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March 2016 e-Newsletter

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

  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 

American Trails invites you to join us on March 24 as we discover how trails are being used to help our injured service members. This
webinar is presented by:
  • Jan Hancock, Principal, Hancock Resources LLC and American Trails Board Member
  • Sirena Dufault, Gateway Community Liaison, Arizona Trail Association
  • Joe Coddington, Ride 2 Recovery Project and former U.S Marine
  • Debbi Fisher, Training Director for Hope for Heroes Equine Therapy Consulting
  • Aaron Heliker, former U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant
Trails are helping many war-injured service veterans become stronger in mind, body, and spirit. Become a part of this national effort to provide trail experiences to help injured service members recover from both physical and unseen wounds of war in your own community, organization, or land management agency. Learn more and REGISTER for this webinar...   

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!

April 21 webinar: "The FAST Act: Advancing Trails with the New Federal Transportation Bill"
Join Marianne Fowler, Kevin Mills, and Leeann Sinpatanasakul of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy as they discuss the FAST Act legislation passed by U.S. Congress in December 2015. The presenters will explain what the legislation means for trail funding of future projects. They will go over changes to the Transportation Alternatives Program that funds walking and bicycling projects, and review the Recreational Trails Program, which remains the same since the last legislation. The webinar will also touch on new provisions to a low-interest loan program (TIFIA), which could help communities - in urban, suburban, or rural areas - more quickly build a complete trail or active transportation network. Learn more and REGISTER for this webinar...

Nominate a 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 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. Deadline for submitting nominations is April 4, 2016. Learn more and download nomination form...

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:
  • 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 send your bio to Candace Mitchell, Webinar Coordinator, at


Celebrate National Trails DayŽ: June 4, 2016
American Hiking Society's National Trails DayŽ is the country's largest celebration of trails. This year's theme is "Find Your Trail," aligning with the National Park Service's theme of "Find Your Park." National Trails DayŽ events include hikes, biking, horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects, and more. National Trails DayŽ also features a series of outdoor activities designed to promote and celebrate the importance of trails in the United States. Read more and find events...

President Obama calls for full funding of LWCF
President Obama announced plans to request full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in his FY17 budget request. The proposal would provide $900 million towards conservation and recreation. The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established 51 years ago and continues to protect valuable conservation lands and water for future generations. Congress recently took an important initial step to reauthorize and support the LWCF, but we need to do more. Since its inception, this successful conservation program has supported more than 42,000 national, State, and local parks, as well as outdoor recreation projects in all 50 States. For every $1 invested through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, there is an estimated return of $4 in local economic activity. By fully and permanently funding the LWCF - as millions of Americans are urging - we can do our part to help sustain our nation's public lands and waters for present and future generations. Read more...  

Dayton, Ohio, site of the 2017 International Trails Symposium, ranks among top places to live in America

A new ranking from the U.S. News Report placed Dayton, Ohio as one of the top 100 places to live in America. According to the report, "those who enjoy spending time outdoors will find 19 different metro parks and 330 miles of paved biking trails." Dayton was chosen as the location of the 2017 American Trails  International Trails Symposium because of its expansive trails network and innovative trails community. Dayton also features several historic neighborhoods, a bike-share program, and a variety of craft and microbreweries.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon receives the American Recreation Coalition's Great Outdoors Award
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon received the American Recreation Coalition's 2015 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award at a ceremony in Jefferson City, Missouri on January 28. Nixon received the recreation community's most prestigious award for his efforts to make parks, trails, and waterways a high priority. Among Governor Nixon's efforts was launching the 100 Missouri Miles Challenge, inviting Missourians to join him in walking at least 100 miles on Missouri's trails each year. Read more...

2016 American Hiking Society's Hike the Hill Conference a success
More than 75 advocates made the trip to Washington, D.C. in early February to discuss issues affecting hiking trails. A joint effort of American Hiking Society and the Partnership for the National Trails System, the event highlighted the millions of volunteer hours put towards trails, as well as advocating on behalf of permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Read more...

