Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
August 2009

American Trails is the World's most comprehensive online go-to source for planning, designing, building, funding, managing, enhancing, 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.

Special thanks to the sponsor of this issue:
MaxiForce Traffic Control Bollards

In This Issue








Visit our online Business Directory that connects funded ARRA projects with vendors!

With a variety of funded projects being announced, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is your connection to finding the best vendors to help with those projects. Please support these businesses that are supporting American Trails ~ visit our online Business Directory!

Thanks to the following advertisers:
Arrowhead Trails
Asphalt Systems
Bellfree Contractors
Beneficial Designs
Biological Mediation Systems
Donald Hays Trail Contractor
E.T. Techtonics
IPM Docks & Boardwalks
Loris and Associates
MaxiForce Traffic Control Bollards
Morton Trails
Pannier Graphics
Professional Trailbuilders Association
Rhino Marking & Protection Systems
Stabilizer Solutions
The Greenway Team
TrafficGuard Direct
Trail Food Express

View our Advertising Packet to see how your company can be listed in the American Trails Business Directory.

American Trails wants your opinion! Take our online web survey!

We invite you to take a few minutes to complete our anonymous surveys. We have a survey dedicated to the trail USER and one dedicated to the trail PROFESSIONAL. If you fall under both categories, we invite you to take both surveys. Each will only take 5-10 minutes of your time. Your responses will help guide us in better serving the needs of America's trails community and ensuring a brighter future for trails and greenways.

To access the surveys, please go to

To thank you for your time, you will have a chance to be entered in a drawing to win an America the Beautiful Annual Pass to National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands (one winner per survey).

Congressional support needed for Recreational Trails Program

As a member of the Coalition for Recreational Trails, American Trails urges communities and organizations across America to express their support for the Recreational Trails Program. Letters will be sent on an ongoing basis to Congress members and key members of the Administration. Learn more...

Learn how you can support trail funding and programs

Learn more about the complex issues of funding and policies as Congress grapples with transportation, public lands, health, and outdoor recreation. Please join our efforts to document the value of trails and bicycle/pedestrian facilities as transportation infrastructure, and be an active and positive voice in current issues such as the transportation authorization process, agency budgets, and economic stimulus funding. Learn more...

Will trails be funded in the next federal transportation bill?

Both Congress and the Obama Administration are considering proposals for the next authorization of federal transportation funding. The new Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009 has been introduced by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, while the Administration favors an 18-month transitional bill to patch the soon-to-be insolvent Highway Trust Fund. Meanwhile, there are no funds attached to trails funding programs. Read more...

Complete America’s Great Trails Act would encourage easements

The Complete America’s Great Trails Act would provide a tax credit to private landowners who grant conservation easements to National Scenic Trails. Private landowners would have a new incentive to allow trail users to pass through their property, and establish a guaranteed corridor that protects the continuity of the trails. Read more...

Ask your Senator to co-sponsor the Safe Routes to School Reauthorization Bill

On May 21, 2009, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Susan Collins (R-ME) joined together to introduce the Safe Routes to School Program Reauthorization Act (S. 1156).

S. 1156 would expand funding for SRTS to $600 million per year, include high schools, simplify regulatory compliance to improve project delivery, and strengthen research and evaluation. All of these changes will make SRTS grants more widely available, and help more schools and communities across the country make it safer for children to walk and bicycle to school and get into healthier, greener habits. Read more…

Share your great photos of National Recreation Trails

American Trails is sponsoring the 2009 contest for photographs of 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. The deadline for entries is December 15, 2009. Read more...

Join American Trails and help us bring you news, resources, and training

American Trails advocates for trails and greenways of every kind throughout America. 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. As a free service, we host and provide access to the World's most comprehensive online go-to source for planning, designing, building, funding, managing, enhancing, and supporting trails and greenways at We connect you to state-of-the-art trails training and provide information about trails throughout the country. We are making a difference!

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


WHAT'S HOT and American Trails expand partnership

trails.comJoin American Trails and receive a 40% discounted rate (dropping the price to just $29.99) on an annual unlimited subscription for access to over 45,000 trails on (Once you join or renew, American Trails will provide you a special link to join at the discounted rate.)

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

The American Trails Magazine, now in digital format, will continue to meet your needs for 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 "America’s youth, America’s trails." Read the summer issue now…

Shovels in the ground for recovery: ARRA funding for youth and conservation corps

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is providing major funding for youth and conservation corps for work on public lands. Corps have made excellent partners for this funding because the purpose of the Recovery Act is both to restore America’s infrastructure and employ its people. This is an opportunity to let young men and women experience the rewards and hard work that come from maintaining, restoring, and improving our natural heritage. Read more...

