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August 2015 e-Newsletter


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!


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


  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 

American Trails Webinars continue with fall series
The American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series continues this fall. The online educational programs help trail professionals and supporters learn about focused topics of special interest.   
  • October 8, 2015: "Youth Serving Accessibility - A Wonderful and Powerful Combination" (presented by Fred Banks, National Park Service)
  • November 5, 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, Arkansas)
  • December 3, 2015: "The Role of Trails in Healthy Community Design" (presented by Mark Fenton, one the nation's experts in walkability)
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...
Congress extends trails funding, works on new transportation bill
After extending funding to October 29, Congress is attempting a long-term bill authorizing funds for transportation. The Senate has passed its version of a new six-year bill, which maintains "Transportation Alternatives Program" (TAP) funding, including trails and bike/ped programs, at $850 million a year, up from the current $819 million. The Recreational Trails Program continues as a "set-aside" fund within the Transportation Alternatives Program. Read more and see other current legislative issues...
Renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is set to expire September 30. NRPA is working hard to maintain this vital funding source for parks and recreation by advocating not only for reauthorization, but for an appropriately funded State Assistance Program. You can help get the message out there, too. They are working with the American Planning Association (APA) on a social media campaign to show Congress how LWCF-funded parks positively impact local communities. A picture is worth a thousand words. Show your members of Congress what a park or public space - funded in part by the LWCF State Assistance Program - means to your community by tweeting a picture of people using the space. All you have to do is tweet a picture of your LWCF parks to your members of Congress and ask them to #RenewLWCF. Click here for more information on how to get involved...
Land and Water Conservation Fund proposed in federal energy bill
Legislation approved by the Senate Energy Committee would reauthorize the LWCF permanently. Most of the funds would be split 40-40 between federal projects and grants to states for local projects, including trails and greenways. The bill would also establish a separate National Park Service maintenance account. LWCF's current authorization will expire on September 30. Read more...

Interested in hosting the 2017 International Trails Symposium? 


The bid packet will be finalized this month! 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


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


National Park Service celebrates 99th birthday on August 25th

America's Best Idea: The National Parks will be fee-free on August 25th in honor of the National Park Service's 99th birthday! Mark your calendar for additional entrance fee-free dates in 2015. Use the hashtag #FindYourPark to share your visit and see how others are celebrating. Learn more...
Sign on to support the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) Route Adjustment Act
Your organization can now sign on to support the passage of the North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act. This Act will significantly advance the completion of the NCT by allowing a route adjustment to avoid unnavigable wetlands in Minnesota as well as extending it in the east so that it will connect to the Appalachian Trail. Read more...
"Like" us on Facebook and "Follow" us on Twitter

Help us continue to build our communications network and join us online! Use the buttons below to keep in touch with American Trails and get updates from the nationwide trails community. Check in with us next month for a special contest that will thank you for helping to spread the word!
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Remembering Deb Hubsmith, SRTS Partnership Founder

On August 18th, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership shared "It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of its founder, Deb Hubsmith. We will remember Deb always and celebrate the legacy of her life as the bold, visionary leader of the Safe Routes to School movement." Read more... 

On behalf of American Trails, our heartfelt sympathy is with the Safe Routes to School Partnership community, Deb's family, her friends, and all those that are a part the trails and bike/ped community. Deb made such a difference in the world and her light will continue to shine forever... We will miss you, Deb.

REI invests in trails, with voters' help

REI's "Every Trail Connects" campaign recently concluded, resulting in a pledge of over $500,000 to expand and protect trails. Voters chose from trails across the country to designate where REI would direct its dollars. The ten trails receiving funding are:
  1. Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail (WA)
  2. Backbone Trail (CA)
  3. Cumberland Island Trail Network (GA)
  4. Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain (NY)
  5. Coast to Crest Trail (CA)
  6. Superior Hiking Trail (MN)
  7. Coon Creek to Bear River Trail System (CA)
  8. Mount Columbia Summit Trail (CO)
  9. Violet Crown Trail (TX)
  10. Bay Circuit Trail and Greenway (MA)

Read more about these trails... 

Arkansas Governor promotes Delta Heritage Trail
A new project would convert an abandoned rail line and Mississippi River levee road into an 84-mile biking and walking trail. Governor Asa Hutchinson, in his weekly radio address, said "I believe in this new vision for the Delta, and I want to do what I can to promote it. I've even pledged to take a bike ride along a portion of the Heritage Trail this fall. I encourage every Arkansan to do the same; to enjoy our great outdoors and to rediscover the Delta." Read more...

