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October 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 

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.
  • November 5, 2015: "How to Plan, Design, Fund, Get Right of Way, and Build a Regional Greenway System in 1,500 Days"
  • 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! Learn more about CEUs and how to sponsor a webinar as well. 
The Land and Water Conservation Fund has EXPIRED!
Congress debates reauthorizing money for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Politics are heating up for action. Many voices, including the President's, urge Congress to act on reauthorizing LWCF funding.
President Obama, in his weekly radio address, talked about the importance of protecting America's natural treasures for the next generation by immediately reauthorizing LWCF.  The President stated:

"For more than half a century, this fund [LWCF] has protected more than 5 million acres of land - from playgrounds and parks to priceless landscapes - all without costing taxpayers a dime. Nearly every single county in America has benefited from this program. It has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Republicans in Congress should reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund without delay."

House transportation bill would continue Recreational Trails Program funding
The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee released its Federal transportation funding bill October 16. The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is continued as a separate entity in the bill within a new Surface Transportation Block Grant Program. After the current funding authorization expires October 29, Congress will have to reconcile House and Senate versions. The only State not participating in RTP funding this year is Connecticut. Read more and watch for updates on Federal funding for trails...
Update on the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA)
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) bill updates federal fee collection and spending.
The House Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, October 28, on legislation that would rewrite FLREA, which gives federal agencies authority to increase (and decrease) entrance and user fees. Read more...  

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Save the Date: December 1 donate to American Trails to help Nepal's Trails and Tourism!

OUR GOAL: We hope to raise $5,000+ to aid in helping Nepal rebuild its trails system following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred on April 25, 2015. We have the opportunity to send several trail experts to Nepal who are willing to volunteer their time to provide critical assistance, but we need to raise funds to get them there! Our friends in Nepal will take care of all in country expenses. Learn More...

By making an online donation to American Trails at www.northstategives.org on Tuesday, December 1 (6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. PACIFIC), your dollars will go further thanks to incentives provided by Shasta Regional Community Foundation.  
Photo contest for National Recreation Trails ~ deadline December 15
American Trails sponsors an annual contest for photographs of National Recreation Trails (NRT) across the country. It's easy to enter, so take your camera when you're out on the trail! We'll be giving awards in several categories to highlight the diversity of the NRTs and to showcase these great trails. Visit the NRT Database of designated trails in your area. Deadline for entries is December 15, 2015. View past photo contest winners and learn how to enter... 
Walk Friendly Communities recognized for 2015
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has announced its annual Walk Friendly Communities designations, recognizing Springfield, MO, Decatur, GA, and Columbia, SC. The program will begin accepting applications for the next round on November 1, 2015, with the deadline for submissions on December 15. Read more and see how to apply for community recognition...
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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 in November for a special contest that will thank you for helping to spread the word!
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Funding available for small community design and development

Small towns and rural communities can seek funding to build their capacity and acquire technical expertise for projects such as managing and shaping community growth, the design of community-supportive transportation systems, and preservation of natural and historic landscapes. The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts. Read more and download funding applications... 


REI is closing on Black Friday!
Message from Jerry Stritzke, President and CEO of REI:
"You read that correctly. On November 27, we'll be closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside. Here's why we're doing it. For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth. We're a different kind of company-and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we'll be spending our day a little differently. We're choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us." #optoutside

Learn how you can participate...

Remembering Tom Neenan, pioneering Iowa trail leader
Tom Neenan began his trails career in the 1970s. While serving on the Linn County Conservation board he played a major role in creating one of Iowa's first rail trails, the 57-mile Cedar Valley Nature Trail between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids. In 1984, Tom was instrumental in forming the Iowa Trails Council, and as its leader participated in establishing over 1,150 miles of trails on former railroad rights-of-way. He also served on the American Trails Board. Read more about Tom Neenan...
National Public Lands Day continues success in public involvement
On September 26, 2015, our nation celebrated the 22nd National Public Lands Day in various ways -- hikes, free entrance days, trail maintenance parties, campouts, shoreline cleanups, and more. Approximately 200,000 volunteers and park visitors celebrated our public lands at 2,520 sites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Read more...
When urban bears conflict with Alaska trail users
In the past two decades, bear attacks have become more frequent, closer to settled areas and, increasingly, have endangered women, runners, and cyclists. Bear attacks aren't random, and we have more control over where and why they happen than most people realize. Some trails are inherently more dangerous because they're more likely to attract bears. In the Anchorage area, these are trails near salmon-spawning streams where bears need to fish. Read more and see photos...   

