Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
December 2009

Welcome to Trail Tracks, American Trails' e-Newsletter, with links to the world's most comprehensive online source for planning, designing, building, funding, managing, enhancing, and supporting trails and greenways.

You’ll also find links to articles from our new American Trails Magazine. Our theme for this issue is “Trails Without Borders:” ways that trails and greenways break down barriers, cut through boundaries, and lead us beyond the familiar.

In This Issue

ACTION ALERTS

WHAT'S HOT

FEATURES

TRAINING & EDUCATION

NEW RESOURCES

QUICK LINKS


ACTION ALERTS

Last chance to read and comment on proposed Accessibility Guidelines

The U.S. Access Board has posted for 60 days of public review their “Draft Final Outdoor Areas Accessibility Guidelines” for trails on federal lands, plus campgrounds, picnic areas, etc. The deadline for comment is December 18, 2009. Learn more and provide your own comment…

View Access Board WEBINAR on the Draft Final Guildelines for Trails

The U.S. Access Board hosted an "Understanding the Draft Final Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas" (including Trails) WEBINAR on December 3, 2009. The WEBINAR will be available to view online at your convenience in the near future. We will provide a link to the primary page we created for this issue. Click here to access the WEBINAR…

New bill would fully fund Land & Water Conservation program

A new bill in Congress (S. 2747) would provide $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The legislation would provide $450 million annually to states and local communities for trails, parks, and outdoor recreation facilities. An additional $450 million would fund land protection and conservation on federal lands, forests, refuges, etc. Read more...

Share your great photos of National Recreation Trails

The annual contest is open to photos of any designated National Recreation Trail. We're looking for good photos of trail users as well as special facilities, art on the trails, management issues, construction, and volunteers. We also want to see entries that cover the many types and uses of National Recreation Trails throughout America. But hurry, the deadline is December 15, 2009. It’s easy to enter your photos; learn how…

December 15 is deadline for entering American Trails Website Contest

American Trails continues our annual contest to seek out the best websites in the cyberworld of trails and greenways. Awards will be made in a variety of categories to recognize websites of all sizes, types, and interests. We are looking for sites that really make trails come alive, and provide effective information delivery, support volunteers, and engage the public. It’s easy to nominate your favorite trail-related website…

Exhibit at the American Trails National Symposium - save 20% before December 15 deadline

Sign up now to get your choice of location in the exhibit hall as an exhibitor at the 2010 American Trails National Symposium in Chattanooga, TN November 14-17. Exhibitors can save 20% off booth fees if we receive your contract by December 15. Join our many sponsors to network with the nationwide trails community and maximize your visibility and message. This is a premier opportunity to display your state-of-the-art products and services to the nationwide trails community. Learn more and download the exhibitor contract…

Learn how you can support trail funding and programs

Get the facts on current issues and debates and the ongoing efforts of American Trails to continue its 20 years of support for positive policies and funding for trails and greenways. You can keep up to date with bills in Congress, the status of trails and transportation funding, federal budgets, new agency policies, and much more. Visit the American Trails advocacy page…

Give the gift of a membership to American Trails this holiday season!

Introduce a friend to American Trails while you help us advocate for trails and greenways of every kind. 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. We’ll connect your friend or relative to state-of-the-art trails information for trails throughout America. Please help us continue to serve you and the trails community by enlisting a new member or renewing your own membership today. Give the gift that makes a difference: an American Trails membership…

Healthy People 2020 ~ Deadline to provide comment is December 31st

Help make a healthier nation! This was the message from Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Rear Admiral Penelope Slade-Sawyer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services who attended the Federal Interagency Trails Council meeting on December 2nd. She recognized that trails are a part of the solution and invited the trails community to provide comment on the proposed objectives for Healthy People 2020. Comments will be accepted through December 31, 2009. Click here to learn more and to comment…

 

WHAT'S HOT

Hot off the press: Read the Fall issue of the American Trails Magazine online now!

