20th American Trails National Symposium

Chattanooga, Tennessee ~ November 14-17, 2010

arrow We encourage you to think about a nomination for the 2013 National Trails Awards. Nominations must be relevant for the prior two years leading up to the 2013 American Trails International Symposium in Arizona. The Nomination Packet will be available in mid-2012 so check back with us!

Photo of crowd at meeting

The National Trails Awards is one way American Trails recognizes the exemplary people across the landscape of America who are working to create a national system of trails to meet the recreation, health, and travel needs of all Americans.

American Trails 20th National Trails Awards Program ~ On the Path of Excellence honored people and programs at the 20th American Trails National Symposium, on Nov. 16, 2010 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.



2010 National Trails Awards – National Award Recipient Details


Best Trails State Award: State of Minnesota

This award recognizes a state that is facilitating an outstanding statewide system of trails.

In 2008, Minnesota passed the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Act. As a result, 14.25% of funds generate by the new tax will provide funding for regional parks, state parks, and trails. Over the next year, $35 million dollars will go towards enhancing trails in parks and the construction of new trails. Minnesota was one of the first states to establish a rails-to-trails system starting in the late 1960’s. In addition to rail-trails, today the State Trails system includes 1,266 off-road trail miles. The state has over 22,000 miles of snowmobile trails, more than 2,300 miles of Off Highway Vehicle trails, 1000 miles of equestrian trails, and over 4,400 miles of water trails. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources works with private land owners, organizations, cities, and local communities in order to help provide the population with accessible and fun recreational activities through trail use.


Lifetime Service Award: Kurt Loheit

This award recognizes an individual demonstrating long-standing, significant, and exemplary service to trail planning, implementation, and recreation.

Kurt Loheit has more than 20 years of experience as a passionate outdoorsman, who has been instrumental in organizing and leading trail programs with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy and numerous other organizations across the nation, including the California Trails and Greenways Conference, founding the Los Angeles Chapter of Concerned Off Road Bicyclists Association, and being the Resources Director of the International Mountain Bicyclist Association. Kurt has been a leader of the hiking and mountain bike community’s efforts to contribute to the design, construction, and maintenance of sustainable trail systems. He has supervised trail projects and trail building schools around the country, he’s written about trail building issues in a number of mountain biking and land management publications, and he’s presented many times at national, state, and local trails conferences. In 2004 he was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.


Hulet Hornbeck Award: Carroll Vogel

This award is for an individual that, like Hulet Hornbeck, exemplifies long-standing vision and wisdom in support of trails.

In 1990, after more than a decade of building and repairing trails and bridges in the backcountry for the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association, Carroll started a private business, “Sahale LLC,” that eventually would become the dominant national designer and builder of recreational cable bridges. During Carroll’s early measured efforts on suspension bridges owned by the US Forest Service, he focused on building and rebuilding existing ones more efficiently. After reconstructing older bridges in need of repair and learning design techniques, he began to make his own creative adjustments. His own alterations led to reduced costs and the efficient use of materials to make longer spans not only more durable, but more economical. Of the more than 200 trail bridges he built, Carroll showed us that we are still looking for the boundaries in bridge design. We are still finding new structures, applications, and uses of materials.


Developer Award: The Woodlands, Texas

This award recognizes quality, well designed, multi-use trails systems that are integrated into private developments.

The Woodlands, a 28,000-acre community located north of Houston, has been one of the best-selling master-planned communities in Texas since 1990 and is currently #2 in the nation. The community’s 93,000 residents have access to 185 miles of trails that serve as a community-wide pathway system linking neighborhoods with schools, places of worship, shopping, recreational facilities, and workplaces. The development even encourages walk to school days to encourage children to lead active lifestyles.


Kids and Trails Award: Student Conservation Association

This award honors efforts to engage children and youth in outdoor experiences using trails. Creative interpretive, educational and/or recreational design components are included along with innovative programs which stimulate children’s imagination and promote their interest in and appreciation for the natural environment while developing healthy life styles.

