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September 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...


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Interested in hosting the 2017 International Trails Symposium? 


If your community is interested in hosting the 2017 International Trails Symposium and wishes to receive the packet, please email Candace Mitchell at


The deadline for proposals is October 15, 2015. 


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


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, Program Director, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • November 5, 2015: "How to Plan, Design, Fund, Get Right of Way, and Build a Regional Greenway System in 1,500 Days"
    • Presented by Bob Searns, The Greenway Team; Jeff Olson, Alta Planning + Design; Chuck Flink, Greenways Incorporated; and Matt Mihalevich, City of Fayetteville, Arkansas
    • Register and learn more...
  • December 3, 2015: "The Role of Trails in Healthy Community Design"
    • Presented by Mark Fenton, a transportation, planning, and public health consultant, author, PBS television host, and active transportation advocate; with an introduction by Bob Searns, The Greenway Team
    • Register and learn more...
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 and are available for an additional $20 fee.

View our current Advancing Trails Webinar Series schedule as well as a list of all of our past webinars and recordings available for purchase or free! 
Every Kid in a Park program targets fourth graders
A new Federal government initiative will provide fourth graders free access to federal public lands. Every Kid in a Park is described as "a multi-pronged approach to inspire the next generation to discover all that our nation's public lands and waters have to offer, including opportunities to be active, spend time with friends and family, and serve as living classrooms to build critical skills." Read more and access free pass...
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Surgeon General promotes walkable communities
Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities recognizes the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities. It calls on Americans to be more physically active through walking and calls on the nation to better support walking and walkability. Helping people make the decision to walk can be made easier by improvements to community walkability and by programs and policies that encourage walking. Read more...

Arizona Trail Association receives State's top Environmental Excellence Award
On Saturday, September 12 the Arizona Trail Association (ATA) was given top honors at Arizona Forward's 35th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony in Phoenix. The ATA was awarded The Crescordia, the highest award given by Arizona Forward, for "their unique approach to fostering long-term environmental sustainability throughout the state" in addition to their Seeds of Stewardship program, encouraging youth engagement, environmental education and stewardship; their Gateway Community program, increasing tourism, business development and eco-linkages within 33 communities; health and wellness challenges for the business community; and supporting Warrior Hikers to "walk off the war" along the Arizona National Scenic Trail.
Arizona Forward initiated the Environmental Excellence Awards in 1980 to recognize outstanding contributions to the physical environment of Arizona's communities. The awards serve as a benchmark for promoting sustainability, conserving natural resources and preserving the unique desert environment for future generations. Over 120 entries were received in 2015, and 17 Crescordia Awards were given. To learn more, please visit

Great Shasta Rail Trail visionaries celebrate success

The Great Shasta Rail Trail (GSRT) will link the towns of McCloud and Burney in far northern California, and nearby recreation areas along an 80-mile scenic trail featuring local heritage and culture, close connections to nature, and boosting the economic and social vitality of local communities. On September 26 and 27, the Shasta Land Trust and the Great Shasta Rail Trail Association celebrated the acquisition of the Rail Trail corridor. Learn more about one of the newest rail trails in the country...
David Suzuki: how to connect kids with nature
Scientist and broadcaster David Suzuki writes about connecting children with nature: "Over the last decade, researchers have documented what most of us know intuitively: nature is good for learning, health, and well-being. Being regularly immersed in the outdoors can reduce stress and symptoms of attention-deficit disorders AND boost immunity, energy levels, and creativity. Plus, children who spend time in nature are far more likely to care about protecting it later in life." Read more...
Boardwalk is part of habitat restoration project in Twin Cities
A new 1.5-mile boardwalk and paved trail at the Minnehaha Creek Preserve has been opened in suburban Minneapolis. The area is where 4,600 feet of a previously straightened creek channel was restored into a series of curves that will provide wildlife habitat, increase green space, and improve water quality. In addition to the accessible nature trail, the project creates an outdoor classroom space for schools and community groups. See video and read more about the project...
Volunteers hope to reassemble long-abandoned rail corridor
Walkers and bikers are using a small portion of an eastern New York rail corridor that had been dormant for more than 60 years. The Corkscrew Rail Trail is a modest unpaved path, but creating it required serious effort. The rail line was abandoned so long ago that the right of way has fallen into the hands of many different landowners. Organizers say they hope the opening of the new trail section will be the first tangible step in an effort to link other sections to form a longer trail through Stephentown and New Lebanon - and eventually, perhaps, to other towns along the old railroad route. Read more and see photos...