The American Trails Magazine, now in digital format, brings you timely, state-of-the-art information on all aspects of trails and greenways. We cover news, legislation, action items, trainings, success stories, events, people making a difference, creative funding ideas, the latest resources, information on products and services you need, and much more! The theme of this issue is "Trails Without Borders." Read the Fall issue now…

View great pictures entered in 2009 National Recreation Trails Photo Contest

American Trails sponsors an annual contest for photographs of designated National Recreation Trails across the country. Our annual contest provides awards in several categories and shows off entries (and previous winners) on the NRT website. The goal is to highlight the diversity of the NRTs and to make more Americans familiar with these great trails. See dozens of great photos…

A glowing pink trail bridge draws thousands for Breast Cancer Awareness

The Sundial Bridge on the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, California was illuminated in pink light on October 15 for the 13th annual Think Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Day. See photos and read more…

Trail counts show annual increases in use of San Jose, CA trail system

The City of San Jose’s Trail Count 2009 shows city trail usage up by 9.6% in both bike and pedestrian traffic with the highest increase found on the Guadalupe River Trail at Coleman Avenue. The Trail Count, the third annual survey of city trail users, was conducted on Wednesday, September 23, 2009. The Count provides data to support further development of an integrated trail network. Read more…

Walkway over the Hudson may be world’s longest trail bridge

A rails to trails project to convert the railroad bridge between Poughkeepsie and Highland, NY is America’s newest designated National Recreation Trail. The Walkway opened October 3, 2009 at the Hudson State Historic Park. An estimated 40,000 people took part in the opening weekend. The cost of engineering, approaches, and new concrete surfacing for bikers and pedestrians was about $38.5 million (less than the estimated cost to demolish it). Read more and see photos…

Holiday shopping: Books and merchandise on the American Trails Online Store

Purchase books, merchandise, and memberships through the American Trails Online Store. You’ll find a variety of publications as well as great gift ideas. Visit the Online Store today…

 

FEATURES

Partnership enables Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway to cross Indian Reservation land

Twenty-six miles of the Bikeway route runs through the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation along the Truckee River. It is an inaccessible and unspoiled section of river that most non-tribal members have never seen. The partnership between the Tribe and the Bikeway has created a new way of visiting the Reservation and seeing this remote part of the river for the first time— by bike. Read more…

Sharing our love of dirt: Trail building in the Philippines

Tony Boone writes “I feel fairly safe in saying that those of us involved in the trail industry are happier with our lives than many Americans. Whether we are professional trail builders, trail advocates, volunteers, trail users, or a combination of all of these, our quality of life is more frequently enlivened by the presence of great outdoor recreation than our pursuit of the almighty dollar.” Read more…

Advocates in Taiwan work for accessible parks and trails

Chao-Fu Hsu and Ming-De Chen write “The rights of people with disabilities to participate in leisure and recreation have been overlooked in Taiwan. Taiwan Access for All Association has worked with environmental protection, ecological, and social welfare organizations for the past five years. Together, their goal is to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in outdoor recreational activities.” Read more…

Working together works: Equestrians and motorcyclists join forces

Karen Umphress writes “This area would not be such a success if either the equestrians or the trail bike riders believed that non-motorized and motorized recreationists could not get along or work together. This is where the success of this area began, a bunch of people who love to be in the great outdoors working together to make a great trail system.” Read more…

A bridge for the Happy Valley spans a Tibetan gorge

Bian Chulin writes “On the way to Kyirong, our story begins with the KyiPu Bridge. Simply put, a Foundation was set up and engaged to undertake the formidable task of crossing the raging whitewater in the river, surrounded by steep cliffs and precipices. Under the local villagers’ and the Foundation’s joint efforts, however, they made a miracle.” Read more…

Creating a great future for trails: Visualize, engage, and collaborate

Bob Searns writes “As my thoughts flowed with the trail, I pondered the economic as well as environmental distress that has gripped our world. There seem to be three big concerns facing us. First, with jobs and businesses disappearing, I wondered if amenities like wilderness, greenways, and trails could be cast aside as superfluous.” Read more…

Connecting the Dots: Trails – the Green Way for America

Roger Bell writes “Put it this way: being a foot soldier in the green revolution may be, without exaggeration, our new job and it could not be more crucial to insuring our quality of life and ultimately even to our planetary survival. In our green ways, we can truly make a difference!” Read more…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…

 