American Trails is proud to congratulate the Student Conservation Association for this prestigious accomplishment! During the summer of 2009, the SCA brought kids and trails together on 103 crews in 18 cities and major metropolitan areas across the nation. These SCA crews (with a total of 1,272 high school age members) restored 329,392 feet of trail at 185 project sites in city and county parks. An additional 57,641 feet of new trail was created by these kids. Over 16 million people have the potential of benefiting from these improvements to their urban green spaces and ultimately to their quality of life. First established more than three decades ago, SCA’s urban community-based programs have experienced significant growth recently. In 2006, SCA fielded 326 high school students in 6 communities; this number has grown to approximately 1,400 participants in urban areas nationwide this year.


Partnership Award: Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association and Tennessee Valley Authority

This award is given to a partnership that has benefited agencies or services within the field of trail planning, design, or implementation and has contributed toward a positive public exposure for these fields. Hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy the outdoors on Raccoon Mountain as a result of a continued partnership between the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association. The current trail system encircles TVA’s Raccoon Mountain Reservoir with over 17 miles of single track trail and includes trails for both novice and expert users. It has become a destination trail system, with people traveling from all over to ride it. Multiple mountain biking and trail running events occur on weekends during the spring, summer, and fall months such as the Southeast Regional Championships and the Scenic City Trail Marathon. Both parties worked together to help maintain the integrity of the land by providing a trail that is environmentally friendly and teaching users the Leave No Trace philosophy of trail recreation.


Community Service Award: Coal River Group

This award honors a trail organization that performs exceptional community service relating to trails.

In 2004, the Coal River was listed as one of the ten most endangered rivers in the country. Because of the river’s listing the Coal River Group was formed. The Group’s goals include preserving and protecting the Big Coal, Little Coal, and Coal rivers, preserving and interpreting the history of the rivers, and creating recreational and economic opportunities for the watershed. To help people gain access to the rivers, the group created the 88 mile Walhonde Water Trail. Almost every weekend during the summer the Group sponsors and leads a float trip over short sections of the trail. The annual “Tour de Coal” floats down the lower eleven miles. This leisurely trip began with 44 canoes, kayaks and other boats the first year. In 2009, over 165 boats and 200 people took part.


Trails for Public Service: Senator Robert H. Plymale

This award is given to an individual that has demonstrated significant and consistent support of trail planning, design, or implementation through strong leadership and/or legislative efforts.

Senator Robert H. Plymale represents the 5th District from West Virginia in the U.S. Senate. As an advocate for trails throughout southern West Virginia, the Senator has been a key player in the development of public trails for recreation and alternative means of transportation, including the Huntington Museum of Art Multi-Sensory Trail and the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health. Recognizing the economic development and community revitalization potential that the Hatfield McCoy Trails would bring to coal-dependent counties in southern West Virginia, he has been active in mapping, planning, and promoting hundreds of miles of motorized, private trail systems. Since 2005, off-highway vehicle recreation has become southern West Virginia’s most frequently utilized outdoor recreation attraction, surpassed only by white water rafting. The popularity of the Hatfield McCoy Trails system can be attributed the Senator’s enthusiasm for outdoor recreation and his ability to see the economic benefits trails can have for a community.


Outstanding Media Award: Bob Fulcher

This award is given to an organization or individual that has demonstrated significant and sustained efforts to provide positive public exposure and education in the field of trail use, planning, design, or implementation.

Bob Fulcher, Park Manager of the Cumberland Trail State Park has worked as a park naturalist and ranger for over 25 years. For more than 10 years, people from all over the world have been tuning in each Sunday night, to listen to The Cumberland Trail -- a half-hour radio program hosted by Bob. The Cumberland Trail is the only state or national park in America using weekly musical documentaries to present and preserve its heritage. The radio program has served as an invaluable tool to keep the regional community up to date on volunteer work projects along the Cumberland Trail State Park. For great and rare old-time, bluegrass, gospel, rockabilly, vintage country, western swing, blues, and folk from the 1920s on, tune in to The Cumberland Trail.


Trails and the Arts Award: Slavic Village Development and Cleveland Public Art and Parkworks

This award recognizes outstanding public art projects, interpretive signs, or other creative structures associated with trail related improvements.

The Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, boasts the first urban rail-trail conversion in the city, the Morgana Run Trail. As part of the public art program for the Morgana Run Trail, Slavic Village Development and Cleveland Public Art and ParkWorks collaborated to develop a distinguishing marker for the East 49th Street trailhead. The groups wanted a marker that would be an inspiring piece of artwork while also serving to identify the entrance to the trail. They found their answer with local artist Jake Beckman who designed the 35 foot tall flower sculpture that now admits thousands of people each year to the trail. The flower sculpture is comprised of a steel “stem” topped by bicycle wheel “petals” which are illuminated at night with efficient LED lights, providing the trail with a unique and eye catching entrance.


Trails for Health Award: Step Into Cuba Alliance

This award recognizes a community’s commitment to improving access to trails and promoting their use and importance for increasing physical activity with a commitment to long term change through trails use.

Based in the village of Cuba, New Mexico, Step into Cuba is a program combined of 18 local and national groups working to promote healthy physical activity through development of sidewalks, paths, trails, social support, and opportunities for lifestyle change. The Alliance’s vision is to create a “greener,” healthier, and more pedestrian friendly community by improving pedestrian trails and connecting these to surrounding scenic Federal lands, including a new segment of the Continental Divide Trail. Regularly scheduled public meetings are held to gather input and ideas from community members. Workshops have been organized to discuss the ideas and develop long-term strategy to maximize the improvements being made. A walkability plan has been developed utilizing pedestrian safety consultants and a park plan has been developed in conjunction with the University of New Mexico. Step Into Cuba Alliance is committed to the health of its citizens and believes trails and pedestrian pathways are the answer to life-long fitness.


State-of-the-Art Technology Award: City of San Jose, Department of Park, Recreation & Neighborhood Services

This award recognizes a trails-related product, process, or service that has significantly met a need, addressed an issue, or increased efficiency in trail design, development, or maintenance.

Persons seeking assistance from emergency personnel often encounter a lack of useful location information along trails and the City of San Jose has set out to change this. San José’s mileage markers convey precise location data to the trail user in an easy to understand manner. Supporting data for each marker is available to emergency services personnel and provides a complete set of location, surface, and accessibility data to help emergency services provide speedy assistance. San José’s Trail Network provides opportunities for recreation and commuting and is enjoyed by thousands of residents each day. By 2022, as part of its Green Vision, the City will have 35 interconnected trail systems across 100 miles. A growing population using trails is likely to require more emergency services and these services can now be deployed in a rapid and efficient manner.


Outstanding Trail Sharing Award: Ride With Respect

This award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems.

Ride With Respect aims to protect natural resources while accommodating diverse recreation on public land through motorized and non-motorized use. They reach this goal through trail restoration projects and educational programs that offer certified rider-training classes. One of these projects is the Sovereign Trail in Moab, Utah. The "Sovereign Trail" is the only single track trail system in the immediate Moab area that is open to motorcycles and it is an area that is a great example of different trail enthusiast groups working together toward a common goal. Though the area is on Utah State lands, most of the management and maintenance of the area falls on the shoulders of Ride with Respect. The organization exemplifies what can happen when all user types put aside their differences and concentrate on the common ground of their love for the land and recreational trails.


Planning/Design Award: Tennessee Riverpark

This award honors problem-solving through innovative methods on a trail project. This project includes successful aspects of public participation and/or public agency involvement, and has been planned to enhance the recreational trails opportunities within the project area.

The Tennessee Riverpark is a 13 mile linear park and trail system that runs along the Tennessee River through the heart of downtown Chattanooga. Its development was a turning point for Chattanooga, revitalizing downtown and making trails more accessible to the local community. The most comprehensive and inclusive planning process ever undertaken in Chattanooga began in 1985 with an appointed task force. Their goal was to orchestrate a true, all-inclusive community planning process. After hundreds of public and private meetings involving thousands of citizens, the Tennessee Riverpark Master Plan was established. The vision operated under the premise that the Chattanooga riverfront was owned by everyone and should be developed “under a guiding idea which will bring its banks to life, make it a central point of pride for the City’s people, and move it to the forefront of national consciousness.” By reconnecting with the river, the city overhauled its image and fueled the engine of central economic development. Its impact has been so immense that the Riverfront Renaissance Story is being told internationally.


