Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
January 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








National Trails Symposium "Call for Presentations" will go out in February

Watch for news on submitting your great idea for a workshop or presentation at the National Trails Symposium to be held in Little Rock, AR, Nov. 15-18. We will be seeking presentations that introduce new ideas, provide case studies, convey useful strategies, relate success stories, identify lessons learned, and teach real skills. Presentations will take the form of General Sessions, Breakout Sessions, Mini-Workshops, Mobile Workshops, and Poster Sessions. For some ideas, see the Concurrent Sessions at the 2006 Symposium in the Quad Cities of IL and IA.

American Trails’ National Trails Awards Program: Deadline 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 download the nomination form.

Symposium Sponsors and Exhibitors: 20% discount deadline Jan. 31

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

  • 20% fee discount if we receive your contract by January 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.

Make your voice heard: Feb. 11-14 is Trails Advocacy Week

Trails Advocacy Week 2008 will focus on the national scenic and historic trails within the National Trails System and be co-hosted by American Hiking Society and the Partnership for the National Trails System.

March 12-14 will be the National Legislative Forum on Parks and Recreation sponsored by National Recreation and Park Association.

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.



Where Trails Lead: Our Heritage; By Stewart Udall, Former Secretary of Interior

In an editorial in the Albuquerque Journal, Mr. Udall writes "Eighty years ago, when I was a boy growing up on a ranch near St. Johns, Ariz., trails formed the contours of my world. Trails were the most practical way of getting around in those days. But they were also irresistible to me. I'd walk a trail just to see where it led. As we near the 40th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, I look out on a footpath that leads past my house into the mountains and think about the age-old pull of America's trails..." Read more...

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the National Trails System Act

The Natural Resources Council of America has joined with the Partnership for the National Trail System to help celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. An Awards Banquet will be held, Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at the Grand Hyatt Washington, 1100 H Street, NW, Washington D.C. The Reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by Dinner at 7:00 p.m.

1968 was a great year in conservation history. The award recipients include the Udall Family for their contributions to these key conservation victories, and a special tribute to the late Senator Gaylord Nelson, widely recognized as a founder of Earth Day, champion of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and longtime Counselor to The Wilderness Society. Tia Nelson will be accepting the award on Gaylord’s behalf.

Individual tickets are $125 each, a table of 10 is $1,250. Reservations can be made by filling out the registration form in the link below and emailing it to pilliodmp@aol.com or faxing the form to (202) 544-7992. Sponsorship levels and benefits will be posted on NRCA website. Questions? Call Bill Boteler at (202) 232-6531. Read more and access the registration form (450kb .doc file)…

Interview with Steve Elkinton, Program Leader for the National Trails System

Darren Smith: What are the major issues facing the National Trails System today?

Steve Elkinton: The major issues we face remain largely unchanged over the years. They include:

  • National recognition, especially approaching the System’s 40th anniversary in 2008 and 50th anniversary in 2018
  • Resource protection
  • Links to communities, states, parks, forests, public lands along the way
  • Educational opportunities
  • Tourism trends, confusion with other linear corridors
  • Interagency coordination


Photo contest winners announced for National Recreation Trails
See the winning pictures and nearly 200 great entries in the 2007 National Recreation Trails Photo Contest. Read more...

New website area features kids and trails

A new 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. See programs, training, education, activities, youth employment, and resources. Read more...

Water trails: good ideas and resources abound

A goal for 2008 for American Trails is to bring you more resources for water trails. Routes for people using canoes, kayaks, and similar boats are of growing interest across America, from the seacoasts to southern bayous to lakes and rivers in the heartland. Some new resource are Designing Signage Systems for Water Trails and Florida's Guidelines for Paddling Trail Development. Be sure to check out the 2008 Water Trails Conference to be held Sept. 16-18 in Port Townsend, WA, hosted by the Washington Water Trails Association.

Groups from across America commented on proposed accessible trail guidelines

120 agencies, organizations, and individuals commented on proposed guidelines for Federal outdoor developed areas for new or altered trails, beach routes, and picnic and camping areas. The comments are often technical in nature, but many remarks give an insight into the hopes and fears of trail managers on the accessible trails issue. Many of those who commented shared a few major concerns:

  • Outdoor Recreation Access Routes should only be required in developed recreation sites
  • Proposed guidelines include a definition for “alteration” that only applies to buildings, not trails, and needs to be clarified
  • Exceptions to the technical specifications for alteration and reconstruction of facilities must be clear and accurate
  • Guidelines must be reasonable and understandable to the organizations and volunteers who will help implement them
See more on Accessible Trails and read the comments on proposed guidelines.

