Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
April 2008

American Trails is the World's largest online resource for planning, building, managing, and supporting trails and greenways.

Welcome to Trail Tracks, American Trails' e-newsletter. In each issue you can expect information on the latest news and issues in the trails world, as well as information on training, education, and new resources on the American Trails website.

In This Issue








Support increased funding for trails and recreation

The Administration’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009 includes a significant increase in the National Park Service budget (Centennial project), but a drastic cut in the RTCA Program (17%). Funding to recreation and trail-related programs in the USDA Forest Service (33%) and Bureau of Land Management (18%) is slashed. Please let Congress members know how you feel about these proposed cuts for trails and recreation in the Administration’s budget: Learn more and take action…

LWCF: Administration proposes to terminate the stateside program

The Administration has, once again, proposed to terminate the successful stateside Land and Water Conservation Assistance (LWCF) partnership program administered by the National Park Service which provides 50/50 matching grants to help communities acquire local and state parks and develop outdoor recreation resources. The Federal side of the LWCF is proposed to be cut by 68% (compared to FY 08 budget). Read more…

National Trails Symposium proposals for presentations are due April 18

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 theme: "Innovative Trails: Transforming the American Way of Life." We expect to offer 40 concurrent sessions, each lasting 75 minutes. Creating a poster is another opportunity, in a smaller-scale format, to share information about your project or issue with a wide audience. Read all the details...

American Trails’ National Trails Awards Program: deadline is May 31

Every two years American Trails presents the National Trails Awards to recognize the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, businesses, and other leaders who are working to create a national system of trails for all Americans. Two new awards will be presented at the 19th National Trails Symposium for Best Trails State Award and Community Service Award, among the 12 other categories. Nominations should cover accomplishments during the period of June 1, 2006 - May 31, 2008. The deadline for nominations is May 31, 2008. Click here for additional information or to download the nomination form.

Coalition for Recreational Trails Achievement Award: deadline is April 20

Another opportunity to recognize great trail projects is offered by the Coalition for Recreational Trails. These Annual Achievement Awards are for projects and state programs that use funds from the federal Recreational Trails Program. There are several categories of trail work and related projects. The deadline is April 20, 2008. See details of these awards and past recipients…

Symposium Sponsors and Exhibitors: Sign up now to choose your booth location in the order your contract is received

Reserve your space and submit your contract, with payment in full, as soon as possible to take advantage of these great incentives:

  • 10% fee discount if we receive your contract by July 31, 2008
  • Exhibitors get to choose their booth location in the order their contract is received (some exceptions apply)
  • Your web link goes on our sponsor page immediately

Join our many sponsors to network with the nationwide trails community and maximize your visibility and message. The 19th National Trails Symposium is the premier opportunity to display your state-of-the-art products and services, provide demonstrations, show off your projects and programs, and talk with the decision makers in your target market. Read more or download a sponsor packet.

Please help American Trails continue to provide you thousands of resources ~ Please join or make a donation today!

American Trails advocates on your behalf – for more funding and for keeping trails open. As a free service, we host and provide access to the world's largest online resource for planning, building, managing, enhancing, and supporting trails and greenways at www.AmericanTrails.org. We connect you to state-of-the-art trails training and provide information about trails throughout the country. We are making a difference!

To meet ever-increasing needs and support and further these efforts, we must expand our services. 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.

Please help us continue to serve you and the trails community by becoming a member or making a donation to American Trails today.



National Trails System celebrates 40th anniversary

October 2, 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of passage of the National Trails System Act. This Act opened the door to federal involvement in trails of all types, from city centers to the remote backcountry. To fully realize the promise of the National Trails System for public benefit we should dedicate ourselves to a “Decade for the National Trails” leading to the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System in 2018. Read more...

Celebrating local heroes— a message from the Chair

Every two years American Trails provides a unique opportunity to recognize the contributions of key trail activists in every state. At the National Trails Symposium in November we want to present awards to a Trail Worker and a Trail Advocate from your state. The deadline for nominations is May 31, 2008. Read more or download the nomination form.

Remembering Jessica Terrell, New Mexico trails program

Jessica Terrell staffed Missouri and New Mexico state trail programs. Jessica was New Mexico’s State Trails Coordinator and was honored to be a member of the team for the 2002 American Frontiers: A Public Lands Journey. Tragically, she was killed in a car accident on U.S. 550 in January. Jessica had been the State Trails Coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources in New Mexico since 2006. One of her main projects was developing the Rio Grande Trail. Prior to working in New Mexico, she held the same position in Missouri, where she had worked on the Katy Trail. She was an active environmentalist and supporter of public lands. Visit the Memorial Page for Jessica...

