Join Our Mailing List
Table of Contents

Quick Links

Cool Trails Photo Gallery

Join Today - Support Trails

trails training

November 2015 e-Newsletter

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

  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 


Save the Date: December 1 donate to American Trails to help Nepal's Trails and Tourism - and win an REI Flash 18 Pack!

We're celebrating the giving season by giving away REI Flash 18 Packs donated by REI! Like, share, or comment on any Giving Tuesday post on our Facebook page. Or, donate to American Trails on December 1 to win!

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 assessments and critical technical 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 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.

December 3 Webinar: 
"The Role of Trails in
Healthy Community Design"
mark fenton
Join us December 3 as we welcome Mark Fenton as he presents "The Role of Trails in Healthy Community Design," with an introduction by Bob Searns with The Greenway Team.

Mark is a transportation, planning, and public health consultant, author, PBS television host, and active transportation advocate.
View Mark Fenton's website to learn more about him.

Register for this webinar and learn more...

Thank you to our honorary webinar supporters:

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! Our 2016 webinar schedule will be posted soon. Learn more about CEUs and how to sponsor a webinar as well on this page.  

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.
Are you joining REI to #OptOutside this Black Friday?
Over 960,000 (and climbing) people are planning to #OptOutside on Black Friday. REI is closing stores on November 27, 2015 so that employees can have the day off to spend outside as well as to encourage others to skip shopping to do the same. They created a campaign using #OptOutside that includes a social post aggregate page similar to Click here for guidance on how to #OptOutside and share your experience with the rest of the world...
Congress extends transportation funding, looks to future
Congress is set to pass a compromise bill for funding transportation, including trails. On November 5, the House passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act, a new multi-year transportation authorization bill. The bill, which was supported by both parties, keeps funding for trails and bike/ped programs intact. More than 80 amendments were debated, including two that would have eliminated eligibility of funding for bikeways and trails.

The Senate previously passed a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill which maintains "Transportation Alternatives" 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.

The next step is that the House and Senate must reconcile the differences between their two versions and pass a compromise bill. The Coalition for Recreational Trails  commented that "since the RTP was included in the legislation already passed by the Senate, we have every reason to expect that the Recreational Trails Program will be in the final version of the legislation that emerges from the House/Senate conference. Read more and see current news on legislation in Congress...
Debate continues over future of Land & Water Conservation Fund
Congress allowed the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to expire September 30. The Fund has provided grants for Federal land acquisition and State trail and park projects for 50 years, and has been funded annually by revenues from offshore oil and gas development. The program has widespread support, but also faces proposed changes, led by powerful interests in the House Natural Resources Committee. Read more about LWCF proposed alternatives... 
Report cites strong participation trends in outdoor recreation
The American Recreation Coalition says that outdoor recreation is on the upswing on America's public lands and waters, which cover nearly one third of the nation's surface. The new report, Outdoor Recreation Outlook 2016, says that Americans spend more than $650 billion annually on equipment ranging from skis and tents to RVs and boats and on services ranging from fishing licenses to zip lines, supporting millions of jobs in manufacturing, sales, and service. Read more and download full report... 


More hut-to-hut hiking in the USA? Facing the challenges.
Creating more opportunities for people to use huts to support long distance hiking, biking, and skiing is a complex undertaking. Sam Demas, editor of outlines the challenges in thoughtfully regulating, siting, creating, and operating hut systems. "We know intuitively and anecdotally that controlling and concentrating backcountry travel and habitation in well-managed hut systems and designated camping sites is far more protective of the environment than dispersed recreation." Read more and see photos...
Military training along Michigan's trails is a "win-win"
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is saluting the efforts of the 1432nd Engineer Company as it trains along State and local multi-use trails in Iron County. The unit had been traveling more than 300 miles south to train at Camp Grayling, the largest National Guard training center in the country. But guardsmen said they could get more return on their investment training in the local woodlands, working on trails. The crews get opportunities to work on graders, loaders, dump trucks, and other heavy equipment. Read more and see photos...
National Park Service unveils 100th Anniversary commemorative coin designs
Designs for commemorative coins honoring the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service were unveiled last week during a ceremony at the Department of the Interior. NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and National Park Foundation (NPF) President and Chief Executive Officer Will Shafroth joined Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios for the unveiling. "Heads or tails, this Centennial commemorative coin helps to honor the National Park Service's first century of service to protect, preserve, and share some of our nation's greatest natural resources, culture and history," said Jarvis. "The coins will be a fun centennial collectible, and the proceeds will contribute to our second century of service to the American people." See coin designs here...
National Park Service solicits letters to the future from local students

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John J. Donahue is asking students in grades K-12 to write a letter to the future. The letters will be buried in a time capsule for the next 50 years. "We celebrated our 50th anniversary this year and the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016," explained Donahue. In commemoration of these two historic milestones, employees at the park are sending a message to the future. "We want that message to include the voices of today's youth since they will be the ones entrusted with the care of special places like this in the future."

