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April 2016 e-Newsletter

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

  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 

April 21 webinar: "The FAST Act: Advancing Trails with the New Federal Transportation Bill"

Join us for our next webinar in the Advancing Trails webinar series, "The FAST Act: Advancing Trails with the New Federal Transportation Bill." This webinar is presented by Marianne Fowler, Kevin Mills, and Leeann Sinpatanasakul of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and will 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... 

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!

May 19 webinar: "Trails and Towns Together: How Communities Capitalize on Trail Tourism"
Mark your calendars for American Trails' May webinar, "Trails and Towns Together: How Communities Capitalize on Trail Tourism." Efforts to link "trail-to-town" have played a part in remaking communities. This webinar will include a case study of the first known "trail town" initiative - the Trail Town Program® along the Great Allegheny Passage. This webinar will appeal to trail and community advocates who are interested in launching their own programs, as well as to managers of existing programs who want to hear about how they can take their programs to the next level. The webinar is presented by William Prince with The Progress Fund's Trail Town Program®, Rita Hennessy with the National Park Service, and Amy Camp with Cycle Forward (and American Trails Board member). Learn more and REGISTER for this webinar... 
Spring 2016 issue of the American Trails Magazine is now available!
Learn about the upcoming 2017 International Trails Symposium in Dayton, Ohio, see the National Recreational Trails Photo Contest winners, and read the latest articles in trails training and opportunities. Click here to download a digital copy...

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
  • Climate change and trails
  • Successful "Crowdfunding" campaigns
Please send your bio to Candace Mitchell, Webinar Coordinator, at


Find a park near you and celebrate National Park Week, April 16-24
National Park Week is this week and offers free entrance to every national park, including special events to celebrate America's national heritage. From diverse wildlife to vibrant culture and history, America's National Park System provides something for everyone. The National Park Service has a variety of events throughout the week, like various projects on Earth Day and fun programs in celebration of National Junior Ranger Day. Read more...

LWCF announces 2016 awards

Nearly $95 million will be distributed from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia to support conservation and recreation projects in local communities. The funds, which are generated out of a portion of the lease revenue from offshore oil and gas development, support State-identified and community-supported projects that create jobs, contribute to local economies, and grow outdoor recreational opportunities in virtually every county across the country. Read more...

Tennessee bill attacking bicycle and pedestrian funding killed

A controversial legislative bill restricting Tennessee cities and counties' use of gas taxes (RTP funds) for parks, greenways, bike lanes, and similar infrastructure is dead for the year. House Bill 1650 (and its companion bill SB 1716) was officially "taken off notice" by its sponsors in the Tennessee legislature, effectively killing the bill. Read more...

Trail art brings new life to St. Louis neighborhood
Over the past several years, the Great Rivers Greenway District has led development projects along a region-wide interconnected system of greenways and trails in the St. Louis region. One specific area, the West End neighborhood, had declined significantly due to crime and deterioration. With the help of nearby residents and community groups, Great Rivers Greenway has worked to improve the trail and surrounding areas through safety improvements, art projects, and several art initiatives that reflect the rich culture and history of the area. Read more and see photos...

Sonoma County trails becoming more accessible
Only a few years ago, many people with disabilities found it difficult to locate accessible trails in the Sonoma County area. Thanks to improvements on the north side of Sugarloaf's Creekside Nature Trail, everyone can enjoy the trail that winds along a creek among heavy oak trees and leads to a woodpecker colony. Young crews from the California Conservation Corps began trail improvement work in February, including re-contouring the trail surface to increase wheelchair accessibility. This accessibility project is just one of many in an effort to increase accessibility on trails throughout California. Read more...

How one of America's "worst walking cities" got moving
Oklahoma City was once known for its large traffic lanes, minimal sidewalks, and overall lack of safety to pedestrians. Now, the city's sedentary reputation is rapidly changing due to an $18 million improvement fund that is creating a walker-friendly environment for many of its busiest regions. The increased funding has also been accompanied by the city's mayor issuing a challenge for Oklahoma City residents to lose one million pounds, as well as working with several fast food chains to offer healthier menus. "We are creating a city where your kids and grandkids will choose to stay," Cornett said. Oklahoma City's mission now is to widen the walkable section of the city outward. Read more...

The Surgeon General releases Call to Action to promote walking and walkable communities
The Surgeon General has asked Americans to walk more and has called on the nation to better support walking and walkability. The Call to Action outlines five goals to promote walking and walkable communities: make walking a national priority; design communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities; promote programs and policies to support walking where people live, learn, work, and play; provide information to encourage walking and improve walkability; and fill surveillance, research, and evaluation gaps related to walking and walkability. Read more...