Happy trails: popularity of biking leads to more state trails
The thrust to build bike trails around Wisconsin, and, for that matter, the entire United States has gained momentum in the last several years, paralleling a movement to improve health and reduce obesity in both adults and kids in America. The initiatives have grown competitive as States vie for tourism dollars. It's hard to find a community that doesn't share a glowing economic improvement story because of a bike path nearby. Read more and see photos...

Nature parks sprout in Fargo where floods once devastated
In Fargo, ND former housing subdivisions are being transformed into a vast greenway. So far 23 parcels of land on both sides of the Red River - most of them vacated by flood mitigation home buyouts - have formed a network of nature parks totaling almost 1,000 acres. In another few years, that total could grow to about 1,500 acres. The initiative's partners envision a system of trails linking the open space on both sides of the river. The project wouldn't be possible without the support of benefactors and foundations. Read more and see photos...
A hiker's journey over the Koolau Mountain trails
Many of Oahu's best hiking trails are along the Koolau mountain range, ascending valley ridges rising inland from urban centers to flora-rich summits and a 37-mile windswept spine. However, the most scenic of these trails often require practiced hiking skills, rugged stamina, and full-day commitments. Photographer David Chatsuthiphan chronicles many of these trails in images and stories featured in Hawai'i Magazine. Read more and see photos...
Youth bicycle the Gullah Geechee National Heritage Corridor
Two dozen young riders cycled the Gullah Geechee Corridor from Wilmington, NC to Charleston, SC, and on into Georgia. Greenway planners had wondered if the youth group would enjoy a two-week ride and if it would excite residents and leaders along the route about what could happen next. And could the tour's lofty premise also excite an adult touring market by rediscovering America through this ancestral African-American region? Read more and see photos...
Featured National Recreation Trail: Tillamook County Water Trail, OR
The Tillamook County Water National Recreation Trail encourages the quiet exploration of bays, estuaries, and rivers along the coast of northwest Oregon. The water trail project grew out of the interest of natural resource agencies, businesses, landowners, and paddlers, led by the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership. Maps detail the location of public access points, along with environmental education and guidance on safety, wind, and water conditions. Read more and see photos...
Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Rivanna Trail, VA
The Rivanna National Recreation Trail is a twenty-mile rustic footpath meandering through the natural greenbelt that surrounds the City of Charlottesville. This urban wilderness trail encourages people of all ages to exercise, have fun with friends, and learn about the natural world. A designated National Recreation Trail, the project has received funding from the Recreational Trails Program. Trail construction and ongoing maintenance are done entirely by volunteers, coordinated by the Rivanna Trails Foundation. Read more and see photos...
Featured Online Business Directory Advertiser: BioSpan Technologies
BioSpan Technologies, Inc., a green technology company, is committed to providing cost effective and environmentally friendly solutions in the fields of paving, including their state-of-the-art asphalt sealer, RePLAY™, the #1 product in use. RePLAY™ Agricultural Oil Seal and Preservation Agent is a patented solution that extends the life of paved asphalt surfaces when applied every 3-5 years. Learn more about them in the American Trails Online Business Directory...

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"Trail Capital of Canada" adds more mountain bike routes
The Durham (Ontario) Mountain Biking Association coordinated 5,000 volunteer hours in designing, mapping, and building the new trail system, located on the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority lands. The trails in Durham are designed specifically for use by mountain bikers. One of the goals of the project is to reduce conflict among trail users in heavily trafficked trail areas such as Durham Forest. Read more and see photos...
Israel's 620-mile national trail brings Jewish history to life
The Israel National Trail meanders 1,000 km from Israel's north to the southern tip of Eilat's Gulf of Aqaba. Enthusiast Avraham Tamir, fresh off an Appalachian Trail experience, dreamed of a national trail in Israel and made it a reality in 1995. Since its creation, hundreds of thousands have hiked its byways. In a country where political pressures often divide the citizens, it also exposes Israelis and visitors alike to the cultural and geophysical variety of the Jewish state. Read more and see photos...