In addition to letters from students, the capsule will also include a small token or message from each of the 22 townships that comprise the park, messages from park employees, photos, maps and park brochures, newspapers, uniform items, the park's 50th anniversary commemorative coin, and other items that represent the times.
Download the full NPS press release here... 
Highlights from the 2015 National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council Conference
In late October, Chair of the American Trails Board, John Favro, attended the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) conference in Folsom, California with a theme of: Innovations. For NOHVCC, this was their 25th annual conference and the 13th joint conference with International Off Highway Vehicle Administrators Association (INOHVAA). One of the highlights of the conference was a mobile workshop held at the Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area managed by California State Parks. Many types of OHVs were provided for conference attendees by various sponsors and individuals. Read more and see pictures...  
PTBA Sustainable Trails Conference Call for Presentations - Deadline November 30
The Professional Trailbuilders Asssociation (PTBA) is seeking proposals from experts across the spectrum of the trail building industry for their upcoming Sustainable Trails Conference, taking place March 5-11, 2016 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The deadline to submit your presentation or workshop proposal is November 30!
The following topic areas are of particular interest:
  • Cutting edge construction techniques
  • Trail technologies in action
  • Hybrid contracting - volunteer, corps, and professional partnerships
  • Trail design concepts and techniques
  • Public agency partnerships
  • Building trails on private lands
  • Working with youth and conservation corps
  • Trail funding opportunities
  • User specific solutions (mountain bike, equestrian, OHV, etc.)
  • Public policy and trails
Overcoming disabilities with help from the trails
In West Michigan, rail trails provide an easily traversable getaway for those with a variety of abilities. Relatively flat, smooth, and accessible in urban and rural areas, rail trails are a natural fit for those seeking a simple form of outdoor exercise, either for the elderly, those with a disability, families with small children, or those recovering from an injury. Writer Lauren Fay Carlson tells how one outdoor enthusiast overcame disabilities and discovered a new passion for the trails using a recumbent tricycle. Read more and see photos... 

Georgia trails could bring tourists while improving health
The Coastal Georgia Greenway is a 160-mile trail planned to link South Carolina to Florida through Georgia's six coastal counties. A major aim of the Greenway project is to create a safe space for people to enjoy the outdoors and be connected to their neighboring communities. Hospitals have also begun to sponsor trails around Georgia to encourage the health benefits greenways bring to communities. Read more about the project...

Gooseberry Mesa is a magical slice of Utah's rock country
The Gooseberry Mesa trail system is considered one of the nation's most scenic routes. It is a partnership effort between the Bureau of Land Management and several mountain bike groups. The area provides technical riding trails that combine slick rock obstacles with single track trail to create a series of interconnecting loops. Located in the southwest corner of Utah, the system is a designated National Recreational Trail. Read more and see photos...

