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arrow See biographies of Core Track & Concurrent Session presenters (pdf 289 kb)

Our theme, “Trails Lead Everywhere” celebrates the remarkable role of trails worldwide. Throughout time, they have united and guided humans across the globe. Trails were the foundation of our communication network and continue to be an essential component of our personal and professional experiences and relationships. As one of our greatest assets, trails enable us to explore, travel, and savor the world’s natural wonders, from the highest mountains to the deepest canyons and all the vast open spaces in between. They are the best way to see nature’s hidden treasures, the cleanest way to commute, and the easiest way to encourage kids to adopt healthy lifestyles. Trails are the ribbons that connect us, lead us, and expand our horizons.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) were offered for most of these sessions through one of the Symposium's sponsors, the Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS), an authorized independent CEU provider through IACET (International Association for Continuing Education and Training).



Time: 8:15 – 11:15 a.m.


Thinking Beyond Borders: The creation of the International Appalachian Trail

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On April 22, 1994 – Earth Day – Governor Joiseph Brennan proposed the establishment of a trail to connect the three highest points of Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec. This original vision aimed to connect people of a common landscape and culture, and it has since grown significantly beyond a hiking path to link Katahdin, Mt. Carleton and Mt. Jacques Cartier. Phase I was completed in 2000. The same impulse that inspired Benton MacKaye to propose the creation of the Appalachian Trail in 1921 – rural economic development and the celebration of open space and a shared mountain landscape – has propelled the IAT to all of Atlantic Canada (Phase II) and across the broad expanse of the North Atlantic to Greenland, Iceland, the Farôe Islands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, France and Spain – with Portugal and Morocco pending (Phase III). This presentation will chronicle the growth of the IAT with particular attention to diversity of organization, use of technology and funding, as well as the singular, unwavering attention to a bit of geologic history to galvanize a 20,000-mile trail network that will soon ring the North Atlantic.

Speaker: Don Hudson, Co-founder and President, Maine Chapter International Appalachian Trail




Time: 8:15 – 9:30 a.m.


Federal Transportation Funds for Trails

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NOTE from FHWA: "The original presentation is found at and

"These webinars are informational in nature and not decisional at this time. FHWA is still in the process of interpreting this newly enacted law. FHWA’s MAP-21 Website: "

The Federal Highway Administration’s transportation programs can help create safe, accessible, attractive, and environmentally-sensitive communities where people want to live, work, and recreate. These programs can integrate transportation and recreation. This session will explain new Federal surface transportation legislation and how it affects trail programs and funding for trail projects. Attendees will learn how to apply for Federal-aid transportation funds and learn what works and what doesn’t.

Speaker: Christopher Douwes, Trails and Enhancements Program Manager, Federal Highway Administration


Dots and Dashes: Connecting People to Places with Trails and Paths

arrow View Scott Hamilton presentation online...

arrow View Susan Conklu presentation online...

This presentation will discuss how to incorporate shared use unpaved trail and paved path systems into the overall city transportation infrastructure and planning program. Some of the challenges include differences in social and environmental geography, with different physical terrain, population densities, and mobility needs. The presentation will discuss how to utilize policy and programming, as well as identify funding sources, to successfully integrate non-motorized transportation into a larger transportation master plan framework.

Speakers: Susan Conklu, Transportation Planner, City of Scottsdale; Scott Hamilton, Senior Transportation Planner, City of Scottsdale


Trail Innovations in the Desert Southwest: “Next-Generation” Urban Trails in Tucson, and Restoration of one of America’s “Most Endangered” Rivers in Santa Fe

arrow View Tucson presentation online...

arrow View Santa Fe presentation online...

In Tucson, the Pima Association of Governments, in partnership with the University of Arizona and other organizations/agencies, recently completed a pedestrian, bicycle, and trails master plan for the U of A campus. Extremely high community expectations demanded that this effort be results-driven, have an effective community and stakeholder engagement strategy, include policies to clearly guide on
theground implementation, and provide a clearlydefined roadmap for putting the plan into action. The resulting effort includes robust infrastructure and programmatic elements, several of which are now under construction.

In Santa Fe, public desire for a trail along the Santa Fe River led to a concurrent restoration project of the river itself. The river seemed a logical location for development of a trail to meet that desire. Due to the sensitive nature of the corridor, the environmental bent of the mayor, and the strong opinions of many of the neighbors, an extensive public involvement process drove the design work. Special features of the trail included a “greenwall” reinforced, vegetated, earthen retaining wall system to support the trail, as well as stabilization of the adjacent river bed using bioengineering techniques that were essentially untried on a project of this magnitude.

Speakers: Rory Renfro, Associate, Alta Planning and Design; Robert Oberdorfer, Senior Landscape Architect, Weston Solutions Inc.