Explore the Adirondacks on one-of-a-kind bicycle: the railbike
A portion of the Adirondack railroad in New York is opening this summer, but not for trains. Instead, the tracks will be occupied by Pedal Powered Railbikes, bringing people to lakes, streams, and forests that haven't been easily accessible for decades. The railbike route spans for six miles from Saranac Lake to the community of Lake Clear. The railbike tour will open June 18 and runs through November 1. Read more and see photos...

National Park Service accepting applications for Community Assistance in Conservation and Outdoor Recreation
The National Park Service is accepting applications for its Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program, which supports community-led natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the nation to design trails and parks, conserve and improve access to rivers, protect special places, and create recreation opportunities. Deadline for applications is June 30, 2016. Read more...

Visit your National Parks for free
To celebrate its centennial, the National Park Service is offering free entrance to all parks on 16 days in 2016. Mark your calendar for these upcoming entrance fee-free dates:

  • April 16-24: National Park Week
  • August 25-28: NPS Birthday
  • September 24: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

Anchorage Trails Initiative gives economic growth and renewal to communities
A grassroots initiative in Anchorage, Alaska is focused on a vision for the city's future. By 2025, Anchorage aims to be the #1 city in America to live, work, and play. The city's 250 miles of trails (135 miles paved) are playing a key role in the initiative. The plan has been widely accepted, with more than 100 business partners supporting it and 95 percent of citizens agreeing that the Anchorage trail system contributes to making the city a great place to live. Read more and see a video...

Featured National Recreation Trail: Chinqua-Penn Walking Trail, North Carolina
The 1.7-mile Chinqua-Penn Walking Trail winds through old-growth forest, skirts two ponds, and follows the fence lines of pastures where a prized historic Black Angus herd graze. Built on land formerly part of the Chinqua-Penn Plantation created by industrialist Jefferson Penn in the 1920s, the trail was completed in 1997 and designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2015. The 1.7-mile route is a key link in the Rockingham County Pathways plan and is frequently used as an outdoor classroom for nature study by Scouts, school groups, youth groups, and campers from the adjacent Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Center. Read more and see photos for this NRT...

Bridge along Chinqua-Penn Walking Trail 
Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Whistle Stop Trail, Maine
The Whistle Stop Trail runs 14 miles from Jay to Farmington through rolling hills and rural farmland. The trail is open for snowmobiling, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and equestrian and ATV use. The State leased the right-of-way from the railroad for several years to keep the route open for multi-use purposes. A major trestle over Wilson Stream was rebuilt due to safety concerns from dry rot that had affected the structure. The new trestle was made wider to accommodate snowmobile groomers in the winter, as well as for horses and ATV riders. Read more and see photos on this RTP-funded project...

Winter on the Whistle Stop Trail
Featured Online Business Directory advertiser: The Acorn Group
The Acorn Group is comprised of nationally certified interpretive planners, graphic designers, and exhibit designers. Their capabilities include interpretive master planning and design of exhibits, interpretive panels, wayfinding systems, and other media. They are dedicated to the field of interpretation and are passionate about their work. Learn more about The Acorn Group in the American Trails Online Business Directory...

May 7-10, 2017 ~ Dayton, Ohio

American Trails hosts the next International Trails Symposium in Dayton, Ohio May 7-10, 2017!
For a second Symposium, we will feature the Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA) who will offer Sustainable Trails Workshops (including work on the Legacy Trail), provide a technical track, as well as showcase trail equipment that attendees can test out at the Outdoor Trade Show.
The Symposium addresses most aspects of trails, greenways, and blueways. Learn from dozens of educational sessions and mobile workshops, visit a state-of-the-art exhibit hall, and network with experts and enthusiasts from across the globe. The theme for the 2017 Symposium is "Trails Take Flight: Connecting People, Places, and Possibilities."
Thank you to our Honorary Partners to date: 

Exhibit and sponsorship opportunities 
25% discount deadline is June 30, 2016
The Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities Packet is now available! Exhibitors can receive a 25% discount until June 30, 2016 and they get to choose their booth location in the order their contract and payment is received (some exceptions apply). There are a variety of sponsorship opportunities available and your logo or name link will be added online once we receive your contract and payment! View our current sponsors and honorary partners to date...

Ten reasons to join us in Dayton in May 2017
  1. EXPLORE the intricate links between the Dayton region's trail system, its waterways, and its outdoor lifestyle.
  2. RIDE, ROLLERBLADE, RUN, OR WALK on the nation's largest paved trail network - more than 330 miles of trail!
  3. TAKE A HIKE on the Buckeye Trail and the 4,600-mile North Country National Scenic Trail.
  4. WITNESS THE CHANGE: trail and outdoor recreation amenities are helping transform a former Rust Belt center city.
  5. Over 80 cutting-edge trail presentations, field trips, and workshops led by America's trail experts.
  6. Visit the Exhibit Hall, with over 100 vendor booths offering products and services for all types of trails.
  7. "Play in the dirt" in the Outdoor Trade Show presented by the Professional TrailBuilder's Association!
  8. "Talk Trails" and network with trail enthusiasts from around the country and the world.
  9. TAKE A SMALL-TOWN SOJOURN to one of the distinctive communities within a 30-minute drive of Dayton.
  10. RETURN INSPIRED by the Dayton region's can-do, collaborative spirit.
Read the recent article on choosing Dayton, Ohio to host the 2017 International Trails Symposium in the Spring 2016 issue of the American Trails Magazine (pages 6-8)...