Wildlife refuges link Oregon cities to nature
The US Fish & Wildlife Service is working for the future success of conservation by inspiring more Americans to connect with the outdoors and nature. Examples of trails and programs on National Wildlife Refuges in the Portland, Oregon area show how this program works. Managers seek to engage urban communities as partners in wildlife conservation, in ways that reflect the diverse perspectives, values, and cultures of America. Read more and see photos...
Featured National Recreation Trail: Dauphin Island, Alabama
Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary, on a 14-mile long barrier island on the Alabama Gulf Coast, has been named one of North America's top four locations for viewing spring migrations. The sanctuary has a number of trails but visitors enjoy the 1,000-foot accessible boardwalk to Gaillard Lake in which a finger pier has been constructed where many types of waterfowl can be spotted. Read more and see photos...
Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Northern Erie Sno-Seekers, NY
The Northern Erie Sno-Seekers maintains over 120 miles of trails as part of a collaboration among volunteers, local governments, and over 200 landowners across three counties. Although rich in membership and volunteers, the club lacked the financial resources to purchase the equipment it needed to properly maintain the trails. Recreational Trails Program funding enabled replacement of maintenance equipment so that volunteers could improve and expand the snow trail system. This project won one of the Coalition for Recreational Trails Annual Achievement Awards in 2013 in the category of "Maintenance & Rehabilitation." Read more and see photos...
Featured Online Business Directory Advertiser: PermaTrak North America
PermaTrak® North America is a premier provider of environmentally-friendly precast concrete boardwalk and elevated greenway solutions. PermaTrak systems are engineered for design flexibility, ease of installation, and long-term durability. Requiring no maintenance, PermaTrak systems are an outstanding, cost-competitive alternative to conventional wood or manufactured lumber construction. Learn more about them in the American Trails Online Business Directory...
Experiencing Turkey's Phrygian Way
Two Polish hikers take us on a walk through central Turkey, an area of volcanic rock outcrops around green valleys, where, from 900-600 BC, the Phrygian civilization carved castles, homes, monuments, and roads in the soft rock. Now, a 600 km waymarked Cultural Route traverses the valleys where simple accommodation has been opened in quaint stone and mud-brick villages. Read more and see photos... 
A review of international best practices for bike/ped networks
A recent Federal Highway Administration study examined ways that 11 countries improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and access and increase walking and bicycling. The study identified noteworthy and innovative designs and treatments for developing infrastructure, signals and traffic control, methods for prioritizing improvements, and goals and network performance measures. Download the 67-page report... (pdf 6.8 mb)

Trekking India's mountaineering trails
Mountaineers pick their favorite treks in the Himalayan and the northeast region of India. The Hindustan Times reports on trail adventures that include heritage villages, 10,000-foot high passes, lush valleys, and rugged gorges, beautiful meadows, thick forests of pine and oak, and grasslands, plus views of surrounding snow-clad mountain ranges. Read more and see photos...
Recorded webinars from American Trails available on many topics
Two dozen recordings of webinars previously presented by American Trails are available through our online store. Some of the archived webinars are available for purchase while access to others is free. Both natural surface and urban trail topics are included, as well as water trails, accessibility, and equestrian facilities. New presentations are being developed for the continuing American Trails Advancing Trails Webinar Series. Our 2016 webinar schedule will be posted online soon. See the list of archived and scheduled webinars...
Overview: AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities
This archived webinar provides an overview of the entire AASHTO Guide for Development of Bicycle Facilities and its evolution and use throughout the US, as well as other resources that are used for bicycle facility design. It includes guidance on how to choose bikeway type, including bike lanes, shared use paths, and paths adjacent to roads. Read more and access the AASHTO Bike Guide Webinar Series...
Tips and tools for growing an effective trail club
At a recent workshop held by the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, Jack Terrell of NOHVCC led a discussion group on what trail organizations are doing to attract, retain, and motivate their members. Keeping the club social and fun is important, but so is marketing your image, building camaraderie, always thanking members for their efforts, and strengthening partnerships with land managers. Read more plus additional articles on club development...

Best Practices: planning and developing water trails in Ireland
This guide has emerged in response to growing levels of interest in water-based recreation in Ireland and to harness the potential that exists to develop water-based recreation trails. It provides detailed information and advice for planning and developing safe and sustainable water trails in Ireland. Topics include land ownership issues, safety, trailheads, and facilities, along with case studies. Download the 88-page report... (pdf 3.4 mb)
Preview of trail training opportunities for 2016 
Current training opportunities for trail skills across the country. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details... 

December 3, 2015 - Online Webinar hosted by American Trails
* The Role of Trails in Healthy Community Design, presented by Mark Fenton   REGISTER TODAY! 
December 10-13, 2015 - Hernando, MS
* Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School


February 6-11, 2016 - Washington, DC
* Hike the Hill

February 7-10, 2016 - Washington, DC
* The Corps Network's National Conference
March 7-9, 2016 - Knoxville, TN
* Professional Trailbuilders' Sustainable Trails Conference
March 7-9, 2016 - Washington, DC
* National Bike Summit
April 5-7, 2016 - Columbus, OH
* Safe Routes to School National Conference
April 6-8, 2016 - Riverside, CA
* California Trails & Greenways Conference
May 16-20, 2016 - Boise, ID
* River Management Symposium and National Outdoor Recreation Conference

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.  





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 

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!

Send news and calendar items to
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 in Rotary Park to Cap Santé, Anacortes, WA; photo by Stuart Macdonald