Massachusetts town seeks to provide every home with access to a trail
The goal of Keith Ohmart is for every house in the town of Lexington, Massachusetts to be no more than a half-mile away from a walkable trail. Ohmart, Chairman of the Lexington Greenways Corridor Committee, hopes to complete about 40 miles of trail, linking 27 parcels of conservation land. The project, called the Accessing Conservation land, Recreation areas, Open space, Schools, and Streets (ACROSS) program is being funded through property taxes and is gathering support from the local community. The system will initially join existing trails and greenways together into a cohesive network across the community. Read more...

America's National Parks see record numbers in 2015
More than 305 million people visited national parks in 2015, surpassing the previous all-time record reported in 2014. "The increasing popularity of our national parks comes as we are actively reaching out to new audiences and inviting them to explore the depth and breadth of the national park system," National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said. The National Park Service is expecting even more visitors in 2016 as they celebrate their centennial year. Read more...

Professional TrailBuilders Association leaves lasting impact in Knoxville, Tennessee with Sustainable Trails Conference

The Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA) concluded its week-long Sustainable Trails Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee on March 11, but the effects of the conference will continue to impact the Knoxville region. During the conference, PTBA and conference attendees worked on a trail project called the "Legacy Trail." The "Legacy Trail" is a sustainable and professionally built trail segment connecting South-Doyle Middle School to an adjacent neighborhood and the urban wilderness. The major portion of the trail was built as part of the conference week, adding to Knoxville's reputation as an outdoor tourism city.

National Park Service encourages exploration of World Heritage Sites in celebration of its centennial
There are 22 World Heritage Sites in the United States, and the National Park Service (NPS) is encouraging people to explore these unique locations in celebration of the NPS centennial. Among the many challenges in correlation with their "Find Your Park" initiative, they are offering a free World Heritage Passport Book to anyone who takes a photo next to a site and sends it to them. The World Heritage Sites have each been recognized as having outstanding universal value by meeting specific criteria by the World Heritage Committee. Read more...

Featured National Recreation Trail: The Aliso Creek Regional Riding and Hiking Trail, California
The Aliso Creek Regional Riding and Hiking Trail, a National Recreation Trail (NRT), extends 15 miles from the foothills of Orange County to the boundary of Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park in California. The trail offers two pathways, side by side, for different users. A ten-foot asphalt bikeway designed for multi-use travels and, on the other side, a soft path utilized by hikers and equestrians. The two surfaces travel in tandem through five cities on a route from the mountains to the sea. Originally designed in the 1970s from an abandoned roadway, the trail now links six schools and ten city community parks, serving a broad population. Read more and see photos...

Fifteen miles of bikeway travel through five south county cities

Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Discovery Hill Community Trails, Idaho
The Discovery Hill Community Trails Project, a Recreational Trails Program-funded (RTP) project, located near Salmon, Idaho successfully developed 35 miles of nonmotorized trails, including a 1.4-mile podcast trail and a frisbee golf course. The Discovery Hill project helped reduce user-created conflicts and vandalism that were previously harming keystone wildlife like the sage grouse. The trail serves as a popular destination for mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers, and horseback riders. The project also installed proper signs and maps to direct trail users on the designated travel route system. Read more and see photos...

Volunteers work on the Discovery Hill Community Trail System

Featured Online Business Directory advertiser: Envirosigns LTD
Envirosigns has provided high-quality, durable, attractive signs, wayfinding systems, and site amenities for parks, municipalities, schools, and private organizations. All of their signs and panels are shatterproof, graffiti-resistant, UV-resistant, non-yellowing, AND eco-responsible. Learn more about Envirosigns in the American Trails Online Business Directory...

Take a walk on England's 5,000-year-old Ridgeway
For at least 5,000 years, travelers have used the Ridgeway as a trading route to England's Dorset coast. The high, dry route that was favored by traders is now a favorite of walkers. Opened as a National Trail in 1972, the Ridgeway travels for 87 miles from Overton Hill to its conclusion at the Icknield Way Path. The long-distance route passes near the prehistoric Avery Circle, a site similar to Stonehenge, and also traverses near several castles and bronze and iron age hill forts. The route allows visitors to sample the history and sites of the English countryside and then drop in a pub when the day's walk is through. Read more...

