facilities, social acceptance, and safety. Read more and see photos...



Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide


A new publication from the Federal Highway Administration outlines planning considerations for separated bike lanes and provides a menu of design options for different road geometries and multimodal scenarios. It also provides detailed intersection design information covering topics such as turning movement operations, signalization, signage, and on-road markings. Case studies highlight best practices and lessons learned throughout the document. Read more and download the report...



Evaluating the Economic Benefits of Nonmotorized Transportation


This Federal Highway Administration report examines potential methods for evaluating the economic benefits from nonmotorized transportation investments at the project, neighborhood, and larger community scale, while highlighting case studies from Minneapolis, Toronto, New York City, and the State of Vermont. Read more and download the report...



Youth Workforce Development Resources available online


MAP-21 Section 1524 requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to encourage States and regional transportation planning agencies to use qualified youth service and conservation corps to perform appropriate transportation-related projects. Recreational Trails Program projects are also encouraged to use service corps. See FHWA's Youth Workforce Development Resources...


Park and Trail Accessibility Design Guidelines


One of the goals of the Malibu Parks Public Access Enhancement Plan is to provide greater access to trails and their associated cultural, historic, and natural resources to all visitors, including persons with disabilities. This publication provides guidelines and best practices for improving accessibility to trails and trail facilities. Download the Accessibility Design Guidelines... (pdf 2.1 mb)



New reports from Safe Routes to School National Partnership


Two new publications highlight the success and goals of the national Safe Routes to School movement: "At the Intersection of Active Transportation and Equity: Joining Forces to Make Communities Healthier and Fairer" and "Taking Back the Streets and Sidewalks: How Safe Routes to School and Community Safety Initiatives Can Overcome Violence and Crime." Read more and download reports...



Summer 2015 opportunities to learn trail skills


Current training opportunities for trail skills across the country. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details... 


August 1-5 - Kansas City, MO

* Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation Annual Meeting


August 3-5 - Valley City, ND

* North Dakota State Trails Conference


August 6-9 - Hibbing, MN

* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School


August 17-21 - Portland, OR

* Comprehensive Bikeway Design 2.0


August 27-30 - Kalamazoo, MI

* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School


September 11-13 - Mammoth Lakes, CA

* IMBA California Summit 2015


September 15-17 - Las Vegas, NV

* National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Annual Conference 


September 19-20 - Flagstaff, AZ

* Arizona Trail Association Trail Training


September 20-22 - Warren, PA
* Pennsylvania Greenways & Trails Summit


September 24 - Worcester, MA

* New England Bike-Walk Summit


October 25-28 - Des Moines, IA

* Mid-America Trails and Greenways Conference (MATAG) 



Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at nttp@americantrails.org.



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


Klean Kanteen moss  

New 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 www.kleankanteen.org.


klean kanteen logo  



Working together - works! There is strength in numbers!


For over 27 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 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.


  DONATE         join now  


 quicklinksQUICK LINKS 


Send news and calendar items to trailhead@americantrails.org.


Advertising Opportunities:

American Trails offers cost-effective advertising opportunities for our Trail Tracks e-Newsletter, the American Trails Magazine, in our Business Directory, and on our website! Find out more here.  



Like us on Facebook        Follow us on Twitter  


Visit our blog 



Header photo: Trail along busy passenger rail line in San Clemente, CA; photo by Stuart Macdonald