Michigan site may be first truly accessible waterfall in the nation
Ocqueoc Falls in northeastern Michigan's picturesque Presque Isle County is one of those places where people feel the urge to get in the water. Now, thanks to the work of the DNR and the Accessibility Advisory Council to make it available to people of all abilities, Ocqueoc Falls may be the first truly universally accessible waterfall in the nation. Grants from a variety of sources, including the Recreational Trails Program, made the renovation work possible. Read more and see photos...
Missouri towns see Rock Island line as another path to prosperity
The Kansas City Star reports that many business owners are preparing for the state to finish conversion of the former Rock Island Railway into a hiking and biking trail. "The trail would stretch about 200 miles in Missouri, from Pleasant Hill, a town half an hour southeast of Kansas City, to Beaufort in the south-central part of the state. It also might loop with the Katy Trail, creating 400 miles of the longest rail-converted trail system in the country." Read more and see photos...
What's the economic impact of ATV trails?
A Wisconsin study will conduct a minimum of 400 surveys of people who are riding on ATV trails - some while they're taking a break on the trails and others while they're at lodging establishments or convenience stores and restaurants. Users will be asked opinions on trail conditions and signage, maintenance, where they're staying and other places they're spending money at while on trips to use the trails. Read more and see photos...
As temperatures rise in Phoenix, hikers embrace heat
Triple digit temperatures keep most people in air-conditioned hiding, but some accept the heat as another outdoor challenge. The New York Times reports on hardy summer trail hikers in Arizona, "a mishmash of a rebel tribe that refuses to surrender: hikers afflicted by ranch-house fever, perhaps, or moved to move at any cost, heat be damned." Read more and see photos... 
National Trails DayŽ 2015 set participation record
The American Hiking Society reports that National Trails Day 2015 events lured more adventurers than ever before, drawing 176,000 explorers to trails in all 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and Canada - a 22 percent increase from 2014. From hiking, biking, and horseback riding to birdwatching, paddling, geocaching and more, NTD event organizers hosted 2,329 activities. National Trails Day is the first Saturday of every June, so mark your calendars for June 4, 2016. Read more about National Trails Day...
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Celebrates 50 years