Art of Sustainable Trail Management ~  Examples from Across the Globe

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“The Art of Sustainable Trail Management” will teach attendees the basics behind developing and managing natural surface, shared-use trail systems. In 25 years, Tony has passionately led crews in sculpting over 850 kilometers of shared-use and purpose-built trails for mountain bicyclists of all ages and abilities around the world. His session will include examples from his work in China, Australia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Topics ranging from bench cut construction to rolling contour design will be covered. This session is geared primarily towards beginning and intermediate level trailbuilders, including volunteers, agency staff, and professional trail crews.

Speaker: Tony Boone, Owner, Tony Boone Trails, LLC


Pathways for Play: Infusing Play into Trail Networks to Engage Children and Families


Discover how to create innovative trails that are FUN and enjoyable for intergenerational users!  Explore best practice guidelines and supportive research for designing playful pathways that infuse play throughout the trail experience. Case study examples will demonstrate how to attract children and families, extend play value, promote physical activity, provide environmental learning, and engage users with nature along trails.

Speakers: Lisa Moore,  VP of Corporate Strategic Services, PlayCore; Robin Moore,  Professor of Landscape Architecture, Director of Natural Learning Initiative, North Carolina State University; Adina Cox, Research Assistant at the Natural Learning Initiative, North Carolina State University



Time: 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.

The South Platte River Greenway ~ Building on a Legacy

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The speakers bring different perspectives to Greenway Planning and Design, from managing a non-profit Greenway foundation to managing planning, design and construction for a Park District, to design and construction as a consulting engineer and a landscape architect. Together they will share more than 30 years of experience on the South Platte River Greenway development in metropolitan Denver, Colorado. They will present an overview of the history of greenway development along the South Platte River and along tributary stream corridors and how greenway development has helped to make trails part of the everyday life of residents in the Denver metro area.

Speakers: John M. Pflaum, P.E. Professional Engineering Consultant; Jeff Shoemaker, Executive Director, The Greenway Foundation; H. William Woodcock, ASLA, Owner of Landscape Solutions 3, Inc.; Bill Neumann, ASLA, Principal DHM Design Corporation


Trails saved my life…

Trails have saved all our lives – we just don’t realize it – and this lack of understanding is slowly killing our trails and us in the process. As advocates, planners, and communities, we need to raise the awareness of trails and the broadest, most essential roles they play in our daily lives.  We need to change the face of trails and align their metrics and message with a broader set of vital human values – life or death values that influence decision makers. This interactive, multi-media session will explore the competition facing trails and document a range of deeper values that can aid participants in re-casting trails as a life-saving agenda we CANNOT live without locally, regionally, and nationally.

Speakers: Diane Banta, Photographer; Gregg Calpino, Regional Practice Center Leader, SHE, Inc.; Steve Buchtel, Executive Director, Trails for Illinois


Trail Ratings: Reducing injuries and rescues through user education, a case study on THE Echo Canyon Trail - Camelback Mountain


This session will demonstrate to participants how the City of Phoenix, City of Glendale, Maricopa County, City of Scottsdale, Town of Fountain Hills and the City of Tempe developed a campaign that brought these agencies together to develop a standardized trail rating system used Valley wide. The six level rating system was designed to give trail users enough information to be able to make informed decisions when they are contemplating hiking the local mountain and desert parks. The case study of Echo Canyon Trail and Trailhead improvements on Camelback Mountain will be a focus of discussion.

Speakers: Chris Ewell, RLA, Landscape Architect II, City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department; Jarod Rogers, RLA, Landscape Architect I, City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department; Tim Merritt, Park Supervisor, City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department; Mark Wisehart, Recreation Coordinator II, City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department; Matt Woodson, President and Owner, Okanogan Trail Construction


Trails and the DOJ Rule on OPDMDs


The Department of Justice has issued regulations for “other power-driven mobility devices” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The challenge for trail managers is to respond to the rule that allows a person who says they have a mobility disability to drive virtually any vehicle on anywhere. We will provide a concise look at what the rule requires and how it affects trails and land managers, whether local, state, nonprofit or federal. We will also provide examples of policies and public information managers have developed to clarify the use of mobility devices. Trail managers will learn specific actions they need to take to comply with the OPDMD rule, while providing appropriate access to visitors with disabilities.

Speakers: Janet A. Zeller, National Accessibility Program Manager, U.S. Forest Service; Stuart Macdonald, Program Manager, National Trails Training Partnership




For such a small program, that does so much good, and is completely underwritten by the gas tax dollars paid by off -road recreational vehicles, etc., the Recreational Trails Program has certainly faced more than its share of survival threats.  Another is looming.  Governors once more have the opportunity to opt out of the Program for FY2014.  The "word on the street," is that a number of States are in danger of doing just that! Join leaders from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the National Off-Highway Conservation Council (NOH VCC), and the American Hiking Society to share ideas and plot strategies for saving our program once more.  This session is for everyone, but particularly for those from States considering opting out of RTP in FY2014.

