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September 2016 e-Newsletter

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

  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 

October 20 webinar covers economic benefits of trails
"Economic Impact of Livable Communities with Active Transportation Options" will be presented by Craig Della Penna, a Realtor who specializes in the sale of houses near rail trails and greenways. FREE FOR MEMBERS TO ATTEND! Learn more and REGISTER for this webinar...
November 17 webinar will discuss latest trends in trails and greenways 
"Trails and Greenways: What's Next?" will be presented by Bob Searns with the Greenway Team, Chuck Flink with Greenways Incorporated, and Laura Belleville with Appalachian Trail Conservancy. New challenges and opportunities are emerging for trails and greenways, including: how to promote broader, routine engagement in walking and other trails activities to promote fitness; how to pursue greater resiliency in the face of the impacts of climate change; and how to preserve and protect precious landscapes in the face of growing urbanization. Given these considerations, this webinar will take a look at what's next. This webinar is FREE TO THE PUBLIC thanks to a partnership with the National Park Service. Learn more and REGISTER for this webinar...
Try a webinar - for free!
You can access one of American Trails' recent webinars absolutely free. "Understanding the National Recreation Trails Program and National Water Trails System" was presented September 8. This webinar is free to the public thanks to a partnership with the National Park Service. Watch the webinar recording now... 


Atlanta's Beltline trail spurs housing boom
Housing costs along the popular Beltline corridor have dramatically increased over the last five years, Atlanta officials say. Developers, responding to surging interest in living along the greenspace, have built thousands of new apartments and condos to meet the demand. Affordable housing is emerging as a new goal. Read more and see photos...

A look at accessibility on Federal lands
Lilly Longshore, a wheelchair user and outdoor enthusiast, shares her thoughts on improving accessibility: "Our parks need engineers and planners that are dedicated to reviewing parks, assessing the potential for accessible trails and facilities, then designing and building them." Read more and see photos...

Minneapolis greenway proposal stirs debate
The Northside Greenway would create a new green corridor and bikeway by removing traffic and street parking on some or all of 37 residential blocks. But, reports Next City, opponents have accused the project of "racism, sexism, classism, and ableism." The city has funded 30 different organizations with $115,000 in grants to knock on doors, host events, and gather feedback. Read more and see graphics...

Michigan DNR maps paddling trails and water access
After years spent focusing on other types of outdoor sports, the Michigan Department of Public Resources is now preparing to map out the state's water trails, their amenities, and access points. Read more and see photos... 

The worst hike in New Hampshire
Generally, in hiking blogs you see beautiful pictures of majestic scenery, smiling faces, while hikers recount the glorious time they had reaching the summit of their favorite mountain. Instead, one hiking enthusiast writes about the worst trail hike out of 48 4,000-foot mountains in New Hampshire. Read more and see photos...

A bolder vision for Florida's trails
Florida's State Legislature authorized $125 million in funding for the SUN Trails program which provides the first assured state funding for Florida trails. Author Herb Hiller delves into the details of cooperation and complexity of communities and transportation planners working together for hundreds of miles of new trails. Read more and see photos... 

Featured National Recreation Trail: Bird to Gird Pathway, Alaska
Mountains, glaciers, beluga whales, and ocean views are a few of  the spectacular sights you can take in on the Girdwood to Indian Pathway. The 13-mile paved trail follows the Turnagain Arm near Anchorage. Read more and see photos... 

Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Ouachita Trail, Arkansas
This project enabled volunteers and AmeriCorps crews to add four shelters to the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. Backpackers and mountain bikers use the trail through the Ouachita National Forest. Read more and see photos...

Featured Online Business Directory advertiser: Pannier Graphics
Pannier leads the way in the production of trail signs and markers because they understand this signage is about more than marking the paths - it's also about sharing and preserving the world's most beautiful and irreplaceable areas. They manufacture a full range of fiberglass signage, panels, bases, and frames ideal for: trail maps, interpretative panels, wayfinding signage, trail markers, and more. Learn more about Pannier Graphics in the American Trails Online Business Directory...