August marks the official anniversary of the creation of NRPA in 1965. While they will have their big celebration at the 2015 Annual Conference in September, they have some great anniversary-related reads in the commemorative 50th anniversary issue of Parks & Recreation magazine. You don't want to miss the special articles which take a look at the past, the future and everything in between. Read this special issue of the magazine...
Missouri's Best Trails State Award keeps on giving
"Missouri's Best Trails State Award [presented by American Trails at the International Trails Symposium] in 2013 helped get Missourians moving," writes Terry Whaley of Ozark Greenways, Inc. "An award can be representative of the end of the trail - or it can be just the beginning and a launching pad for greater achievements." In this case it helped spark the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge, which in 2015 has led to 24,881 people logging three million miles of trail-related physical activity. Read more and see photos...
Salida, Colorado benefits from BLM "backyard" trail system
When Salida's school district switched to a four-day school week the community saw this as an opportunity for enrichment programming. A youth cycling league was then established. Working with Absolute Bikes, a local bike shop, the kids are able to get out on public lands and ride bikes. Operating on a BLM special recreation permit the young riders improve their fitness while learning important lessons about ethics, natural resources, and stewardship. Read more and see photos...
Featured National Recreation Trail: Columbia River Highway
At its dedication on June 7, 1916, the Columbia River Highway was touted by the Illustrated London News as the "King of Roads." As America's first scenic highway, it is one of the most significant historic roads in the nation. Since then, 63 of the original 73 miles have been opened to travel by bicycle and foot as the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. Read more and see photos...
Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: General Dacey Trail, Illinois
The General Dacey Trail is a six-mile trail system for walkers, runners, and bicyclists that links Shelbyville, Illinois with parks, recreation facilities, and Lake Shelbyville, which is a US Army Corps of Engineers project. An interpretive trail hike has become one of the most requested programs from school groups visiting Lake Shelbyville. Scouts and community groups are also enthusiastic supporters of the trail. Read more and see photos...
More hut-to-hut hiking in the USA?
Sam Demas writes, "Americans love to hike their 167,000 miles of trails located on federal and state lands. We are building new trails to meet demand, and trail use is projected to continue increasing. But how do Americans feel about placing hut systems on some fraction of their trails? How do we feel as a nation about hut-to-hut hiking, skiing and biking? No one knows. It's worth talking about." Read more and see photos...
50 years of National Trails: a very English triumph
Britain's 117,000-mile network of public footpaths and rights of way - used by pilgrims, travelers, and local people for thousands of years - ranks as an ancestral legacy with their greatest buildings and monuments. Yet its history has not been without conflict, and nowhere more so than on the bleak moorlands of the Pennine Way. Read more and see photos...
Spectacular, scenic hiking along New Zealand's Great Walks
Carey Williams of the Associated Press reports on the Great Walks routes, featured by New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC) for their diverse and spectacular scenery. "Five of the nine Great Walks are on the South Island. The DOC, which maintains the trails, checks for hiking passes and staffs the huts with nightly educational talks. The huts on the most popular Great Walks are large, clean cabins with bunk rooms." Read more and see photos...
Historic Uxbridge trestle bridge to connect hiking trails in Canada
Uxbridge will soon add new lustre to its designation as the Trail Capital of Canada with the opening of the restored historic trestle bridge linking portions of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT). The project, which began in 2012, was made possible by a grant of $47,500 from TCT and $80,000 from Ontario's Pan Am Legacy fund. The rest of the $200,000 cost was made up through fundraising, including a $10,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Uxbridge. Read more and see photos...
Updated Forest Service Standard Trail Plans and Specifications
The Missoula Technology & Development Center (MTDC) is in the process of rewriting all training manuals and training guides. One recent accomplishment is an update of the USDA Forest Service Standard Trail Plans and Specifications. These documents are for the design, construction, and maintenance of National Forest System trails and trail bridges. These plans and specifications are available for use by all interested persons. Read more and download plans and specs...
Video: Stevens Creek Trail, California - a historical and users perspective
Parks historically from the very beginnings in 1851 are actually always surrounded with controversy and require long-range vision for their creation. If previous leaders only followed short-term objections, we would be void of most if not all parks in U.S. This mini-film "Why Stevens Creek Trail - a historical and users perspective" briefly chronicles the vision needed for all large parks from America's first park created by Frederick Law Olmsted. See the video: Why Stevens Creek Trail...
Planning and managing ATV trails in the Allegheny National Forest
Good trail planning for OHV trails means that neither rider satisfaction or resource protection should be sacrificed. Riders want the same things that other recreationists do: access to vistas, remote areas, and unique land features or recreation opportunities. This presentation covers trail design and materials, management techniques, and identifying recreation opportunities. Download the presentation... (pdf 4.5 mb)
Economic Impact of the Ohio River Greenway Project
This report provides an examination and evaluation of the current economic impact of the Ohio River Greenway Project in Clarksville, Jeffersonville, and New Albany, Indiana. The average amount of spending was $31.64 across all individuals. The report finds that the vast majority of survey respondents plan to return to the park, and nearly half (49%) of respondents were very likely to recommend the Greenway to a visiting friend or family member. Download the 21-page report... (pdf 403 kb)
Best Practices for Sustainable Trails from Ontario, Canada
The Trails for All Ontarians Collaborative published this 309-page book in 2006, but it is among the most complete reference works for trail builders. It's organized in a "how to" format with tips and clear explanation of virtually every trail topic. The book is called "Guidelines and Best Practices for the Design, Construction, and Maintenance of Sustainable Trails." Download the complete guidebook... (pdf 4.9 mb)
Fall 2015 trail training opportunities
August 27-30 - Kalamazoo, MI
* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School

September 3 - Online Webinar
* U.S. Access Board Webinar: Open Question and Answer Session 
September 11-13 - Mammoth Lakes, CA
* IMBA California Summit 2015
September 13-18 - South Fork, CO
* Colorado 600 Trails Awareness Symposium

September 15 - Online Webinar
* League of American Bicyclists Webinar: Federal Policy Update

September 15-17 - Las Vegas, NV
* National Recreation and Parks Association Conference

September 16 - Online Webinar
* Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals Webinar: Shared Streets, Slow Streets 
September 17-20 - Santa Fe, NM
* Three Trails Conference: El Camino Real, Old Spanish Trail, and the Santa Fe Trail
September 19-20 - Flagstaff, AZ
* Arizona Trail Association Trail Training
September 20-22 - Warren, PA
* Pennsylvania Greenways & Trails Summit
September 21-25 - Stateline, NV
* Oregon-California Trails Association National Convention
September 24 - Worcester, MA
* New England Bike-Walk Summit
September 25-27 - Atlanta, GA
* National Open Streets Summit

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  

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.  





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Header photo: Recycled railroad trestle on the Tommy Thompson Trail, Anacortes, Washington; photo by Stuart Macdonald