Speakers: Marianne W. Fowler, Vice President, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and American Trails Board Member; Karen Umphress, IT and Project Manager, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council and American Trails Board Member; Gregory A. Miller, Ph.D., President, American Hiking Society




Time: 1:45 – 3:00 p.m.


Forest Service Technology and Development Program Leading Trails into the 21st Century

arrow View Forest Service Technology presentation online...

arrow View Standard Trail Plans presentation online...

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Technology and Development Program has supported the Forest Service Trails Program for many years with equipment and technology transfer that help get work done on the ground. In partnership with FHWA, our results are available to everyone. We have several newly-completed and on-going projects to tell you about, including the new Accessibility Guide For Outdoor Recreation and Trails (AGORT), New U.S. Forest Service Standard Trail Drawings and Specifications, Hands-On Log Cabin Restoration Guide, Single Track Trail Groomer, Stopping Sight Distance For OHV’s And Snowmobiles, Effects Of All-Terrain Vehicles On Forested Lands And Grasslands, and much more.  This session will introduce you to these products, and tell you how to obtain the reports and DVDs at no cost.

Speakers: J. Scott Groenier, PE, Project Leader, Structures, U.S. Forest Service T&D Program; Janet Zeller, Accessibility Program Manager, U.S. Forest Service, Recreation and Heritage and Volunteer Resources Staff; Robert Wetherell, Recreation Program Leader, U.S. Forest Service T&D Program


The Blue Mountains, Australia ~ a place to keep people on their feet

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The Blue Mountains in Australia is a UNESCO World Heritage Area and one of Australia’s prime natural wonders. It was, is, and hopefully always will be a mecca for bushwalking. Some of Australia’s oldest walking tracks are here in an extensive and historic network leading people into wild canyons and inspiring wilderness. Whilst millions get their boots on, load their packs and head out for adventure, a small, dedicated team of walking track specialists is busy working out how to protect the precious past whilst maintaining opportunities for present and future generations. The story of how old tracks are looked after and loved in the Blue Mountains is of interest for anyone who has ever grappled with how to make old tracks new - or how not to make old tracks new. 

Speaker: Scott Colefax, Senior Field Officer, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 


Trails in the Urban Landscape

arrow View City of Columbia presentation online...

arrow View Urban Pathways Initiative presentation online...

Multi-Use trail development has proven overwhelmingly popular all over the country. How are trails being developed and programmed in our urban core? Join the City of Columbia, Missouri’s Bike/Ped coordinator Ted Curtis, and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) in exploring how trails have been designed to fit, and be used in an urban context.  Columbia Missouri will share how trails have been integrated into existing cities’ infrastructure, what worked, what didn’t, and how they have succeeded in a myriad of circumstances.
RTC will share experiences from around the country that came out of their multi-year Urban Pathways Initiative.

Speakers: Ted Curtis, Bike/Ped Program Manager, City of Columbia, MO; Eric Oberg, Manager of Trail Development, Midwest Region, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy


The Path Forward: Expanding Cycling and Pedestrian Connectivity in Columbia, Maryland

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As one of the nation’s most well-known planned communities, Columbia has earned a reputation for being a great place to live, work, and play. Over the course of the ensuing 45 years, Columbia’s pathway network has grown to include 94 miles of paths. For a community of its size, Columbia has one of the most extensive pathway systems in the country. The pathway system was built prior to the era of design standards, navigating the paths is a challenge, and many key connections are lacking as well as links to on-road accommodations for bicycling.

An “Active Transportation Action Agenda” was developed to provide recommendations for creating a more interconnected and comprehensive bicycling and pedestrian circulation system for health, recreation, and transportation purposes. A targeted list of action items that will improve pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout Columbia, with a strong emphasis on the pathways, was developed. These items include increasing connections and reducing missing links; developing principles for pathway design and a wayfinding system; and inspiring and motivating more pedestrians and cyclists which will educate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to use Columbia’s pathways.

Speaker: Daniel Biggs,Landscape Architecture Practice Leader, Toole Design Group, LLC


If You Build It, They WILL Come: How to Make Your Community a Trails Destination


Since the last Trails Symposium was held in Arizona, Pima County and Southern Arizona has seen an explosion of trail development and construction, including new trails parks, skills parks, urban trails, mountain park trails and long-distance trails. This was no accident; it was the result of years of planning, negotiating and persistence. Attendees will learn how to plan, garner support for, design, and build trails that enhance quality of life for residents and attract visitors.

Speakers: Steve Anderson, Planning Division Manager, Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation; Mark Flint, Owner, Southwest Trail Solutions; Rafael Payan, Director, Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation


Reveal the Revenue to which Your Trails Lead


Discover how to attain stewards of your trails and greenways in order to increase local trail usage, aid in job retention, increase the value of your trails and promote healthier living.  Understand how socially responsible sponsorships cannot only alleviate current budget restrictions but create a revenue stream for trail possessors.