Illinois' ongoing financial crisis threatens trails 
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the state agency that manages parks and recreation, has deferred so much maintenance (going back at least 10 years) that the work is projected to cost more than $720 million if everything is completed by 2020. The trails backlog is estimated at $85.8 million. For example, the Rock Island Trail, a 26-mile hiking and bike path near Peoria, contains a washout that has blocked the road for years around the 13-mile mark, essentially cutting the trail in half. Read more and see photos...
A two-day biking adventure on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath
Tim Warsinskey and Ted Crow of the Cleveland Plain Dealer biked all 84 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. They share photos and videos along with the history of the nearly 200-year old canal. Along the trail and at visitor centers, visitors can learn more about the cultural, historic, natural, and recreational resources being preserved and celebrated along the trail. More than 2.5 million people enjoy the trail each year. Read more and see photos...
Shoreline Greenway: a study in patience, flexibility, and creativity
This 25-mile trail along Connecticut's southern coast has already been many years in the making, with many more ahead of it. The trail faces just about every challenge possible, from acquiring numerous private property easements, to coordinating between four towns, to designing through varying types of terrain. But finding ways to move it forward provides a model for trail enthusiasts across the country looking for trail solutions of their own. Read more and see photos...
Featured National Recreation Trail: Rogue River Trail, Oregon
The Rogue River National Recreation Trail traverses the wild section of the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River along its entire length, offering scenic landscapes and opportunities for hiking and backpacking. The Salem, OR Statesman Journal describes the setting: "The mountains encase the valley in thousand-foot walls, and the river glides deep and green past wildlife, forest, and a civilization of rustic lodges built beginning in the 1930s." Read more and see photos...
Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Navajo Lake, New Mexico
The San Juan River below Navajo Dam is one of the top ten fly fishing locations in North America. The access trail descends steeply down a north-facing slope from a parking lot to the wetlands and river below. A Recreational Trails Program (RTP) project supported the design and reconstruction of the eroded trail. One hundred tons of materials were used to widen the trail tread, reduce the gradient, reduce tread erosion, and stabilize the steep, highly erodible side slopes. Read more and see photos...
Featured Online Business Directory Advertiser: Creative Pultrusions
Creative Pultrusions, Inc. (CPI) has been manufacturCreative Pultrusions logoing pultruded  profiles, for over 40 years, including light weight, low maintenance ADA compliant deck systems that support foot, bicycle, and maintenance traffic. The systems are aesthetically pleasing and extremely functional! Learn more about them in the American Trails Online Business Directory...
Great Himalaya Trails, Nepal: update on Earthquake 2015
As you are aware, on April 25th, 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. The earthquake caused damage and widespread destruction, displacement of people from their homes, caused fatalities, and triggered many landslides, and did major damage to the Great Himalaya Trails (GHT) - a major lifeline for the Nepalese people.
The Great Himalaya Trails is a network of trails that makes it possible to hike in the Nepali hills and mountains, including in the popular trekking areas of Everest and Annapurna to more populated and secluded treks. The GHT is the banner that covers the entire Nepali Himalayas. Along the trails, you'll find big mountains, astounding vistas, welcoming villages and a unique personal challenge. Those who have trekked along the GHT have called it a spiritual journey. Tourism will play a large role in re-building, and one of the best ways to support the Nepalese people is by planning a holiday to this beautiful country in the very near future. Visit the Great Himalaya Trails Instragram page to view photos along this "network of extraordinary journeys"...
The earthquake has captured the attention of the world and Samarth-Nepal Market Development Programme (NMDP) has collected some resources that explain the earthquake, its impacts and the work being done to re-build the affected areas and specifically tourism in those areas. Resources to learn more... 

As per a request of support from the Samarth-Nepal (NMDP), American Trails, attendees from the American Trails International Trails Symposium, the Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA) and the World Trails Network (WTN) are all in the process of raising funds and securing resources to send trail experts over to assist with assessing trails and providing technical assistance on how to improve/redevelop trails for sustainability, as well as to maximize the trekking experience. Watch for details on how you can join in these efforts in the October issue of the American Trails e-Newsletter and on the American Trails home page (in the very near future).

Edmonton Freezeway: a seven-mile ice skating trail
There's got to be a more fun way to commute during the coldest months of the year, and Canada may have the solution. The city of Edmonton is considering creating a seven-mile ice skating trail called a Freezeway, first proposed by a University of British Columbia student in 2012. A multi-purpose trail that runs along two existing railroad tracks, leading to downtown Edmonton, would be "unified" and covered with ice, similar to natural trails like Ottawa's Rideau Canal and Winnipeg's The Forks on the Red River. Read more and see photos...
Spectacular Pennine Way celebrates 50th anniversary
The UK's oldest national trail hits its 50th birthday this year, and tourism bosses are urging walkers to celebrate the anniversary by pulling on their boots and visiting the route. The Pennine Way, which runs from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders, passes through three national parks. The path also traverses the North Pennines area of outstanding natural beauty, two national nature reserves, and 20 sites of special scientific interest. Read more and see photos... 