May 7-10, 2017 ~ Dayton, Ohio
Call for Presentations just released
To help us develop an exciting and motivating program for the Symposium, we invite you to submit ideas for presentations in support of the Symposium's theme, "Trails Take Flight: Connecting People, Places, and Possibilities." Read more and download the form for submitting a proposal...
Details of Symposium host hotels now available
Enjoy fine and affordable accommodations while attending the Symposium. The Crowne Plaza hotel is in downtown Dayton and connected via skywalk to the Dayton Convention Center. The Marriott University of Dayton is located in a park-like setting at the University of Dayton campus. Read more about accommodations at the Symposium...
American Trails hosts the next International Trails Symposium in Dayton, Ohio May 7-10, 2017!
For the 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 
20% exhibitor discount deadline October 15, 2016
The Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities Packet is available! Exhibitors can receive a 20% discount until October 15, 2016. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS include choosing their booth location in the order their contract and payment is received (some exceptions apply) and adding your logo or name link on our Meet Our Sponsors page online once we receive your contract and payment! Learn more...
Thank you to the additional sponsors and exhibitors to date (including the list of our honorary partners above):
Germany gives green light to bicycle highways
As a glimpse of a greener urban transport future, Germany has just opened the first stretch of a bicycle highway that is set to connect 10 western cities. The new type of bike routes are 13-feet-wide, have overtaking lanes, and usually cross roads via overpasses and underpasses. Read more and see photos...

UK rail trails are boosting local tourism and recreation
In Devon, increasing use of new cycling and walking trails has saved struggling pubs along the routes and inspired new businesses. Early successes have convinced council chiefs to back more projects and won over many landowners and local residents. Read more and see photos...
Best Practices: Trail speed limit signs
A recent "Cool Trail Solutions" photo gallery focuses on ways to remind trail users to watch their speed on shared-use trails. Many trail managers find it prudent to provide reminders to bicyclists to be aware of their speed. A wide variety of signs are in use, from standard highway speed limits to signs that are part of the wayfinding design for a trail system. Read more and see photos in the American Trails Cool Trail Solutions Photo Gallery...

New book leads the way to "Great Trails"
"Great Trails: Providing Quality OHV Trails and Experiences" is a new resource for planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and managing Off-Highway Vehicle trail systems. The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council produced the book and website with help from many partners. Read more and access the "Great Trails" resources...

Summary of accessibility standards for Federal lands

The best place to start when planning new trails or improving access is "A Summary of Accessibility Standards for Federal Outdoor Developed Areas." The online resources cover all aspects of current rules on accessible trails, camping and picnic facilities, and beach access routes. Read more...

Marketing the Ice Age Trail
The Joint Effort Marketing report for the Ice Age Trail Alliance measures the economic impact of trail users and volunteers to the Wisconsin economy. It also reviews the Ice Age Trail brand identity based on market research to better understand the users -- in short, the customers. Surveys indicate that over 1.2 million people visit the trail each year. Download the 144-page marketing report (pdf 5.9 mb)...

Fall trail training opportunities

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

October 3-7 - Hong Kong
* Walk 21
October 5-8 - St. Louis, MO
* National Recreation and Park Association Annual Conference
October 6-10 - Gilbert, WV
* Hatfield-McCoy National TrailFest
October 12-13 - Greenfield, NH
* Sustainable Trails for All Workshop with Trail Accessibility Guidelines
October 13-15 - Tri-Cities, WA
* Washington State Trails Coalition Conference
October 14-17 - Tottori, Japan
* World Trails Conference
October 15 - Flagstaff, AZ
* Arizona Trail Association Trail Training
October 20 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* Webinar: "Economic Impact of Livable Communities with Active Transportation Options" REGISTER TODAY
November 4 - Cranberry Township, PA
* Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition 2016 Fall Summit

Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at


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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.


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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: Lower Columbia River Trail in Astoria, Oregon; photo by Stuart Macdonald