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May 2016 e-Newsletter

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

  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 


BENEFIT: Free webinars for American Trails members 
If you are an American Trails member at the Trail Professional ($75) level or higher, you can attend our webinars for FREE! This new member benefit will take effect with our June 2016 webinar and only applies for webinars during the same time that your membership is current/active. Read more and become a member... 
Next American Trails webinar, June 23: "Leveraging Cross-Sector Partnerships and Technology to Develop a Healthy, Vibrant Trails Community"


This webinar will explore, a free, user-friendly, interactive, and mobile-responsive website which serves as a comprehensive resource that highlights multi-purpose trails, parks, and side-paths in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Users can track their physical activity progress in real-time and share their experiences with friends through social media. This webinar will feature the impact that a site like can have on the health of a community for both residents and visitors.
The webinar is presented by Nicole Carkner with Quad City Health Initiative, Lisa Miller with Bi-State Regional Commission, and Joe Taylor with Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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!


American Trails Executive Director position opening

After serving for over 19 years as American Trails' Executive Director, Pam Gluck has decided to resign due to health challenges effective June 30, 2016. Pam has been the face of American Trails for a long time and has shepherded our organization from a mid-size trail advocacy association to a much larger organization that hosts the biennial International Trails Symposium, manages one of the world's largest online resources for trails (, and advances and promotes trails for those who build, maintain, advocate for, use, and dream of them. The Board and staff are grateful for Pam's years of dedicated service and are working closely with her to prepare for transition to new leadership.

American Trails is currently looking for a dedicated individual to fill our Executive Director position opening. The Executive Director is the Chief Executive Officer of American Trails and works with the Board of Directors, staff, and partners to provide the leadership and direction necessary to fulfill the mission and vision of American Trails and move the organization forward in its development. This position leads a dynamic enterprise of volunteers, staff, partners, and members dedicated to advancing trails and bringing trail enthusiasts of all types together to ensure the future quality and availability of trails for all Americans. Applications are being accepted until June 14, 2016. Read more...

2015 Recreational Trails Program Annual Report now online

The Federal Highway Administration has released its Annual Report on the Recreational Trails Program. The 2015 report was co-produced by American Trails in partnership with contractor KMS Enterprises, Inc. It highlights program funding and administration, the RTP database, and illustrates how States use funds with examples of trail projects from across the country. This program of the Federal Highway Administration is one of the essential ways that trails are funded. Read more and download the report...

Land and Water Conservation Fund legislation approved by Senate
On April 20, the Senate approved legislation to make the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent. The legislation is part of a comprehensive energy bill (S 2012) and would give more emphasis to State grants while providing an extra $150 million per year to National Park Service maintenance. The underlying energy bill now goes to a conference committee with a variety of House versions. LWCF has been an important source of Federal funds for parks, trails, and public lands. Read more... 


June 4, 2016 is National Trails Day®

American Hiking Society's National Trails Day® is the country's largest celebration of trails. National Trails Day events include hikes, bike and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects, and more. National Trails Day features a series of outdoor activities, designed to promote and celebrate the importance of trails in the United States. Read more and find events...
June is Great Outdoors Month™ 2016!

This June, celebrate the natural wonder and outdoor spirit of America by getting outside during Great Outdoors Month. What started as Great Outdoors Week under President Clinton in 1998 has grown significantly under both the Bush and Obama administrations into a month-long celebration of the outdoors and all the benefits it brings - including annual economic impact of $650 billion nationwide. Read more...

World Trails Conference coming to Tottori, Japan 
The World Trails Conference will take place in Tottori, Japan, October 14-17, 2016. Representatives from the world's trail industry will gather to discuss the development and preservation of trails. If you are interested in being a panelist, a presenter, or if you have a poster presentation, you can download the call to presentations at the link below. The deadline for presentation proposals is May 30, 2016. Read more and register...

New CDC/NPS workbook released for developing parks and trails
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Park Service (NPS) have created a new tool to assist communities in developing parks and trails. The Parks, Trails, and Health Workbook is designed to start collaborative discussions about the various health benefits of parks and trails, as well as prepare communities for a health impact assessment. Read more... 
Can hiking really make you happier?
The outdoors has long been associated with feelings of peace and happiness, and new studies reveal there are a number of mental health benefits to taking a stroll through the woods. Studies at Stanford University, University of Michigan, and others have shown that hiking has many positive benefits such as decreased anxiety, increased memory, and a lowered risk of mental illnesses. Read more...