Nominations for new National Recreation Trails are under review

The NRT Program recognizes trails that provide opportunities for all Americans to enjoy the out-of-doors and improve the quality of life of our communities. Each year nominations for designation of new National Recreation Trails may be submitted. In June 2008 we expect to post the news of the officially designated NRTs for 2008. See the list of 24 nominations received.

Read more articles, studies, and resources…


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 so 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...

We can help publicize your trails training and resources

If your organization or agency sponsors trail-related trainings or has other resources available, we'd like to encourage you to participate in the National Trails Training Partnership. The goal of this initiative is to make training and resources more available to trail managers, volunteers, agency staff, and non-profit groups across America. Read more...

Review: Recreational Horse Trails in Rural and Wildland Areas

All trails interests can learn from this new trail planning and design book. Author Gene Wood's theme is "We must search for a harmony between humans and our horses on one side and the land on the other." The three goals for trails are to be safe for users, ecologically sound, and economically sustainable. Read more...

Groups seek to identify and preserve traditional trail skills

An effort led by Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and Student Conservation Association seeks to address issues of attrition of skilled workers, lack of specialized equipment, and misinformation about the economic, effective, and safe use of traditional skills. 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.

  • Jan. 23-25: Texas Trails Network Statewide Conference - The Woodlands, TX
  • Feb. 2: Winter Trail Workshop - Middlefield, CT
  • Feb. 26-29: Missouri Parks & Recreation Association Conference - Lake Ozark, MO
  • March 5-7: National Bike Summit - Washington DC
  • March 9-10: The Art & Science of Trails - Reno, NV
  • March 9-10: Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) Workshop - Reno, NV
  • March 9-14: Professional Trailbuilders Association Conference - Reno, NV
  • March 10-11 and 14: Trailshaping: Generating Solutions Better, Faster, Smarter & Cheaper - Reno, NV
  • March 14: Sustainable OHV Trails: How to Design and Manage for Success - Reno, NV
  • March 26: Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer Course - Albuquerque, NM
  • March 26-28: NOHVCC Annual Off-Highway Vehicle Conference - Albuquerque, NM
  • March 28-30: Florida Trail Conference and Meeting - White Springs, FL
  • March 28-30: Pacific Crest Trail Association's Trail Fest - McClellan, CA
  • March 31: Trail Management: Plans, Projects and People - Marshall, CA

National Trails Training Partnership is your link to training and education

For resources in every state, the Online Training Calendar, details about many organizations and agencies that provide training for trails, skills and competencies, and more, visit www.TrailTraining.net.

To find more trainings, visit the Online Calendar.


Fall 2007 American Trails Magazine is online

Take a look at the Fall 2007 issue of the American Trails Magazine with its theme of "Trails for the future of good health for all Americans!" You'll find news, technology, projects, funding, legislation, and resources for trails and greenways. Every issue brings you new opinions, ideas, 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 printed copies of the 40-page full color magazine. Read more...

Guide to Sustainable Mountain Trails: Trail Assessment, Planning, and Design Sketchbook

Hugh Duffy's Sketchbook includes many successful tools and techniques for sustainable mountain trail projects that minimize impact to natural and cultural resources while providing great opportunities for trail users to be inspired and refreshed from a day on the trail. Read more...

Supporting BLM's National Landscape Conservation System

Striving toward permanence and recognition: BLM's National Landscape Conservation System. The BLM's Conservation System safeguards and unifies the best cultural, natural, and recreational resources. Read more...

Building successful interagency wilderness citizen stewardship programs

Components of and Barriers to Building Successful Interagency Wilderness Citizen Stewardship Programs: partnerships are all about relationships, and establishing and cultivating relationships take both time and dedication. Read more...

Engineered wood fiber surfaces improve accessibility

The Forest Products Laboratory, USDA Forest Service asks: What is the preferred playground safety surface material in the United States today? The answer is engineered wood fiber. Read more...

Design and Placement of Warning Signs on Improved Public Land

State of Hawaii Na Ala Hele Trail and Access Program provides legal definitions and standards for signs that limit public liability for trail-related hazards while warning users in a clear and consistent manner. Read more…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…


Send news and calendar items to trailhead@americantrails.org.

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Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
January 2008