Speakers: Ivan Bellotto, President, Bikepath Country; Richard O’Keefe, Vice President, Bikepath Country




Time: 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.


Design a Trail Worth Traveling To

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On a very limited budget, a simple but well-designed trail system may be the ingredient to set a community apart and attract visitors.  Learn how to plan an initial trail layout. 

Speaker: Randy Martin, President, Trailscape Inc.


Paths to Participation: How to Develop Engaging Citizen Input Processes


The presentation will review key components of engaging citizen input processes as well as provide participants time to plan and develop specific ideas for their own communities/trails. Focus will include policy development (public input) and encouraging trail use (effective promotion, communication, and marketing).

Speaker: Jamie Rae Walker, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension


Beyond the Trail – Exploring National Trail Corridor Creation with BLM Policy Pioneers

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The purpose of this presentation is to highlight key features of the newly approved Bureau of Land Management (BLM) policies for the establishment of National Trail Management Corridors on public lands – and more. This presentation describes how the new BLM policies guides the agency in fulfilling its responsibilities under the National Trails System Act, and other laws, for National Scenic and Historic Trails, including inventory, planning, management, and monitoring.  Key policy highlights include determining the nature and purposes of each National Trail; conducting an interdisciplinary inventory of resources, qualities, values, and associated settings and uses; establishing a National Trail Management Corridor based on the inventory; permitting uses that will not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the National Trails; making efforts to avoid activities incompatible with the purposes for which the trails were established; and establishing a management standard for trails not yet congressionally designated that are recommended as suitable through an authorized National Trails Feasibility Study, or are under such study. 

Speaker: Cheryl Blanchard, Archeologist, BLM, Lower Sonoran Field Office


Parks Paradigm Shift: The mountain bike trail that changed an agency

arrow View the IMBA presentation online...

arrow View the Cleveland Metroparks presentation online...

Cleveland Metroparks recently built nearly 10 miles of single-track mountain bike trail, successfully navigating the tricky politics of strong support and strong opposition, both internally and externally.  This bold move provided much-needed trail access for the region while changing the internal culture of the agency. Attendees will hear firsthand how the process went, what worked and what didn’t, and best practices for either establishing a new bike optimized off-road trail system or better managing your current network.

Speakers: Nancy Desmond, Director of Special Projects, Cleveland Metroparks; Andy Williamson, Great Lakes Region Director, International Mountain Bicycling Association


Trails Lead Everywhere…and ARE for Everyone!


Access Recreation has developed a web-based document, Guidelines for Providing Trail Information to People with Disabilities, that provides direction and supportive information for public entities, on how better to share information about their trail systems and other outdoor recreation opportunities, and considerations that should be applied during the design of new trails and their features. This topic is not about how to design ADA accessible trails; it is about providing information that would encourage people with various kinds of disabilities to explore trails beyond the few designated ADA accessible trails.

Speakers: Richard Bosch, Architect/Accessibility Specialist, Richard Bosch Architect/Accessible Architecture; Georgena Moran, Project Coordinator/Accessibility Specialist, Access Recreation/Mind on Accessibility



arrow View China's National Trail presentation online...

arrow View Trail Construction presentation online...

The trails movement is growing rapidly in China and has contributed great value to the nation: the livelihood of the people, economic, cultural, integration of the tourism industry and the promotion of healthy lifestyles and social harmony. Learn about national trails efforts in China: development and growth, status, construction methods, applications, and how to make each trail a unique experience. Also learn about fund raising efforts, ecological sustainability of trails, rescue, events, and local community economic growth.

Moderator: Robert M. Searns, Owner of the Greenway Team and American Trails Board Member

Speaker: Nie Jian, General Manager, Mountain Journey (China) Co. Ltd., Beijing, China




Time: 1:15 – 3:15 p.m.


Data Leads to Everyone: Creating Web Maps for Engagement and GIS Application to the Trails Process

arrow View Charlynne Smith's presentation online.

arrow View Robert Chasan and Claire Miller's presentation online...

A trail system is comprised of networks of pathways, but also a network of partners.  Sharing information among partners and to the public is vital to trail management success and user enjoyment. Today many trail agencies have geospatial information system (GIS) data, but may not be using that information in ways to meet the needs of all partners. Whether you are mapping trail resources, creating maps for advocacy, understanding connections in your community, or engaging trail partners to gather data to share the story of your trail, web mapping applications offer the ability to inform, engage, and educate. This session will also explain the practical use of GIS technology for numerous applications– before, during, and after the actual trail is constructed. Demonstration of how to use technology for trail planning, purchasing department documents, pre/post trail construction, trail map production, emergency markers/public safety response, and subsequent trail maintenance activities following trail construction will also be included.

