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February 2016 e-Newsletter

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

  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 

February 25 webinar: "Building Capacity with Volunteers - Essential Building Blocks of a Successful Program"

American Trails invites you to join us on February 25 as we welcome Kim Frederick with Chinook Associates and Jana Johns with Jefferson County Open Space as they present "Building Capacity with Volunteers - Essential Building Blocks of a Successful Program." You will benefit from this webinar if you have an existing volunteer program and are looking for ways to enhance it. Alternatively, if you are considering development of a volunteer program and are looking for information on how to get started, there will be lots of ideas for you to consider. Learn more and REGISTER for this webinar...

Stay tuned for our upcoming webinars:
Our webinars are eligible for CEUs that we offer 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. Learn more about CEUs and how to sponsor or support a webinar as well.
View our current Advancing Trails Webinar Series schedule including a list of all of our past webinars and recordings available for purchase or for free!

Nominate an RTP-funded trail project for the Coalition for Recreational Trails Annual Achievement Awards
The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), a nationwide federation of trail-related organizations (of which American Trails is an active member), sponsors the Annual Achievement Awards to recognize outstanding trail projects funded by the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The awards will be presented in Washington, D.C. in June during Great Outdoors Month as part of the Coalition's ongoing efforts to build awareness and appreciation of this highly successful program. Award winners will be selected from projects nominated by public agencies, trail administrators, or other project sponsors. All projects completed after 2007 are eligible. Learn more and download nomination form...

Register now for PTBA's Sustainable Trails Conference, March 4-11, 2016


The Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA) is holding their annual
Sustainable Trails Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee on March 4-11, 2016. The 2016 Sustainable Trails Conference features an amazing slate of hands-on extended workshops, a technical track of concurrent sessions exploring all of the aspects of sustainable trail design, construction, planning, and maintenance, a local Legacy Trail, and of course the world famous Outdoor Trade Show and Demonstration Area. There is an astonishing amount of experiential education available at this conference. You really cannot afford to miss it! Learn more and register online...

Looking for presenters for Advancing Trails Webinar Series
Call for presenters! American Trails is looking for presenters to be considered to serve on a panel in our Advancing Trails Webinar Series for 2016. Do you have a great success story to tell and have lessons to share from it? Are you an expert in any of the following areas or know of someone?
Topics of interest include:
  • Trail towns and community engagement
  • Land acquisition, protection, and access
  • Engaging millennials (youth and diversity)
  • Innovative funding models for trails
  • Mobile applications for trail wayfinding/access
  • Climate change and trails
  • Successful "Crowdfunding" campaigns
Please email your bio and any questions to Candace Mitchell, Webinar Coordinator, at

President Obama proposes large funding boost for National Parks in 2017
President Obama's budget for fiscal year 2017 calls for a significant increase in funding for the National Park Service (NPS). "The investments called for in this budget proposal, including increasing funding for the Centennial Challenge program along with fully funding and permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, will be vital to the long-term future of the Park Service as it celebrates its centennial this year," said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation. The proposed budget calls for a $250 million, 9% increase from the previous year's funding for the NPS. Read more...


Quad Cities introduces new interactive trails website
Ten years after American Trails hosted the 2006 International Trails Symposium in the Quad Cities, the region around Iowa and Illinois continues to be a leader in outdoor recreation innovation. Earlier this year, the Bi-State Regional Commission released, an interactive platform that promotes the network of more than 200 recreational trails in the Quad Cities region. The website allows people to create a free account which they can use to search for and save favorite local trails, discover new routes, and earn badges as trail challenges are completed. Read more...

President Obama designates three new national monuments in California's desert
The President designated three new national monuments in California's desert, covering a 1.8 million-acre landscape of mountain ranges, lava flows, Joshua trees, and sand dunes. The designations were a project of Senator Dianne Feinstein, who asked President Obama to use his powers under the Antiquities Act after legislation to protect the land was thwarted. The national monuments protect Native American archaeological trading routes, as well as diverse wildlife, such as golden eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and bobcats. The designation has been met with some controversy as many fear the new national monuments prevent communities from building new roads or developing new oil, gas, or mining projects. Read more and see photos...