10 cities reinventing the relationship with their rivers
The Landscape Architects Network looks at 10 cities that found a way to improve their quality of life and reintroduce nature back into the heart of the city through reinventing the relationship to their rivers. "Some are pushing away infrastructure or rediscovering abandoned industrial riverside heritage to reintroduce nature and increase the quality of life of the surrounding areas." Read more and see photos...
October 8 American Trails webinar: Youth Serving Accessibility
"Youth Serving Accessibility: A Wonderful and Powerful Combination" is the title of the next American Trails webinar to be held October 8, 2015. The presenter is Fred Banks, an expert at managing youth programs with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, who will discuss three accessible case studies, including the design and construction of two Sensory Trails and an accessible boardwalk and kayak launch along the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail. Read more and register for the webinar...
USDOT guidance on Funding, Design, and Environmental Review
The U.S. Department of Transportation works to encourage safety for bicyclists and pedestrians on streets and at multimodal connections. A number of common misconceptions have been raised about the use of Federal funding, street design, and the Environmental Review process. A new document from USDOT clarifies Federal standards and State and local practice, and links to resources that provide more detail on the topic. Download the USDOT Q&A on bicycle/pedestrian projects... (pdf 629 kb)
WEBINAR: learn how to navigate the Recreational Trails Program Database
Learn how to navigate the Federal Highway Administration's Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Database by viewing the newly updated webinar. The database, which records over 20,400 projects and over $1 billion in funding, is a great resource for Members of Congress, Governors and other policy makers, State Trail Administrators, project managers, stakeholders, and the general public. Follow along as the RTP Database Research Coordinator demonstrates the numerous searches that can be done in the database. Find projects based on their name, location, Congressional District, type of project, and more. Find the link to the free webinar on the right hand side of the RTP Database homepage.

The RTP Database project is funded by the Federal Highway Administration through the Recreational Trails Program. The contractor for the RTP Database project is KMS Enterprises, Inc., with American Trails as its subcontractor.

For technical inquiries in regards to the RTP Database, email American Trails at

Designing Sustainable Off-Highway Vehicle Trails
Kevin Meyer, past regional trails specialist for the National Park Service, shares his years of experience addressing surface protection, resource management, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) issues on Federal, State, and private lands. He describes sustainability concepts, trail fundamentals, and 10 management elements for a systematic, scientific approach to OHV management. Eight appendixes cover a range of information. Read more and download the Designing Sustainable Off-Highway Vehicle Trails: an Alaska Trail Manager's Perspective report...
Capital Area Greenway Planning & Design Guide, Raleigh, NC
The goal of a new guide from the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resource Department is to develop a safe and accessible multi-use trail system providing recreation and transportation opportunities, while preserving thousands of acres of natural areas. The guide covers the Greenway Planning and Public Participation, Greenway User Types and Design Needs, Design Standards and Guidelines, and Trail Management. Download the 104-page report... (pdf 14.2 mb)
Fall 2015 trail training opportunities
Current training opportunities for trail skills across the country. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details... 
October 1, 2015 - Online Webinar 
* Missouri State Parks presents Long Distance Trails - think regionally, implement locally    

October 1-4, 2015 - Fountain City, WI
* Design & Build Sustainable Trails
October 2-4, 2015 - Idyllwild, CA
* Southern California Trails Skills College
October 5 - Cape Girardeau, MO
* 20th Annual Trail of Tears Conference & Symposium
* Youth Serving Accessibility: A Wonderful and Powerful Combination
October 17-18 - Patagonia, AZ
* Arizona Trail Association Trail Training
October 20-23 - Vienna, Austria
* Walk 21
October 25-28 - Des Moines, IA
* Mid American Trails & Greenways Conference
October 27-29 - Bozeman, MT
* Montana Trails, Recreation, and Parks Annual Conference
October 27-31 - Folsom, CA
* Annual NOHVCC and INOHVAA Joint Conference
October 28-29 - Des Moines, IA
* UTAP/HETAP Workshop
October 28-30 - Washington, DC
* National Walking 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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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.


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Header photo: The Midtown Greenway is a 5.5-mile rail trail in Minneapolis that is grade-separated from the street grid for most of its distance across the city; photo by Stuart Macdonald