Speakers: Charlynne Smith, GIS Research Associate, North Carolina State University; Robert Chasan, Geographer/GIS Analyst, City of Scottsdale, Arizona; Claire Miller, McDowell Sonoran Preserve Coordinator


Healthy Partnerships Build Healthy Trails

arrow View the Conservation Corps Background presentation online...

arrow View the Southwest Conservation Corps presentation online...

arrow View the Mount Washington presentation online...


Strong partnerships are an essential ingredient in building a healthy trail system. Discover how to build these partnerships and keep them strong.  Examples will include how partnering with the National Conservation Corps can help you complete your trail projects and how Corps support youth and community development.  If you’re outside a Conservation Corps area, learn how creativity played a role in a community development corporation’s ability to build and maintain partnerships, competitively secure funding, and maximize the long-term benefits of the Emerald Trail Corps green jobs program.  Short presentations will be coupled with a facilitated group discussion to encourage participants to leverage the larger group’s knowledge to share their own partnership stories, discus challenges, solutions, and successes.  You will go home with concrete ideas for cultivating meaningful partnerships that last, refining those that aren’t currently working, and maybe even meet a new partner at the session!

Speakers: Ilyssa Manspeizer, Director, Park Development and Conservation, Mount Washington Community Development Corporation; Kathryn Hunninen, Manager, Park and Community Sustainability, Mount Washington Community Development Corporation; Rob Spath, Executive Director -  SW Conservation Corps – Sonoran Desert; Michael Swanberg, Project Coordinator -  SW Conservation Corps – Sonoran Desert; Russell Dickerson, Program Coordinator, Coconino Rural Environment Corps; Ben Thomas, Program Director, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps



arrow View the Jennifer Rigby and Erica Fielder presentation online...

arrow View the Kristin Lundstrom presentation online...

“Telling a Better Story” focuses on strategies for captivating your trail audience with provocative, well designed interpretive panels. Get practical advice for developing theme-based messages, establishing budgets, selecting images and design elements, understanding how visitors learn, writing interpretive text, and preparing files for production. Join us for discussions and case studies, and take away valuable tips and techniques to turn ordinary panels into extraordinary experiences. The Foothills Learning Center in Boise, Idaho developed a permanent interactive self-guided accessible “Story” trail for children and adults. Ten reading platforms feature different nature related stories that change monthly throughout the year.

Speakers: Jennifer Rigby, Director, The Acorn Group; Erica Fielder, Director, Erica Fielder Studio; Kristin Lundstrom, Environmental Educator/Volunteer Coordinator, City of Boise, Parks and Recreation


Destination Trails: Connecting People & Places to Bring Vitality to Communities

arrow View Destination Trails presentation online...

arrow View MN Mississippi River bikeway presentation online...

arrow View East Coast Greenway presentation online...

This session will explore the multitude of ways to connect people to trails and places with bikeways. By creating bikeways, trail advocates can generate faster progress on projects and make immediate impact on local communities by providing both tourism and active transportation opportunities. We’ll explore two initiatives that promote long distance trails as recreation, transportation, and tourism destinations– both received a final designation as a U.S. Bicycle Route. Linking trails and public places with both on-road and off-road accommodations to urban and suburban communities has proven to shift mode share and can be the impetus for developing bicycle friendly practices. In addition, “destination trails” provide economic vitality to the region. Learn from the experts of these trail initiatives how they view their individual efforts against the greater goal of a transportation system, how they solve challenges, and what tools they’ve developed to promote bicycle friendly developments in towns of all sizes.

Speakers: Ginny Sullivan, Director Travel Initiatives, Adventure Cycling Association; Eric Weis, Trails Program Coordinator, East Coast Greenway Alliance; Tim Mitchell, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager, Minnesota Department of Transportation


Empowering the Next Generation of Trail Stewards

arrow View Arizona Trails presentation online...

arrow View Student Conservation Association presentation online...

Join the Student Conservation Association and Arizona Trail Association for an inspiring workshop on various youth outreach initiatives that effectively empower the next generation of trail stewards. Urban trails are designed to provide recreation and transportation routes for communities. Learn how the Student Conservation Association has partnered with federal, state, and non-profit agencies in Washington, D.C. to engage community members in trail-stewardship activities while completing much-needed maintenance to heavily used trail networks. Rural communities are often the last to know about the resources in their own backyard. Learn how the Arizona Trail Association is engaging rural youth in the management of the Arizona National Scenic Trail through experience, education and internships.

Speakers: Matthew Nelson, Executive Director, Arizona Trail Association; Monique Dailey, D.C. Area Youth Programs Manager, Student Conservation Association




Time: 3:45 – 5:00 p.m.


Training and Resources for Building Better Trails

arrow View National Trails Training Partnership presentation online...

arrow View Trail Enginering Program presentation online...

arrow View Backpacking Class presentation online...