Portion of the John Wayne Trail in Washington faces closure
A substantial portion of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, which spans much of Washington, continues to be in dispute between landowners and trail advocates. Rep. Schmick and Rep. Mary Dye attempted to shut down a 130-mile portion of the trail by inserting a last-minute provision into the State's capital budget without public announcement or input. Due to a typo in legislation, the bill has been temporarily stalled, sparking several public meetings to discuss whether a portion of the trail should be closed and turned over to landowners. Read more...

Proposal would allow motorized vehicles on one of the nation's longest rail-to-trail paths
A proposal being debated in the Missouri Legislature could turn the Katy Trail, one of the nation's longest rail-to-trail paths, into a haven for all-terrain vehicles. Groups representing bikers and walkers think the proposal could undermine the purpose of the trail, while State representatives think the proposal would benefit older residents and those who are disabled. The bill would open the trail to motorized vehicles on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Read more...

Trails paving the way for healthy communities in the Bay Area, California
The Bay Area has seen an increase in trail and recreation development over the past few years, largely due to a complete, connected network created by the Bay Area Trails Collaborative (BATC). The BATC is comprised of 40 nonprofits that are working to complete an interconnected trail network that would link the region's nine counties through a route spanning 1,000 miles. Additionally, a region-wide bike-ped user count program is being launched to survey the rate of trail use in the Bay Area. Read more...

Revitalized trail system turns small town into "Adventure Capital of New Mexico"
A revitalized trail system and motocross track has given the small town of Gallup, New Mexico a renewed identity. Although Gallup was once a thriving lumber and mining town, a loss of industry and tourism from 1980 to 2000 turned it into "drunktown USA." Over the past 15 years, city leaders designed a plan to increase outdoor recreation in order to attract tourists and revitalize the economy. Today, Gallup attracts 32,000 adventure tourists annually, with mountain biking and off-road events bringing in $1 million over the past eight years. Read more...

Explore the Miami Valley Trails in Dayton, Ohio, site of the 2017 International Trails Symposium
The Miami Valley Trails feature 330 miles of trails that run through the center of Dayton, Ohio, the location of American Trails' 2017 International Trails Symposium, May 7-10, 2017. The trail system consists of 14 interconnected trails that pass through many of Ohio's iconic locations, such as the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park, the University of Dayton, the Dayton Art Institute, and the scenic Miami River. The trail has many historical signs that reveal the rich history of the cities and towns connected by the Miami Valley Trails. Read more and see photos...

Thank you to Rhino Marking and Protection Systems
American Trails would like to thank Rhino Marking and Protection Systems for being one of our longest advertisers and supporters. They offer a variety of posts, signs, and markers to fit each and every type of trail. Manufacturer of the Rhino TriView™ post, the highly visible triangular design ensures that your message can be seen from any direction. Durable and flexible, unlike flat posts it withstands repeated vehicle impacts from any direction and still returns to its original upright position. Learn more about Rhino in the American Trails Online Business Directory... 

City of Albuquerque, New Mexico increases accessibility with multi-use trail
The City of Albuquerque plans to begin phase two of a controversial multi-use trail in the Rio Grande Bosque. The trail system intends to increase wheelchair accessibility and prevent people from trampling sensitive areas. However, construction of the accessible trail has been met with some concern as part of the proposed trail goes through a known coyote den and roosting territory for porcupines and raptors. Read more...

Featured National Recreation Trail: Danny On Trail, Montana
The Danny On National Recreational Trail, located in Whitefish, Montana, offers an aesthetically rewarding hiking experience through Flathead National Forest. Hikers enjoy vistas of the verdant Flathead Valley and long distance views of Glacier National Park. The trail extends 3.8 miles one way through lush forests and grassy trails full of wildflowers in the summer. Read more and see photos...

View of Flathead Valley from the trail.

Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Blue Tree Trail System, Nevada
The Blue Tree Trail System is a 50-mile nonmotorized trail network used by hikers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, and trail runners. In 2005, the Forest Service received the necessary funding to perform an analysis of the eroding trails that were harming plants and wildlife, eventually leading to funding provided by the Federal Highway Administration's Recreational Trails Program. Approximately 17 miles of the new trail and construction were accomplished through the gr  ant, with the majority of the work completed by youth corps workers. Read more and see photos...

A re-routed section of the trail.

