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National Trails Awards for 2004

Photo of Deb Schnack
Deb Schnack, winner of the 2004 Lifetime Service Award

LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD for 2004

Deb Schnack, retired director of the Planning and Development Division of the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources for demonstrating longstanding, significant, and exemplary service to trail planning, implementation and recreation in the State of Missouri.

Deb Schnack's license plate says it all: "WeHike." Deb Schnack and her husband indeed hike. But not only does Deb hike, her 32 years working for Missouri Department of Natural Resources Division of State Parks have made it possible for hundreds of thousands of Missouri Citizens and tourists to also hike. Her career accomplishments are extensive and her lifetime of service as the State Trail Coordinator for nearly 28 years and as director of the Missouri Planning and Development Division resulted in 575 miles of developed trails in the state of Missouri.

One of Deb's most significant accomplishments has been her work on the Ozark Trail. The Ozark Trail is a long distance multi-use trail planned to traverse the Missouri Ozarks from St. Louis to the Arkansas border. Deb served as the Ozark Trail Coordinator. While in that role, she facilitated bi-annual meetings of trail land managers, promoted the Ozark Trail concept around the State, created trail maps, recruited trail volunteers, organized major trail workdays and publicity events and acted as the official record keeper for any and all trail-related issues.

Photo of Deb Schnack along mountain trail
Deb Schnack in her natural habitat

Another highlight in Deb's career was her involvement in planning and developing Missouri's premier Katy Trail Park. The Katy Trail is a 225-mile long rail-trail that stretches from St. Charles in the eastern part of the state to Clinton in the western part. This trail is the longest developed rail trail project in the nation.

As a Park Naturalist, Deb has helped expose people to the wonders and beauty of Missouri's trails; as a Park Superintendent, she ensured her park's trails were well designed and maintained; and as director of the division's Planning and Development Program she has been able to coordinate additional resources for trails and has been able to hire and train a new State Trail Coordinator.

The Lifetime Service Award is "For an individual demonstrating longstanding, significant, and exemplary service to trails planning, implementation, and recreation." The National Trails Awards are presented by American Trails to recognize 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.

See National Trails Award Winners from 2006, 2002, and 2000.

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