Better training and skills help build more sustainable trails, empower volunteers to be more effective, and help youth develop careers and confidence. This session will present educational opportunities, training providers, and a wide range of resources for trails and greenways. Efforts of the National Trails Training Partnership in promoting and coordinating training will be highlighted.

Speakers: Stuart Macdonald, Magazine and website editor, American Trails; Jerry L. Ricciardo, Ph.D., Recreation and Resources Development, Associate Professor, Recreation and Park Management, Eastern Michigan University


Traffic on the Trail: User Counts

arrow View Allison Jones' presentation online...

This presentation will focus on the key components of trail user count methodologies. Two case studies will be highlighted focusing on vehicle and pedestrian traffic counters in natural areas to track visitation and volunteer counts in metro areas. It will cover software, deployment, data management, troubleshooting, and equipment usage and installation.   

Speakers: Allison Jones, Trail Specialist— Biological Scientist II, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Jamie Rae Walker, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension


Building a Trail to Volunteer Management

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The purpose of the presentation is to provide participants with an overview and present results and tools to leverage land management staff resources by using volunteers to assist with motorized recreation issues- a case study in managing volunteers. The presentation will focus on the Arizona State Parks OHV Ambassador Program, a trained group of volunteers who inform the public about where to ride, how to ride safely, what rules and regulations must be followed, and who assists resource agencies to monitor and maintain trails. Participants will receive and review the Ambassador Program Handbook, sample agreements, and examine procedural tools used in planning, organizing, managing, and implementing projects. During a portion of the session, participants will work on next steps in forming a partnership with volunteers to meet mutual goals.

Speakers: Chris Gammage, OHV Ambassador Program Coordinator, BLM; Marge Dwyer, OHV Ambassador Program Administrator


Trail Heritage & History: Powerful Elements of The Complete Trail


Along with proper layout, maintenance, trailhead amenities, and orientation and navigation signage, the history and heritage of your trail is important for a variety of reasons. Knowing and sharing the history of your trail can both expand sources of funding for interpretation and events and invite a new set of users to your trail. Users become supporters. The Black Canyon National Recreational Trail just happens to be on the alignment of the old Black Canyon and BeaverheadGrief Hill Sheep Driveways. As the only sheep driveway still in operation in Arizona, it offers something else no other trail can. And the history of sheep in this desert environment has important connections to the state’s agricultural economy as well as several cultures.

Speakers: Kristine Komar, Principal, Double K Outfit; Stefanie Joy Muscat, Principal, BEVARA; Charles Pregler, Principal, Charles Pregler Associates



 arrow Download slides from this presentation... (pdf 10.3 mb)

This session will introduce the Jeju Olle Trail and the new possibilities that have grown from it. Following three World Trail Conferences coordinated by the Jeju Olle Foundation, held on the small, lovely island of Jeju - the World Trail Network was born. Learn about the participating organizations that have been working together to launch this new global movement. The mission is to help share the current issues and common values of trails in the world, to promote cooperation amongst trail advocates, and to establish the trail industry towards sustainable development. 

Speakers: Soo-jin Lee, Director of Visual Communication Department, member of World Trail Network Committee; Dr. Hui Jung, Board Member of the Korea Trails Association, member of World Trail Network Committee; Galeo Saintz, Rim of Africa Trail, Chairman of World Trail Network Committee




Time: 8:30 – 9:45 a.m.


Trail Design and Construction in Mozambique: Building a Trail Program for Transportation and Tourism in Gorongosa National Park


Designing trails and developing a trail program in and around a newly designated mountain unit of a famous Mozambican National Park recovering from 16 years of civil war will be the context for this presentation. Topics presented will be designing and building trails to meet the needs for tourism, rural farmers, and business people in Africa; leveraging community strengths in carrying out training in trail layout and construction; and the challenges and possibilities of sustainable trail building in a region looking to develop employment and business opportunities beyond subsistence agriculture. Two of the American members of the project team from the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, detailed to the U.S. Department of the Interior International Technical Assistance Program for the Gorongosa Restoration Project, will deliver the presentation.

Speakers: Jeff McCusker, Trail Manager, North Country National Scenic Trail, National Park Service; Don Kelly, Trail Foreman, San Juan National Forest, U.S. Forest Service


Research in Recreational Conflict: What it Teaches Us About Better Trail Design and Management

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The purpose of this presentation is to provide an easy to understand and practical overview of past and current research related to trail conflict in a way that enables trail professionals to improve trail design and trail management. This session will begin with a presentation that introduces a social science-based “behavioral approach” to help understand why trail users do what they do. It will then move into an overview of the research related to trail conflict with an emphasis on what things influence the types and levels of problems that can occur and what principles and practical guidance we can draw. Most importantly, the session will engage and involve those present in applying the principles and knowledge they have learned. We will do this by selecting several actual trail conflict situations the participants are facing in their home jurisdictions and working in small teams (hopefully including people in each team who participate in the trail activities in question) to develop integrated approaches to addressing those conflicts that could actually be implemented. Teams will report out on their proposed approaches and receive feedback from the full group.