Norway announces new system of bike highways in an effort to reduce transit emissions
In the wake of Norway's effort to cut transit emissions in half, the country has announced a plan to build ten broad, two-lane, cross-country bike tracks near Norway's nine largest cities. The bike lanes will allow cyclists to travel at a maximum speed of 25 mph, making longer commutes between inner cities and outer suburbs feasible. Norway's short, frigid days for large parts of the year are an obstacle in developing a vibrant cycling culture, but the country hopes the addition of a new bike highway will decrease emission and fossil fuel use. Read more... 

Transformed rail trail connects Bosnia and Croatia, unlocks tourist potential

A cross-border project between Bosnia and Croatia aims to transform the disused rail lines from Dubrovnik to central Bosnia by transforming them into bike trails. The railways were originally built by the Austria-Hungarian Empire in 1901, and will serve to attract tourists to many historic sites, such as the natural reserve of Hutovo Blato and the cavern of Vjetrenica. The project began in 2014 and is expected to be fully completed by the end of 2016. The rail trail development follows a recent spike in interest from tourists wishing to discover the region by bicycle. Read more...

Archived webinar: "Building Capacity with Volunteers: Essential Building Blocks of a Successful Program" hosted by American Trails
A recording of the webinar, "Building Capacity with Volunteers: Essential Building Blocks of a Successful Program," hosted by American Trails, is available in the American Trails Online Store. It was presented February 25 by Kim Frederick with Chinook Associates and Jana Johns with Jefferson County Open Space. This webinar will benefit both those who already have an existing volunteer program or are looking to get one started. Read more and purchase archived webinars...

LAST CHANCE: Register for the California Trails and Greenways Conference, April 6-8, 2016
The 31st annual California Trails & Greenways Conference 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 dialog. Learn more and register online...

Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report
The Alliance for Biking and Walking has released its bi-annual report summarizing national trends in biking and walking. The report explores data transportation, health, economics, equity, government funding, and advocacy efforts of walking and bicycling. The Benchmarking Project focuses on data collection from all 50 States and from the 50 most populous U.S. cities. Download the 198-page study (9.1 mb)...

Guidelines for Trail Design and Construction, presented by California State Parks
Applying the 2013 Trail Accessibility Guidelines, Travis Segebart and Steve Nawrath of California State Parks take you through the 2013 Federal Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas. This presentation details the technical provisions; helps identify when, where, and to whom these guidelines apply; and reviews the conditions for exceptions. Photos and examples of all the main points and questions are especially helpful. Download the 70-slide presentation...

Cool Trail Solutions: Recycled railroad bridges for trails
Over the course of America's history, railway engineers have built numerous bridges spanning small creeks and great chasms. When railroads are abandoned, the steel bridges are often scrapped or the wood trestles that may have been damaged by fire or flood are removed. However, the cost of removing the bridge is often times greater than their scrap value, leaving them intact. The main concerns in converting them to pathways are new decks and railways, which are simple in comparison to structural work. Read more and see photos in the American Trails Cool Trail Solutions Photo Gallery...

Upcoming Spring 2016 trail training opportunities

Current training opportunities for trail skills across the country. See the
Online Trails Training Calendar for details... 
March 24 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* WEBINAR: Trails for Heroes: Healing our Military Veterans   REGISTER TODAY
April 2-5 - Phoenix, AZ
* American Planning Association National Conference
April 5 - Salt Lake City, UT
* Utah Bike Summit
April 5-7 - Columbus, OH
* Safe Routes to School National Conference
April 6-8 - Riverside, CA
* California Trails & Greenways Conference
April 14-16 - Carrollton, GA
* Georgia Trail Summit
April 19-20 - Toronto, ON
* Ontario Bike Summit
April 21 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* WEBINAR: The FAST Act: Advancing Trails with the New Federal Transportation Bill   REGISTER TODAY 
April 22-23 - Chattanooga, TN
* Tennessee Bike 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!


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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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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: McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, McKenzie Bridge, OR; photo by Mike Bullington