18 Washington cities pass resolutions to support the John Wayne Pioneer Trail
After a near miss, a plan to close a 135-mile section of the cross-state John Wayne Pioneer Trail has backfired. Spurred by public outrage over Senators Schoesler and Schmick's attempt to dissolve the trail right-of-way without public input, supporters of one of the country's longest rail-trails have gained the support of 18 cities across the State. Read more and see photos...

Envisioning a 1,450-mile network of trails in the American Rust Belt
A coalition of trail groups, government agencies, investors, and land managers calling itself the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition is making plans for a 1,450-mile trail system connecting cities in America's Rust Belt and industrial Appalachia. The envisioned system of trails will span 48 counties in four States: Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, and eastern Ohio and reaching into the southwest corner of New York State. Pittsburgh will serve as the network's hub, with trails radiating out and connecting to Cleveland and Ashtabula in Ohio, Morgantown and Parkersburg in West Virginia, and Erie in northern Pennsylvania. Read more and see photos...

Imagining a new hut system for America's national parks

Mathias Eichler, a writer for The Outdoor Society, argues for an alternative to the "shopping mall experience" in America's national parks: real wilderness hiking and adventuring assisted by huts and other rustic overnight accommodations. "Is it truly impossible?" Eichler asks. "Certainly not. This scenario I described is an average mountain vacation in the Alps, and I experienced many of them throughout the last few decades." Read more and see photos... 

FHWA presents the "Every Place Counts Design Challenge"
The Federal Highway Administration's Ladders of Opportunity "Every Place Counts Design Challenge" seeks to raise awareness about bifurcated neighborhoods, identify innovative practices to reconnect communities, and inform the transportation life cycle. Learn more about the challenge...

AccessTrails project uses Universal Design to meet needs of trail users
Access Recreation, a partner of the Intertwine Alliance, is going beyond the current guidelines for accessibility to meet the needs and abilities of all trail users. Through the AccessTrails project and their website, trail users can find information on parks and trails so that they know whether a trail meets their needs or desired experience. They also provide Universal Design tips for trails, facilities, signage, websites, and more. Read more...

Featured National Recreation Trail: Snoqualmie Valley Trail, Washington
The Snoqualmie Valley Trail is King County's longest and perhaps most majestic trail. Paralleling the Snoqualmie River for more than 31 miles from Duvall to Rattlesnake Lake just outside North Bend, the Snoqualmie Valley Trail connects communities and provides ever-changing views, access to natural areas along the riverbank, historic rail trestles, and many opportunities to observe wildlife and enjoy the beauty of the Snoqualmie Valley. Read more and see photos for this NRT...

Bridge along Snoqualmie Valley Trail 
Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Ice Age Trail, Wisconsin
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1,000-mile footpath that weaves through forests, prairies, and glacial formations across Wisconsin. With funding through the Federal Highway Administration's Recreational Trails Program, the Ice Age Trail Alliance and volunteers maintained and upgraded nearly 20 miles of the trail, including the construction of a clear span bridge. Read more and see photos of this RTP-funded project...

Volunteers on the Ice Age Trail 
Featured Online Business Directory advertiser: das Manufacturing, Inc.
das Trail Markers are used for all applications requiring maximum durability. The markers are duracast style and can be applied to concrete, asphalt, or virtually any dry surface using your choice of das Adhesive. The markers are an unobtrusive, yet highly visible, alternative to conventional signage. Stock and custom markers are available. Learn more about das Manufacturing 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!
The Symposium addresses most aspects of trails, greenways, and blueways. Learn from a broad spectrum 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."

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.
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!

Thank you to our current sponsors and exhibitors, including our Honorary Partners listed above.
View our current sponsors and honorary partners to date...