Speakers: Roger L. Moore, Associate Professor, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University; Brendan Adams, Graduate Student, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University



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This session will provide case studies of five Canadian trails from across the country, each of which is an acknowledged leader in one particular field of trail development: tourism, transportation, environment, recreation, and health. For each trail, we will review the top three policy decisions that molded and directed their development, examine how and why these policies contributed to each trail’s achievements, and consider what new policies each believes are necessary to ensure their continued success.

In addition, we will conduct a similar examination of successful policy for the Trans Canada Trail which, at 23,000 kilometers, is the longest recreational trail development in the world.

Speaker: Michael Hayes, Director, TransActive Solutions


Enhancing Trail accessibility, Connectivity, and Outdoor Developed Areas with Modern Technologies

 arrow View San Antonio presentation online...

This program will provide an overview of the needs and processes surrounding assessments of trails and outdoor constructed features. A real world application will be presented and discussed that demonstrates how creek ways are being used to connect communities city-wide and how its trails system has been made more interesting and user friendly through the use of QR Codes and the High Efficiency Trails Assessment Process (HETAP).

Speakers: Brandon Ross, Special Projects Manager, City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department; Peter Axelson, Director of Research and Development, Beneficial Designs, Inc.; Nathan Tolbert, GIS Assessment Coordinator, Beneficial Designs, Inc.


Trails Unlimited (TU): “building bridges” an easier way of working with the U.S. Forest Service


How hard has it been to get a project completed with the Forest Service? TU has the experience and knowledge to walk you through the process.

Speaker: Jason Stinchfield, Executive Officer, U.S. Forest Service, Enterprise Program


Creating Trails and Bike Skills Parks in Urban Areas


The presentation will focus on creating trails and bike skills areas along greenways, pathways, and park space in an urban environment. The purpose is to bring the mountains and trails to the city and create areas where children and adults can attain the skills to become responsible and capable trail users.  This will create a healthier tomorrow and give people the confidence to become bike commuters and recreational cyclists thus reducing obesity and many of the associated health risks from being inactive.

Speaker: Judd de Vall, Principal, Alpine Bike Parks


Planning and Designing Cross Country Skiing and Winter Trails in an Era of Climate Change

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Cross country skiing includes an estimated 10.2 million participants, up from 3.5 million in 2007, making it one of the fastest growing trail-based activities. Other winter activities, such as snowshoeing and winter mountain biking, have also become popular in areas with reliable snow. As these activities become more popular, traditional locations have less predictable snowfall, emphasizing a need to re-think the planning, design, and management of Nordic skiing and winter-based trail systems. Based on examples from across the United States and internationally, this presentation will review fundamental trail design considerations for skiing and winter trails, with new techniques and approaches to address issues of warmer winters and less snowfall. These approaches include considerations of site location, trail width, surface, gradient and slope aspect (orientation), grooming equipment, snowmaking, and alternative surfaces. Additionally, the presentation will provide management approaches to diversify and provide financially stable trail-based winter activities, including both opportunities for competition and events as well as recreation, along with four-season use of trails.

Speaker: John Morton, Principal and Founder, Morton Trails


Something for Nothing, Something for Everyone ~ Introducing the Tri-Modal Leisure Corridor

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Some of America’s most exciting and interesting trail destinations are hidden in plain sight, unrecognized by the communities that they link, often with existing infrastructure. Tri-Modal Leisure Corridors (TMLC’s) combine roads (for cars) and rail, parallel non-motorized routes (for cyclists and hikers), and parallel navigable waterways (for paddlers) – something for all ages and all interests. Around Lake Michigan for example, the existing Lake Michigan Circle Tour, along with existing and proposed U.S. Bicycle Routes and the growing Lake Michigan National Recreation Water Trail, will combine to form a loop TMLC more than 1,000 miles long. Learn how to recognize, plan, and map your TMLC. 

Speakers: Dave Lemberg, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Western Michigan University; Virginia “Ginny” Sullivan, Director of Travel Initiatives, Adventure Cycling Association; James Lewis, Associate Professor, Department of Human Performance and Health Education, Western Michigan University


Have Trimble, Will Travel:  National Trails Inventory of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge System


In 2011 and 2012, the Student Conservation Association, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Federal Lands Highway, conducted a survey of all trails within the USFWS refuge system.  A total of 16 interns travelled the nation from Alaska to Puerto Rico to geo-locate trails, structures, and improvements, and to identify deficiencies within the trails system.  The resulting tabular, photographic, and digital data became part of the FWS maintenance database, and FHWA’s transportation assets inventory for Federal Land Management Agencies. This session will highlight programmatic structure, logistics, methods used to gather the data, the educational experience provided to interns in GPS use, GIS data processing, and the use of technology to assist in land management planning. Participants will have the opportunity to examine and work with both the GPS equipment and field “kit” utilized. Members will be on hand to discuss the impact of the program on their lives from the extensive travel to job-skills obtained.