Agencies plan trail projects with economic recovery funds

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was created to add $787.2 billion to the economy with an emphasis on job creation and major infrastructure projects. The bill includes expenditures for trails, parks, and public lands under local, state, and federal management. Funding opportunities for park and recreation agencies include various competitive grant programs, federal budgets, and community development block grant programs. Read current ARRA spending news...

Professional Trailbuilders stand ready to bid on your ARRA-funded jobs!

Professional Trailbuilders are experts in trail planning, design, construction, design/build, maintenance, training, and consulting work with all government, nonprofit, and private entities. PTBA’s member contractors are the largest group of trail contractors in North America, yet each contractor acts independently and in competition with others. Like contractors in other fields, most of PTBA contractors have specialties. You can use the Expertise table to find contractors by their areas of expertise or specialty. You can also search by Location, although most of their members will travel across the state, the nation, or even the world. And if you’re looking for a particular contractor, you can find them in PTBA's Alphabetical Member List.

Visit the PTBA website to learn more about the organization and to solicit a bid for your next project.

2009 awards announced by Coalition for Recreational Trails

The Coalition for Recreational Trails has announced the winners of its tenth "Annual Achievement Awards" in recognition of outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds. The award winners were recognized on June 10, 2009 at the U.S. House of Representatives during the annual celebration for Great Outdoors Week. Seven trail projects and two State programs have been chosen to receive the awards. American Trails creates webpages for the winners each year. See details and photos of the projects...

Tom Tidwell will serve as new Chief for the U.S. Forest Service

Mr. Tidwell was previously regional forester for the Northern Region, which includes more than 25 million acres of public land in Montana, Idaho, and North Dakota. Prior to that job, Tidwell had been deputy regional forester in the Pacific Southwest Region. Read an interview with the new USFS chief...

National Parks waive entrance fees August 15-16

Many visitors to America’s national parks enjoyed free entrance on June 20 and 21 and July 18 and 19. In addition to those fee-free weekends, you will also be able to enjoy the park for free during the weekend of August 15 and 16.

These "fee free" weekends were established by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to encourage Americans seeking affordable vacations to visit our national treasures. "During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families. I encourage everyone to visit one of our nation’s crown jewels this summer and especially to take advantage of the three free-admission weekends. National Parks also serve as powerful economic engines for local communities and we hope that promoting visitation will give a small shot in the arm to businesses in the area," he said. Click here to find parks in your state…



New York State's Erie Canalway Trail brings new life to communities

Building and managing a 350-mile trail with multiple owners is not easy, but it can be done. At times the challenges seem daunting and the pace of progress can be discouraging. But with perseverance and growing public support, the Erie Canalway Trail will bring renewed attention and economic revitalization to this historic corridor and serve as the spine of an expanding trail network throughout the state. Read more and see photos...

New National Recreation Trails designated for 2009

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar designated 22 trails in 13 states as newly recognized National Recreation Trails. Each of the new trails received a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Salazar, and NRT trail markers. These trails join a network of more than 1,050 designated NRTs. American Trails is proud to host the National Recreation Trails website and to help more people know about these great trails. Read more...

Tourism benefits encourage closing the trail links in Florida

North Florida has remained more rural than the rest of the state. Now the idea is doubly to represent the region for its recreational and touring beauty. Visitors drawn to rural places for such enjoyment, such as the route of the East Coast Greenway, easily respond to the priorities of conservation and culture. Read more...

“A” in ATV means "Access" for many Americans

When you hear an off-highway vehicle in the backcountry, consider that it might be that person’s only way to experience real outdoor recreation. It might also be giving that person a chance to feel like a normal person. And pause to consider how you will get into the woods in 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years from now. It just might be that in a few years you, too, will be responsibly riding an off-highway vehicle to enjoy the life in nature around you. Read more…

Conservation Corps and Transportation: Making the Connection

This new publication by American Trails Webmaster Stuart Macdonald is a "Guide to Transportation Funding Programs for Service and Conservation Corps." Case studies from several states explain how local Corps can help land managers accomplish their missions. Young people across America are eager to work, and funding is available to get projects started. Read more...

Read more articles, studies, and resources…



Don't miss the Missouri Trail Summit, October 7-9 in Springfield!

Celebrating its’ sixth year with the Missouri Parks & Recreation Association the Missouri Trail Summit is headed to Springfield October 7-9, 2009. See, feel, and experience area trails. Although budgets might be thin, don’t let that stop you. Educational sessions will receive CEU’s and this will be a great opportunity to learn all that is possible with limited travel dollars and not leaving the state. Current session and registration information available at the MPRA website:

Hybrid contracting blends training with trail project work

Hybrid contracting is an intriguing model for effective use of professional contractors in conjunction with other trail project labor— volunteers, youth corps, and staff trail crews. See how partnering with trail contractors can extend resources…

Corps provide trail training opportunities for young people

According to The Corps Network, "The visible benefits of youth and conservation corps are their projects and the work they accomplish. But Corps also help young people become more confident, contributing members of society through training and work experience. While all Corps are different, the basic responsibility to youth development as well as the community is standard." Read more...