Corporate Award: Lyndhurst Foundation

This award is given to a business or corporation that has demonstrated significant, sustained, and exemplary service to trail planning, implementation, and/or recreation.

The Lyndhurst Foundation has demonstrated tremendous support and exemplary service for trails planning and development in the east Tennessee and north Georgia region. The foundation focuses on the enhancement and enrichment of the natural, educational, cultural, and urban environment of Chattanooga and the surrounding region. The foundation’s service has benefited thousands of people in the region by creating various outdoor recreational opportunities for them to enjoy. Organizations they have partnered with for better trails include the Trust for Public Land’s Chattanooga Office, The Lulu Lake Land Trust, the Southeast Watershed Forum, and the Cumberland Trail Conference.


State Trail Advocacy Awards

The Trail Advocacy award is given to an individual that has demonstrated successful efforts to influence public policy relating to trail planning, trail protection, trail development, or maintenance.

• Alabama-Rob Grant
• California-Beverly Lane
• Alberta, Canada- Alberta TrailNet & Alberta Tourism
• Colorado-Kevin Pellini
• Connecticut-Stan Malcolm
• Florida- Herb Hiller
• Illinois-Bev Moore
• Indiana-Lori Keys
• Iowa-Carl Voss
• Kentucky-Steve Barbour
• Louisiana-Kevin Davis
• Massachusetts-Wayne Feiden
• Missouri-John Roth
• Minnesota-Ron Potter
• Montana-Gene Townsend
• Nevada –Clay Grubb
• New Hampshire-Charles Martin
• New York-Ivan Vamos
• North Dakota-Keri Wanner
• Ohio-Royce Wood
• Pennsylvania-David Buck
• South Carolina-City of Charleston
• South Dakota-Perry Jewett
• Tennessee-Bob Richards
• Utah-Lynne Olson
• West Virginia-Robert Scatterday & Ben Stout
• Wisconsin-Menomonee Valley Partners


State Trail Worker Award

The State Trail Worker Award recognizes an individual that has demonstrated outstanding contributions and provided consistent support for trail planning, development, or maintenance. It is intended to recognize the commitment and efforts of a private or public sector individual working for enhanced trail recreation in their local area/state.

• Alabama-Debbie Quinn
• Alaska-Mike Shields
• California-Robert Griffis
• Connecticut-Joe Hickey
• Delaware-Delaware Trail Spinners
• Florida-Helen Koehler
• Idaho-Kristin Lundstrom
• Illinois-Steve Buchtel
• Iowa-Carol Williams
• Louisiana-John C. Leslie
• Minnesota-David Halsey
• Missouri-Kathie Brennan
• Montana-Jon H. McBride
• Nevada-Jeremy Vlcan
• New Hampshire-Lainie Castine
• New Jersey-Lew Gorman
• New Mexico-Kerrie Brokaw Pattison
• New York-Eddie Walsh
• North Carolina-Hillrie Quin
• North Dakota-Marc Brown
• Pennsylvania-Terry Wentz
• South Carolina-Don Watts
• Tennessee-Ken Jones
• Utah-Max Reid
• Virginia-Sam Jensen
• Washington-Joan Melcher
• West Virginia-Ella Belling
• Wisconsin-Rich Propp
• Wyoming-Tony Simek


The National Trails Awards is one way American Trails recognizes the exemplary people across the landscape of America who are working to create a national system of trails to meet the recreation, health, and travel needs of all Americans. Awards are given out every two years during the American Trails National Symposium. The Symposium is an opportunity for people in the trails community to network and learn state-of-the-art trail planning, development, and management techniques.

American Trails is the only national nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail types. For more information visit: www.AmericanTrails.org.

We encourage you to think about a nomination for the 2013 National Trails Awards. Nominations must be relevant for the prior two years leading up to the 2013 American Trails International Symposium in Arizona. The Nomination Packet will be available in mid-2012 so check back with us!

arrow Read the details of winners of the 2008 National Trails Awards.

arrow Learn more about the 20th American Trails National Symposium


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