Little Rock trail bridge recognized with transportation award
A new Federal Highway Administration program to recognize and publicize transportation initiatives gave an award to the Pulaski County Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge (“Big Dam Bridge”). The construction of the trail bridge over the Murray Lock and Dam in the Little Rock area connects trails on both sides of the river. It is the longest bridge in the country built specifically for pedestrians and bicyclists. The bridge is one of the exciting projects that will be featured at the National Trails Symposium. Read more...

We’d like to thank new Patron Members of American Trails

The Patron Members of American Trails are key supporters of our efforts on behalf of trails for all Americans! We’d like to thank new Patron Members:

  • American Honda Motor Company, Inc.
  • CEI Engineering Associates, Inc.
  • Cross Alert Systems
  • DuraRoad USA, Inc.

Kids on trails: an antidote for “Nature Deficit Disorder”
By Roger Bell, Bellfree Contractors, Inc., and Vice-Chair, American Trails

Good trails might be viewed as close-by mobile classrooms, safe places for kids to explore nature and learn about their own neighborhoods. Or they might be distant places to encounter wilderness adventures. Trails can be places where kids can learn first hand about flora and fauna and the environment, but also places where they can learn about intelligent community design and places that need to be taken care of. They would study trail layout, erosion protection, construction methods, health benefits, recreation opportunities, smart growth, and community development. Read more...

Trails lead to “fit” community
By Randy Martin, Trailscape.net

If walking and biking are key components of an individual’s fitness regimen, the trails they walk and bike are major contributors to the “fitness” of an entire community. That’s the conclusion of a recent survey published in Self magazine. With the emphasis on health and fitness in today’s society, trails are becoming just as important as streets and sidewalks in our communities. Offering people a place to walk, run, or ride that encourages them to connect with nature is a valuable benefit that is relatively inexpensive to provide. Read more...

Waterfront Trail helps kids and families get outdoors
By David Arcus, Waterfront Trail

With growing concerns over childhood inactivity and its effects on health, the question increasingly arises— how do you encourage kids to get outside and get active? We’ve learned through a series of campaigns aimed at kids and families that the key to getting kids on to your trail is to develop clear information designed for families that makes getting to the trail and knowing what to do once there easy. The Waterfront Trail is a 680-kilometer multi-use trail, which follows the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in Ontario, Canada. Read more...

Meet Alaska’s newest National Recreation Trail
Teresa McPherson, BLM Anchorage Field Office

It’s a few minutes before 5 p.m. when I glance out my office window. I have maybe 45 minutes before the sun sinks behind spruce trees heavy with February snow. And that’s enough. I strap on snowshoes and hop a shortcut behind my office building that connects to the Campbell Tract Loop Trail. The loop is a pleasant 3.4 miles, and connects effortlessly with nine additional miles of Bureau of Land Management trails, as well as to an even larger network of municipal and state park pathways. Read more…

Trail Tracks Editorial: Trails, rivers, and global warming
By Roger Bell, Bellfree Contractors, Inc., and Vice-Chair, American Trails

Maybe it seems too difficult for us, too fraught with potential controversy, or too much of a stretch for us to connect as a community with these larger environmental problems. But I believe not. Trail use is a way of reducing reliance upon the automobile, contributing to reductions in greenhouse gases, and encouraging healthy lifestyles by more walking and bicycling for transportation and recreation. We need to widen our vision and see how trails could be a dimension of the fight against global warming and otherwise deepen our environmental and health awareness. Read more...

Read more articles, studies, and resources…


American Trails offers workshops you can sponsor

We are expanding key elements of the National Trails Training Partnership to better serve the needs of the nationwide trails community, both motorized and nonmotorized. We are working with the State Trails Programs to help bring more training and expertise directly to them. In support of the Recreational Trails Program goals to help local trail managers build better and more cost-effective trails, American Trails is making several workshops available to local or state sponsors. Read more…

Your New Year's resolution: learn new skills

The National Trails Training Partnership wants you to join the movement for better skills and better trails. In 2008 there are many great opportunities for people to get involved in education in the trails and greenways field. All across the country you can find classes, conferences, and seminars for every aspect of trail work. From fundraising and organizational building to design and interpretation, there is a course that will help you. Read more...

Planning and design of off-highway vehicle trails

Marshall University is offering its online OHV course May 14-June 24, 2008. Both Undergraduate and Graduate Credit is offered (three semester hours). The online course is designed to guide students through the process of planning, designing, and construction of off-highway vehicle trails utilizing state-of-the art procedures and technology. For details and links to registration…

National Center on Accessibility offers new online accessibility training opportunity

The National Center on Accessibility has developed a one-hour e-course as an introduction to the principles of Universal Design for park and recreation practitioners. This free course is offered through the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands online learning site.