TRAINING & EDUCATION

Learn about proposed Accessibility Guidelines for trails on federal lands

The new Guidelines contain a number of changes from previous versions which should be noted. The original report of the RegNeg Committee struck a balance between requiring full accessibility while recognizing the difficulties of construction in the natural environment. Trail designers, contractors, and managers should read the Guidelines to see how compliance could affect planning, cost-effective construction, and maintenance requirements while improving trail accessibility. The Access Board will be providing clarification on some of the issues and concerns that have been raised, and those comments will be added to the page we created that notes these issues. Read more…

In addition, the U.S. Access Board hosted an "Understanding the Draft Final Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas" (including Trails) WEBINAR on December 3, 2009. The WEBINAR will be available to view online at your convenience in the near future and should provide clarification on many of the concerns that have been expressed. Read more…

American Trails National Symposium: Your top training opportunity in 2010

Dozens of speakers and keynote presenters will join us from the trails community across America, November 14-17, 2010. The Symposium addresses both non-motorized and motorized issues and our vision for trails and greenways nationwide. The theme is “Trails: The Green Way for America,” highlighting the benefit of trails to America’s economy and environment. Read more…

Training partnership leverages Department of Labor funding

A new job skills training program may be of interest to trails advocates. The Jefferson County Workforce Development Center, a program of the Colorado State Department of Labor & Employment, joined forces with Colorado State Parks and Chinook Associates to develop the skills training. Read more…

National Trails Training Partnership: Your link to training and education

The National Trails Training Partnership is an effort by trails advocates to improve opportunities for training for the nationwide trails community. The vision of the Partnership is "to ensure that the full range of skills, training, and resource information is available to trail groups, communities, tribal governments, and State and Federal agencies." See more resources for training and education…

Find classes and conferences for learning new skills in 2010

A wide variety of training is available in 2010 for volunteers and professionals working to develop trails of all kinds. American Trails is working with agencies and organizations across America to promote trail-related training.  See details on these and many more 2010 opportunities for training on trails and greenways topics in the Online Training Calendar.

  • January 26-29, 2010 — NCA Training Course: Retrofitting for Accessibility: Lake Mead, NV
  • January 29-30, 2010 — 2010 Iowa Bicycle Summit: Des Moines, IA
  • February 3-6, 2010 — Texas Trails Network 2010 Conference: Austin, TX
  • February 7-10, 2010 — Annual Youth & Conservation Corps Forum: Washington, DC
  • February 9-11, 2010 — Active Living Research Annual Conference: San Diego, CA

 

NEW RESOURCES

Accessible trails: Photo gallery of surfacing options and examples

"Firm and stable" are the two words for accessible trail surfaces. The "Draft Final Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas" addresses trails and other outdoor recreation routes under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). These proposed guidelines for what constitutes an accessible trail for ABA purposes "requires the surface of accessible trails to be firm and stable." See photos and project examples…

Red Mountain Park in Birmingham converts mining site to trails and open space

Mining roads and railbeds will be the foundation for a new trail system in Birmingham, Alabama's new urban park. Since mining operations ceased 50 years ago the landscape has regenerated with native flora and fauna as well as a number of invasive species. Volunteers are helping with construction of a new set of trails connecting historic sites. Read more…

Complete Streets provide all the elements of multi-modal transportation

Streets without safe places to walk, bicycle, and catch a bus put people at risk. Close to 5,000 pedestrians and bicyclists die each year on U.S. roads, and more than 70,000 are injured. Read more…

A resolution calling for rails WITH trails in Virginia

The Virginia Bicycling Federation, along with 25 national, state, and local organizations has endorsed a resolution asking Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine to support rails with trails along all major rail projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Read more…

Lake Ontario Greenway Strategy creates a vision for the region’s future

The Lake Ontario waterfront is a significant provincial resource, which has provided generations of people with a place to live, food sources, transportation routes, drinking water, recreation, and more. However, it has suffered over the years from the pressures of human activities. Read more…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…

 

QUICK LINKS

 

Send news and calendar items to trailhead@americantrails.org.
 
Header Photo:
Tunnel Hill State National Recreation Trail
Johnson County, southernmost Illinois
Photo by Jonathan Voelz

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Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
December 2009