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Training and education

Good training programs help make the case for trails

If trails are going to be a gateway to better health and communities, they are no longer incidental, but critical to our society and way of life. But how do we increase their visibility? At a recent meeting of the National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP), we listened to Dave Larsen describe how ten years ago there was little cohesiveness among National Park Service interpretive programs. Through a careful process interpreters developed a structure of competencies and certification to professionalize their career track. Having no common vision or standards (like trails today) hurt their credibility and ability to obtain funds.

The National Trails Training Partnership is working to promote just such a common vision. While it would be unproductive to try standardizing trail training across the country, we have much to learn from each other. NTTP draws strength from the diversity of its members— Federal and State land management agencies, nonprofit outdoor recreation groups, and trail contractors and consultants. This vast experience in different conditions has brought a lot of new ideas, and perhaps more important, better communication of trails skills [see the in-depth reviews of two fine new trail design books on pages 30-31].

Our goal is to make training for trails and greenways more available, and to help both staff and volunteers plan, design, enhance, build, interpret, protect, and maintain trails and greenways for all Americans. We hope you'll join us!

Lend your support to the National Trails Training Partnership! Just send us information about your organization and any education or other resources you provide. See for details.

Universal Trail Assessment Process looks at trail data

Another important training program promoted by NTTP is the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP). The UTAP is an inventory process that provides objective information about trail conditions (e.g. grade, cross slope, width). This data can be used by land managers to enhance the safety and enjoyment of trail users (by providing accurate, objective information about the on-trail conditions), monitor environmental impact of the trail, prepare budgets, develop maintenance and construction plans, and identify potential access barriers.

The two-day UTAP Coordinator Workshop will be offered by Beneficial Designs, Inc. October 20-21, 2004 at the National Trails Symposium. A related course in UTAP Data Management Software teaches how to enter and analyze data, and create and use reports.

Find the right trails training on the online NTTP calendar

Looking for a class or workshop for trails and greenways skills? Find what you need on the most comprehensive calendar on the Web for trail-related training and education. Hosted by, the calendar can also be accessed from We're eager to promote your trails training opportunities of every kind on our online calendar. Please add us to your mailing list and we'll help publicize your events.

Tell us about your training opportunities!

Call American Trails at (530) 547-2060 or email

The National Trails Training Partnership
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797(530) 605-4395Fax: (530)

The National Trails Training Partnership is an alliance of Federal agencies, training providers, nationwide supporters, and providers of products and services. Visit the online calendar of training opportunities, access hundreds of trail-related resources, read the news, learn how you can help, and see training resources in your state.

This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Highway Administration under Cooperative Agreement DTFH61-06-H-00023. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Federal Highway Administration.

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