Course description: Universal design refers to the creation of structures and programs that can be used by all people. This course provides an introduction to the concept of Universal Design and its seven principles. In addition, the course presents the history, principles, and progress of Universal Design as it applies to the designer, programmer, and the consumer. To learn more about the e-course, and the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands learning site, go to www.parktraining.org.

Mobile Skills Crew supports Ice Age Trail volunteers

The Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation program provides tools, equipment, and training to teach volunteers project organization, safety-first strategies, and technical trail building concepts. Goals and actions are provided in detail. Read more...

State and national conferences are great training opportunities

Here are some great 2008 educational events with workshops and seminars on important trails and greenways topics. See the Online Training Calendar for details.

  • April 15-17: Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) training - Wakulla Springs State Park, FL (by invitation only)
  • April 17-19: Montana State Trails Conference - Missoula, MT
  • April 24-27: Student Conservation Association - Washington, DC
  • April 25-27: Statewide Outdoor Education Conference - Malibu, CA
  • April 28-May 1: Universal Approach to Interpretive Planning, Programs and Design - Bloomington, IN
  • May 8-11: Historic Trails Workshop - Phoenix, AZ
  • May 13-15: National Association of Recreation Resource Planners Conference - Missoula, MT
  • May 15-18: Hike, Bike and Walk Conference 2008 - Stateline, Lake Tahoe, NV
  • May 16-18: Trails Training Conference - Galena Creek Park, NV
  • May 20-22: Designing the Parks, Part 1: The History of Park Planning and Design - Charlottesville, VA
  • May 22-25: New Mexico Crew Leader Training - Golden, CO
  • May 29-31: California Trails and Greenways Conference - San Diego, CA
  • June 7: National Trails Day 2008 - Sponsored by American Hiking Society
  • June 9-13: Great Outdoors Week - Washington, DC
  • June 11-15: International Snowmobile Congress - Boise, ID
  • June 14: National Get Outdoors Day - Everywhere across America
  • June 18-21: IMBA World Summit - Park City, Utah

Check out the online training calendar for more trainings throughout the year…

National Trails Training Partnership: your link to training and education

If your organization or agency sponsors trail-related trainings or has other resources available, we'd like to encourage you to share your information with the nationwide trails community. Help us make training and resources more available to trail managers, volunteers, agency staff, and nonprofit groups across America. Read more...


Spring 2008 American Trails Magazine is online

Take a look at the Spring 2008 issue of the American Trails Magazine with its theme of "On the trail— connecting youth with the outdoors." You'll find news, technology, projects, funding, legislation, and resources for trails and greenways. Every issue brings you new opinions, ideas, and accessible trail solutions, and more. Our advertisers present the latest in trail technology, products, and services. Join American Trails to support our work for trails for all Americans and all the resources we provide to help you do your work better. Please help support American Trails – make a donation today! When you join, you will receive a printed copy of the 40-page full color magazine. Read more...

Updated NRT Database helps you find America’s great trails

The National Recreation Trails database has been improved to make it easier to search over 1,000 trails across America. The search page has been replaced with two different pages: a simple form for quick searches, and an advanced form with more search criteria. Several of the search fields have also been revised to make finding a trail easier. The “Trail Details” page now will automatically format the page for easy printing. A new “Featured NRT” link for many of the trails will take you to an article and photos on the American Trails Website. There’s even a new help page if you need assistance getting started. Access the National Recreation Trails database

Accessible trail construction at Lake Tahoe park

A new photo essay in our “Cool Trail Solutions” area shows clearing, rock work, and trail construction to make the Lighthouse Trail a natural surface accessible route. D.L. Bliss State Park is in the Emerald Bay area of Lake Tahoe. Members of California Conservation Corps are doing the work under contract with California State Parks. See the photos...

Design for trail system provides wildlife viewing while preserving habitat

The semi-arid landscape of the American southwest is home to a very special natural and ephemeral resource: the playa, a lake that dries up over the hot summer but provides critical habitat for wildlife. A new trail system in Texas keeps birding and habitat observation as primary objectives, while jogging and hiking are encouraged. Read more...

Trail Access Information signs provide visitors with better trail details

Craters of the Moon National Monument in Arco, Idaho provides all visitors, including those with disabilities, with Trail Access Information in a variety of formats. They were awarded the National Park Service National Design Project Achievement Award (Exhibits and Waysides) back in 2002 for their efforts in providing this information. Read more...

Learn more about connecting youth with the outdoors


The new Kids and Trails area on the American Trails website highlights ways that trails and greenways can help young people be fit and have fun. Many organizations and agencies, including American Trails, are working to combat increasing childhood obesity. View programs, training, education, activities, youth employment, and resources. Read more...

New USFS Trail Bridge Catalog

New resource to help select bridge types, decks, rails, abutments, and materials. Read more…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…



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Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
April 2008