Speaker: Alex Olsen, Program Manager, Student Conservation Association




Time: 10:15 – 11:30 a.m.


The Business of Trails ~ An Australian Example

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This workshop will showcase the Western Australian Munda Biddi Trail, a long distance bush cycling experience, as an example of a trail management business model, with a particular focus on financial sustainability. Additionally, an overview of international trail management business models will be provided and discussed.

Speaker: Kerstin Stender, Trails Coordinator and Student - Master in Tourism Management, Department of Environment and Conservation and Edith Cowan University


Developing Your Operations/Maintenance Manual


This presentation will lead managers through the process of designing and developing a useable operations and maintenance plan for their trails and/or parks. With audience participation we will outline the various maintenance responsibilities that need to be included in an operations manual. Armed with that material, we will enable participants to gain a thorough understanding of how to develop this for each aspect of their own operations and follow through with the completion of a manual after the symposium.

Speaker: Jim Schneider, President, Trail-Works


Black Canyon Trail: Linking Arizona Communities Past and Present

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arrow View Linda Slay's presentation online...


This presentation will show how the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail is evolving into a trail tourist destination through collaboration of government agencies, non-profit organizations, trail user groups, and communities. The desire is to encourage other trail managers and organizations to develop trail tourism in their areas as a way to provide healthy outdoor activities and a foundation for economic development.

Speakers: Bob Cothern, Board member, Volunteer Coordinator, Black Canyon Trail Coalition; Linda Slay, President, Black Canyon Trail Coalition; Troy Rarick, Founder/General Manager, Over the Edge Sports


A is for Access

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Access for people with disabilities has been a topic of increased interest over the past decade.  With the new guidelines regarding other power driven mobility devices, the topic has come to the forefront in many areas. However, there are groups who have been working with the disabled for years, and there are programs that have been designed to introduce the disabled or re-introduce our wounded veterans to trail systems that they can utilize without any special requirements. This presentation will showcase some of these programs. 

Speakers: Dan Kleen, President of the Board, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council; Karen Umphress, IT and Project Manager, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council


The NRT Program: National Recognition for Your Local Trail


The National Recreation Trail (NRT) Program recognizes existing trails that connect people to local resources and improve their quality of life. This session will provide a brief history and overview of the NRT program, as well as highlight the growing benefits available to trail managers. Program benefits include promotion, technical assistance, networking, and national recognition.

Speakers: Stuart Macdonald, Magazine and website editor, American Trails; Helen Scully, National Recreation Trails Coordinator, Department of the Interior; Lelia Mellen, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance, National Park Service


BLM year 2020 ~ A Clear Vision for Travel and Transportation Management, Planning, and Implementation

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This presentation will provide a status update on the BLM’s progress since the year 2000 (the year the BLM’s OHV Strategy was published, followed by the Mountain Bicycling Strategy) toward its goal of “Establishing a long-term, sustainable, multimodal transportation system for public access to and across BLM lands.”  A panel of two BLM experts will present information of policy, planning, and education related to travel management as well as highlight success stories from around the nation.

Speakers: William Gibson, Trails and Travel Management Coordinator, National Trails Lead, AZ, BLM; Tom Bickauskas, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Phoenix District BLM


Rails-With-Trails: The Latest Facts and Trends

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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has been conducting research over the past two years examining the safety issues of Rails-with-Trails (RWT). Based on the findings from a forthcoming RTC report, this session will provide a fresh statistical look at RWT and safety records from trails across the country.

Speakers: Patricia Tomes, Program Manager, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy; Eric Oberg, Manager of Trail Development, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy


Navigating MAP-21: “Maximize Federal Funding for your Trail”

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This session will begin with an overview of the new transportation law, MAP21, to heighten understanding of the new bill, programs, and opportunities for biking and walking trails. It will address why some communities use the full range of federal transportation funding programs for bicycling and walking instead of relying on a limited number of dedicated sources by: 1. Describing the requirements and opportunities of funding programs underutilized for bike/ped; 2. Showcasing best practices of advocates working with public agencies to institutionalize funding priorities for biking and walking; and 3. Introducing favorable factors for policy changes.

Speakers: Brighid O’Keane, Advocacy Advance Program Manager, Alliance for Biking and Walking; Darren Flusche, Policy Director, League of American Bicyclists



For more information


arrow View the complete schedule at a glance of all Symposium events

arrow Contact for sponsorships and exhibitors for the American Trails International Trails Symposium is Candace at or phone (530) 547-2060.

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