Guidelines for accessible outdoor recreation and rights-of-way

The Access Board in Washington, DC approved the text of final guidelines for Federal outdoor developed areas and for accessible public rights-of-ways. The Board will proceed with the remaining steps that must be completed before these guidelines can be published. Read more...

Upcoming classes and conferences for trail education

See details on these and many more 2009 opportunities for training on trails and greenways topics in the Online Training Calendar.


  • Aug. 19-21 — Safe Routes to School Conference: Portland, OR
  • Aug. 20-23 — IMBA Trailbuilding School: Cañon City, CO
  • Aug. 23-26 — 2009 National Scenic Byways Conference: Denver, CO
  • Aug. 27-30 — IMBA Trailbuilding School: Bozeman, MT
  • Aug. 27-30 — IMBA Trailbuilding School: Long Island, NY
  • Sept. 9-11 — Riparian Habitat Restoration course: San Diego, CA
  • Sept. 10-13 — IMBA Trailbuilding School: Bremerton, WA
  • Sept. 12 — AMC Basic Maintenance Skills Training: White Mtns, NH
  • Sept. 18-22 — American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting: Chicago, IL
  • Sept. 27-29 — Pennsylvania Greenways & Trails Summit: Altoona, PA
  • Oct. 5-9 — Trail Management: Plans, Projects and People: Shepherdstown, WV
  • Oct. 7-9 — Missouri Trail Summit: Springfield, MO
  • Oct. 7-9 — International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities: New York City, NY
  • Oct. 13-16 — NRPA Congress & Exposition: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Oct. 25-28 — Mid America Trails and Greenways Conference: Kalamazoo, MI
  • Oct. 27-30 — Trail Master Training Course: Commerce, GA
  • Oct. 29-30 — First Southeastern Water Trails Forum: Chattanooga, TN


  • Nov. 14-17, 2010: 20th American Trails National Symposium – Chattanooga, Tennessee - Read more...

Training workshops available for local sponsorship from American Trails

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...

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...

Trail Design Specialists sponsors fall trail skills courses

Mike Riter and Trail Design Specialists offer a series of trail training courses this fall ranging from one day to one week. The Trail Master Training course is a four day certification that delves extensively into the latest techniques for trail design and layout, construction, and maintenance on natural surface trails. See the schedule and how to register...



Sharing Our Trails: A Guide to Trail Safety and Enjoyment

A group of national and state trail advocacy organizations representing equestrian, OHV, and bicycle interests recently completed a collaborative effort to develop a new guide called "Sharing Our Trails: A Guide to Trail Safety and Enjoyment." The purpose of the guide is to improve safety and improve trail satisfaction for all trail enthusiasts on multiple-use trails. Read the guidelines and download the publication…

Accessibility Guidebook on Outdoor Recreation and Trails

One good resource for interpreting what are the “best practices” available for building accessible trails is the Accessibility Guidebook on Outdoor Recreation and Trails. This USDA Forest Service guide describes integrating accessibility in the outdoor recreation environment while maintaining the natural settings. Read more...

Complete Streets provide all elements of multi-modal transportation

Complete Streets are about creating a true multi-modal transportation network. Complete Streets are designed and operated so they are safe, comfortable, and convenient for all users— pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Read more...

Partner with a Corps in five steps

While Corps serve as a training ground for young men and women, the work completed by Corps is high-quality and can be basic or more complex. Some Corps projects maintain existing trails, while others complete new trail construction, technical rock work, and GIS mapping. Service and Conservation Corps easily fit with many organizations’ mission. So how can an organization partner with a Corps? Read the guide...

TIGER grants can benefit trail and greenway projects

The Recovery Act appropriated $1.5 billion of discretionary grant funds to be awarded by the Department of Transportation for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure, including "Grants for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery" or "TIGER Discretionary Grants." Livability improvements may include projects for new or improved biking and walking infrastructure. Learn more...

Green Communities and Sustainability in Southeast Michigan

Since 2001, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, through the GreenWays Initiative and its funding partners, public and private, has invested over $100 million in greenways design, planning, and construction. The GreenWays Initiative also hosted a series of educational programs and conversations about the economic benefits of greenways, healthy lifestyles, and community outreach. Those programs asked citizens about what constitutes healthy, vibrant communities— green communities. Read more...

Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children

A policy statement from the Committee on Environmental Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics: Many communities are working to make their communities more walkable and bikeable and to make these activities more accessible and safe. These efforts provide timely research opportunities to examine the effects of built environment changes on children’s physical activity. However, the path from inactivity to activity is complex. Read more...

Read more articles, studies, and resources…




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Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
August 2009