Featured Online Business Directory advertiser: iZone Imaging
For more than a decade, iZone Imaging has successfully produced signage, graphics and interpretive solutions for a wide range of
State and national parks, bike paths, trails, greenways, municipal parks, and recreation facilities. Their products are a perfect fit for these outdoor environments thanks to the combination of high quality graphic imagery with the weather and vandal-resistant nature of iZone Imaging's custom high pressure laminate. Learn more about iZone Imaging in the American Trails Online Business Directory...
Dominica seeks boost in tourism with brand new trail
In an effort to increase ecotourism, Dominica has steadily increased trail construction and wildlife preservation. Currently, 20% of Dominica's land is preserved as wilderness, the most of any Caribbean island. In this article, Kelly Bastone describes his experience hiking the 115-mile-long Waitukubuli National Trail, weighing the difficulties and benefits of increasing tourism through wilderness backpacking adventures. Read more... 

Ireland builds support for rail line greenway trail

Sligo Greenway Co-op, a community of trail advocates in South Sligo, Ireland are gaining support to transform the Sligo to Galway rail line into a 13 mile greenway. Trail organizations in Germany, a country with abundant greenways, are advocating for support of the greenway. The Co-op was formed
in early 2015 and is currently continuing a range of meetings with Sligo County Council and other stakeholders in an effort to have the greenway delivered for Sligo at the earliest opportunity. Read more...

Take a hike on Japan's most scenic and inspiring trails
Japan offers hikers a wide array of trails, from routes up active volcanoes to vibrant treks to historic temples. Japan's vast terrain provides trail enthusiasts with hikes up the nation's tallest mountain to short trails around scenic, small towns. This article reveals some of the top trails and hikes that draw outdoor tourists to Japan. Read more and see photos...

Archived webinar: "Why Resolve Conflict When You Can Prevent It?" hosted by American Trails
A recording of the webinar, "Why Resolve Conflict When You Can Prevent It?" hosted by American Trails, is available in the American Trails Online Store. It was presented January 28 by Karen Umphress and Russ Ehnes with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), as well as Mark Himmel with Back Country Horsemen of Montana. Read more and purchase archived webinars...

Register for the California Trails and Greenway Conference, April 6-8, 2016
The 31st annual California Trails & Greenways Conference in Riverside, California provides three days of high-quality education and networking opportunities for urban, rural, and backcountry trail professionals. Join leading trail experts for training and discussions on the latest advances in trail design, construction, maintenance, interpretation, volunteerism, and management. Explore new, collaborative opportunities and engage in productive, meaningful, and inspiring dialogue. Learn more and register online...

New study on impact of increased visitation on Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
This study examines the impacts of increased visitation leading to human trampling of vegetation and soil along several trails in Rocky Mountain national Park (RMNP). RMNP is one of the most visited national parks in America, with 3.3 million visitors in 2012 and 354 miles of hiking trails. With 95% of the park being designated wilderness, this makes the balance between preservation and visitor use challenging. The study looks at a variety of impact indicators to develop a baseline condition of trails. Download the 14 page study (4.1 mb)...

Cool Trail Solutions: Accessible trail routes to beaches and fishing areas
Building accessible routes to beaches and fishing areas is an important aspect of creating multi-use trails for people of all ages and abilities. Various types of paving and surface hardening can be used to improve access for people using wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) calls these outdoor recreation access routes (ORARs). Read more and see photos in the American Trails Cool Trail Solutions Photo Gallery...

2016 Spring trail training opportunities
Current training opportunities for trail skills across the country. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details... 
February 25 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* Webinar: Building Capacity with Volunteers - Essential Building Blocks of a Successful Program REGISTER TODAY 
February 27 - Princeton, NJ
* New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit
March 4-11 - Knoxville, TN
* Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA) Sustainable Trails Conference
March 7-9 - Washington, DC
* National Bike Summit

March 16 - Online webinar hosted by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals 
* Webinar: Understanding the Funding Process 
March 24 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* Webinar: Trails for Heroes - Healing our Military Veterans REGISTER TODAY
April 5 - Salt Lake City, UT
* Utah Bike Summit
April 6-8 - Riverside, CA
* California Trails & Greenways Conference
April 14-16 - Carrollton, GA
* Georgia Trail Summit

Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at


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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 above for what's new in the trails world!

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Header photo: Land's End Trail, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA; photo by Stuart Macdonald