Mapping Greece's trails with Google technology
Google's Trekker program enables explorers to borrow a special backpack mounted kit which includes the same camera device found on Google Street View vehicles. This offers tourism boards, nonprofit organizations, researchers, and others the opportunity to collect imagery from hard-to-reach places. The goal for Greek tourism advocates is to offer an inspirational, three-dimensional tour of Greece's hidden natural treasures. Read more and see photos...
November 5 American Trails webinar: Build a Regional Greenway System
"How to Plan, Design, Fund, Get Right of Way, and Build a Regional Greenway System in 1,500 Days" is the title of the next American Trails Webinar to be held November 5, 2015. Several experts tell the story of how the Razorback Greenway in Fayetteville, Arkansas was conceived, designed, funded, and implemented -- a case study with multiple innovative and enabling solutions.
Presenters include Jeff Olson, Alta Planning + Design; Chuck Flink, Greenways Incorporated; and Matt Mihalevich, City of Fayetteville, Arkansas; with an introduction by Bob Searns, The Greenway Team. Read more and register for the webinar...
Best Practices: materials for accessible boardwalk trails
Boardwalks provide a high level of accessibility for people using wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, and other assistive devices. Wood was generally used for construction in past years, but plastic materials are more often used today. Recycled plastic lumber, while needing more support, is vastly more durable, especially in wet conditions and where winter icing occurs. Concrete is also used in commercial applications. Read more and see photo gallery...
Webinar Series on Countermeasure Strategies for Pedestrian Safety
The Federal Highway Administration and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center are hosting a free webinar series on improving pedestrian safety, between October 2015 and January 2016. Each of the 12 sessions will feature design strategies, supporting research and guidance, and case studies highlighting examples around the country.
Topics to be covered are:
  • Crossing Islands and Raised Medians
  • Road Diets
  • Marked Crosswalks
  • Curb Extensions, Bulb-Outs and Neckdowns
  • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons
  • Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon
  • Leading Pedestrian Intervals
  • Pedestrian Safety at Interchanges
  • Lighting Strategies
  • Traffic Calming
  • Pedestrian Safety at Roundabouts
  • Transit Stop Improvements

Northeast Washington Trails website launched by economic development district
Tri County Economic Development District created the Northeast Washington Trails website, which provides users with information and pictures of each trail in the area, along with downloadable access maps and geo-referenced trail maps. Users who have installed a free Avenza mobile map app on their phone or tablet can use the location technology of their mobile devices to navigate the trails, even when out of cell range. The topographic maps include markers that indicate trails, trail heads, and elevation changes. Access the Northeast Washington Trails website...
Bicycle and pedestrian provisions of Federal transportation legislation
New guidance from the Federal Highway Administration, updated September 10, 2015, describes Federal legislative and policy direction related to safety and accommodation for bicycling and walking. The purpose of this guidance is to describe Federal legislative and policy direction related to safety and accommodation for bicycling and walking. Read more and access resources... 
Fall 2015 trail training opportunities
Current training opportunities for trail skills across the country. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details... 
November 4 - Temple Terrace, FL
* Central Florida Outdoor Recreation Workshop
November 5 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* Plan, Design, Fund, Get Right of Way, and Build a Regional Greenway System in 1,500 Days
November 6-9 - Chicago, IL
* American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting and Expo
November 9 - Lacey, WA
* Washington State Trails Caucus Meeting
November 11-14 - Miami, FL
* WHEELS: Advancing Florida's Mobility Future
November 13-14 - Stillwater, OK
* Oklahoma Bike Summit
November 13-14 - Leominster, MA
* Massachusetts Trails Conference
November 13-15 - Ft. Myers, FL
* Florida Trail Association South Regional Conference
November 13-15 - Miami, FL
* East Coast Greenway Alliance Fall Summit
December 5 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* The Role of Trails in Healthy Community Design (presented by Mark Fenton)
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!


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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.


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Header photo: The Mineral Belt National Recreation Trail in Colorado; a partnership between the City of Leadville and the U.S. Forest Service (photo by Michael Conlin)