Explore some of the best bike trails in Dayton, Ohio
With Spring in full swing, the large network of trails in Dayton, Ohio is the perfect place for people from all areas to get outdoors and explore. The Mad River Bikeway offers 6.2 miles of trail along the banks of the Mad River, beginning in downtown Dayton. For those looking to go further, the Great Miami River Trail offers 57 miles of trail through many historic areas. Mark your calendars for the 2017 International Trails Symposium, May 7-10, and join us for a time of exploration on these trails and many more in the "Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest." Read more and see photos...

Japan's Michinoku Coastal Trail supports tsunami recovery
The Michinoku Shiokaze Trail is one of a series of "Green Recovery Projects" operated by the Japanese Ministry of Environment to revitalize the Sanriku ("sea breeze") Coast, which was heavily damaged in the 2011 tsunami. The coastal trail will eventually stretch for 700 km along the East Coast of Japan, showcasing the Pacific coastline and rural coastal life, all the while encouraging tourism and rebuilding of the local economy. The trail is also intended to be an evacuation route from any future disasters. Throughout the reconstruction, the Ministry hopes both "the blessings and threats that nature brings" will be studied. Read more... (pdf 5.2 mb)

Hike the Rim of Africa
The Rim of Africa is a 650 km long-distance hiking trail located in South Africa's Cape region. The trail traverses the Cape Fold Mountain range Cederberg to the Outeniqua through a wilderness of rock formations, caves, rock pools, and incredible vistas offering an experience of rugged Africa, rich in biodiversity. Read more...

Singapore Nature Park to offer separate biking and hiking trails
The Chestnut Nature Park, located in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, is the first park in Singapore to offer separate hiking and biking trails. This is the first phase of projects directed towards increasing safety to park visitors in Singapore. The park now features a one-mile biking trail and a 1.3-mile hiking trail. When the second phase of construction is complete, the biking trail will be 3.1 miles with a 3.7-mile hiking trail. Read more and see photos...

National Recreation and Park Association study: American's perception on parks
This nation-wide study, commissioned by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and conducted by Pennsylvania State University, expands on the 1992 study on American's perceptions of local parks and recreation services. The findings conclude that Americans don't see public parks just as luxuries, but as a critical infrastructure worthy of consistent investment. The researchers surveyed more than 1,100 American's, revealing that Americans are as enthusiastic in their support for public parks as they were 25 years ago. Download the 16-page study... (pdf 5.7 mb)

National Center for Transit Research releases report on linking trails and greenways
This study examines the connectivity between public transportation services and public trails by looking at Hillsborough County and Pinellas County in Florida. The goal of the research was to develop a methodology to provide better connections between public transportation and trails using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) spatial analysis. These connections would extend the transit system and enable pedestrians to access areas they might not be able to due to traffic, physical barriers, or safety concerns. Download the 149-page study... (pdf 12.9 mb)

Archived webinar: "Trails for Heroes: Healing our Military Veterans"
American Trails continues the dynamic online Advancing Trails Webinar Series to help trail planners, supporters, and managers learn about focused topics of special interest. 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. 

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

Cool Trail Solutions- Accessible trails: surfacing considerations and examples
The accessibility of a trail requires surfaces to be firm and stable, but concrete and asphalt aren't the only surfaces found on accessible trails. Other surfaces, such as crusher fines, can be more suitable for trails in open space, parks, and the back country. Crusher fines compact well and provide drainage to trails, as well as being a more affordable option than concrete and asphalt. 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... 
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
May 5-7 - Anchorage, AK
* Alaska Statewide Trails Conference
May 19 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* Webinar: Trails and Towns Together: How Communities Capitalize on Trail Tourism   REGISTER TODAY 
May 22-27 - Portland, OR
* Community Transportation Expo
May 27-29 - St. Paul, MN
* Youth Bike Summit
June 7 - Bellevue, WA
* Walkable Washington Annual Symposium
June 13-15 - Chattanooga, TN
* 2016 National Rural Transportation Conference
July 8-10 - Raleigh, NC
* National Equestrian Trails Conference
Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at


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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!


Water bottles are also available for purchase in our Online Store.  





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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: Skagit Regional Airport trail system, Burlington, Washington; photo by Christie Jackson