Dayton's National and International draw

Dayton has many attractions and items of interest for both the trail - and history - enthusiast. As humble as this mid-sized Midwestern city is, Dayton has a great deal to interest national and international travelers. Dayton is most striking in its innovative cultural heritage and for the quality of its arts scene. For decades before the Wright Brothers invented the airplane from their bicycle shop in Dayton, the town had more inventions per capita than any city in the United States (including the search engine, the cash register, the pop-top can, the parachute, and the ice cube tray, just to name a few). And for the trail enthusiasts, penned the "Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest," the Dayton region has tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities, anchored by myriad trail systems. From their paved trail network - the nation's largest at 330 miles - to their soft surface trails, to their water trails, Dayton and the surrounding area offers all tread surfaces and outdoor experiences for every taste within 15 minutes of downtown. Read more and see photos...

New Zealand Rail Trail credited with jobs and economic impact
The Otago Central Rail Trail is New Zealand's first rail trail and has been credited with bringing 120 direct jobs and $5.3 million annually into the South Island economy. With 120,000 visitors annually, the 150-kilometer trail has generated business in bike rentals, accommodations, and full-package vacation plans, complete with transportation of bags and people between towns. Historic buildings have also benefited, being renovated into cafes, restaurants, and lodging. Read more... 

Proposed trail to bring off-road loop to popular Australia tourist location
A new 40-kilometer cycling and walking trail in Yarra Valley, Australia would bring a continuous off-road loop to one of the State's most populous playgrounds. The proposed trail would start and finish at Lilydale, linking with the Warburton Rail Trail. "This is a great project that would not only let locals explore their own backyard by bike, but also further open the area up to tourism," Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said. Read more...

Archived webinar: "The FAST Act: Advancing Trails with the New Federal Transportation Bill" 
This webinar, originally taken place on April 21, 2016 and presented by the Rails-to-Trails-Conservancy, covers the important details in the new FAST Act legislation passed by U.S. Congress in December 2015. The presenters explain what the legislation means for trail funding of future projects. They 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 also touches 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. Read more and purchase archived webinar...

Cool Trail Solutions: Wildlife and habitat interpretive signs and displays
Trails offer a great opportunity to educate the public about the environment and natural history. Signs and displays on trails can be used to teach about critical habitat issues and the wide range of ecosystems. Read more and see photos in the American Trails Cool Trail Solutions Photo Gallery...

Register for the National Equestrian Trails Conference (NETC) in Raleigh, North Carolina
The NETC 2016 Conference will address important educational issues that are being presented in both a hands-on environment as well as in general workshop sessions. The conference topics include up-to-date educational information and skills that will benefit both trail riders and trail maintenance groups, as well as public and private land managers. The conference is from July 8-10 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Read more and register... 
City of Toronto study: "Natural Environment Trail Strategy" 
Trails are an important part of managing natural areas in an urban setting. The City of Toronto studied ways to ensure the protection of natural areas while offering a safe and enjoyable multi-use trail system. The report notes that "the problem was not the number of users or the types of users, but that the informal trails that were cut through the forest over time were poorly designed, routed, and built. Building better, sustainable trails with a light footprint to ensure minimal disturbance to the natural environment, could be a solution to these problems." Download the 200-page report... (pdf 10.6 mb)

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

Upcoming Spring/Summer 2016 trail training opportunities

Current training opportunities for trail skills across the country. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details...

May 27-29 - St. Paul, MN
* Youth Bike Summit

June 4 - On trails across America! 
* American Hiking Society's National Trails Day®  
June 6-9 - Independence, MO 
* National Historic Trails Workshop
June 7 - Bellevue, WA
* Walkable Washington Annual Symposium
June 13-15 - Chattanooga, TN
* 2016 National Rural Transportation Conference

June 13-15 - San Jose, CA 
* International Conference on Transport and Health 

June 23 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* Webinar: Leveraging Cross-Sector Partnerships and Technology to Develop a Healthy, Vibrant Trails Community   
June 26-29 - Houston, TX 
* International Conference on Transportation and Development 
July 8-10 - Raleigh, NC
* National Equestrian Trails Conference

July 8-10 - Grand Junction, CO 
* Old Spanish Trail Conference 
Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at


Working together - works! There is strength in numbers!


For over 28 years, American Trails has been a collective voice for a diverse coalition of enthusiasts, professionals, advocates, builders, 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 organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible.


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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: Forbidden Drive multi-use trail, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; photo by Stuart Macdonald