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American Trails presents "A World of Trails: The International Trails Movement" as a part of the American Trails "Advancing Trails Webinar Series"



A World of Trails: The International Trails Movement

American Trails presented this Webinar on May 24, 2018. Presented by a panel of internationally based trails experts, this webinar provides an introduction to how trails are benefiting and reshaping landscapes across the planet.




The presenters are:

Read more and learn about the presenters...



Learning Credits and CEUs


American Trails is now proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

Learning credits are included in the registration fee. Our webinars earn the following credits: AICP CM (1.5) LA CES (1.5), and NRPA CEU equivalency petition (0.10).


Offering Multi-Lingual Closed Captioning: We will offer closed captioning for this webinar, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. In honor of the presenters, we will automatically be offering closed captioning in the following languages: English, Greek, Korean, and Portuguese. If you require any closed captioning or need another language, please email in advance of the webinar.



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As many of us focus on what is going on at home, we don’t we often don’t look beyond our

borders to see what others are doing. Did you know about the Jeju Olle Trail in Korea? The Rim of Africa in South Africa? The Atlantic Forest Trail in Brazil? The Kumano Kodo in Japan? The Lebanon Mountain Trail? Or a major trails movement in China? There is a lot going on out there! Worldwide, the trails movement is flowering with amazing projects, innovations, and destinations.

Learn about how trails are benefiting and reshaping landscapes across the planet. Hear about activities emerging across the continents promoting: greater access to trails; environmental, landscape, and cultural preservation; economic development and tourism; health and fitness benefits, spiritual pilgrimages; and trails planning, design, and community organizing innovation. This webinar will enable each of us to look beyond our own boundaries to see an amazing world of trails.


Learning objectives:

The panellists will include the leading experts from four continents.





Presenters for the Webinar:




Galeo Saintz, South Africa (Chair, World Trails Network and Founder, Rim of Africa Rim of Africa) is a conservation adventurer, professional speaker and mountain wilderness guide. A founding member of numerous conservation NGOs including the mountain trail initiative Rim of Africa and the biodiversity corridor initiative Eden to Addo in South Africa. Galeo is founding Chair of the World Trails Network, an international initiative championing the international trails industry and promoting the world’s leading trails and trail destinations. In his conservation work he is Co-Chair of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Theme on Environment and Peace.


photo of stu


Julie Jung has been the Manager of the Global Communication Team for South Korea’s Jeju Olle Foundation since 2010. She has been responsible for promoting international Friendship Trails, co-marketing projects and cooperating with national and international trail networking organizations. Julie initiated and coordinated the World Trails Conferences from 2010 to 2015. She helped found, and serves on the secretariat of, The Asia Trails Network, since 2014.


Fivos Tsaravopoulos works through his Social Co-operative Enterprise “Paths of Greece“, since 2010, to actively foster the implementation of walking trails across all of Greece. He has developed and promoted, several path networks on the islands of Kythera, Serifos, Sifnos, Patmos, Kefalonia, as well as in Athens, the Peloponnese, Drama, Prespa Lakes, and elsewhere. He has advised on trail projects internationally including a major trail project in China. Several of Paths of Greece projects have introduced innovative ideas and have generated articles in the domestic and international press. Fivos is Treasurer at the World Trails Network.


photo of a Margie


Anna Carolina Lobo is the Marine and Atlantic Rainforest Program Coordinator of WWF-Brazil. She has lengthy experience with public use management of Protected Areas with governmental and private entities.  She has co-authored and coordinated numerous articles and books on natural protected areas public use and helped shape sustainability and tourism plans for Sao Paulo State and Brazil’s National Parks. She has been being working with WWF Brazil to address protected areas from a mosaic landscape/seascape perspective, aligning sustainable use and fostering conservation efforts, as a tool to promote sustainable development.



Robert Searns, specializes in greenways and trails with a four-decade, award-winning record helping communities visualize concepts, win support and get projects built.  He co-authored Greenways (Island Press—U.S. and China) and contributed to Greenways: The Beginning of an International Movement (Elsevier Press). He has written articles for American TrailsPlanning, Landscape Architecture and LA China Magazines. He has been a trainer for the U.S. National Park Service, the Urban Land Institute and the American Planning Association. Bob is Chair Emeritus of American Trails.







A World of Trails- The International Trails Movement  
May 24, 2018

Scott asks: I understand there is an international greenway movement. How does the concept or “brand” of greenways differ from the vision of “trails” according to the World Trails Movement? Do the two compete?

Bob Searns--There are many similarities though greenways are typically, ore urban in character and many are paved accommodating bicycles, skaters as well as pedestrians (Though this is not always the case). The WTN has more of a focus on walking/trekking routes. A does not pursue motorized trail activities. The advocacy in the two areas is mostly complementary and the participants share overlapping goals. There are also international single track biking organizations as well as equestrian groups. A goal in all these areas is to work together and to also pursue design and management strategies to minimize conflict of uses especially between those on foot and those on bikes.

Vicky asks: It seems that there is an emphasis on walking/hiking trails in the mission of the World Trails effort. Where do other uses such as single track biking, equestrian, and motorized trail use fit into the picture?

Bob Searns-- See above and I restate the goals of working cooperatively but the emphasis of the WTN on walking and trekking and working to avoid conflicts of uses.

Tyler asks: What are the biggest implementation challenges?

Bob Searns--Securing rights of way, getting local jurisdictions to cooperate and integrate systems, addressing both construction and management/maintenance costs. All of these can be done in a win-win manner but this takes the development of effective facilitation and communication skills.
Casey asks: What are the most successful strategies for engaging volunteers?
Bob Searns-- A key to volunteerism engagement is specific volunteer project identification, promotion and coordination. Many agencies have volunteer programs to recruit, train and supply volunteer projects. Seek them out and arrange partnerships. A great example is the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado in the U.S.  In the planning process identify projects that lend themselves to volunteer engagement. Reach out to groups and organizations such as youth, seniors, military, military vets, companies. etc. Over the years we have has significant success engaging volunteers tough assembling leadership and resource organizational structure is essential to the process.
Tom asks: What works well for engaging private landowners? What about public land managers?
Bob Searns--Include public process in the planning stage. Identify the landowners and where able reach out individually to them. Be well organized, proactive, receptive to viewpoints and persistent.  Build alliances with support groups. Market the project publically though the media. ("Ask six times" and six more if need be."

Robert asks: Why is WWF embarking on a long distance trail project?
Bob Searns--This is more for Carol to answer but in general, I can say that creating an inspiring trail can engage the public in the appreciating the value of a corridor. This helps built a constituency to preserve corridors. Key is sound trail planning that is sensitive to preserving the ecological values of a corridor.
Rita asks: What are the major strategies to link outdoor recreation and conservation?
Bob Searns--Engage and inspire more people in outdoor trail activity on trails planned and designed with conservation in mind. Per above answer, engagement can build a constituency for conservation and scenic preservation.  i.e the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in the U.S.  looks at promoting stewardship of the landscapes along the trail.

Hannah Blake asks: I was pleased to hear so much about economic development. Could any of the presenters share a few "best practices" for business development and job creation? Has research been done, for example, on programs that provide the greatest number of jobs and wealth creation? Great presentations!

Bob Searns--There are a number of studies in the U.S. that relate trails to economic development showing a positive relationship. Many of these examples can be found at the American Trails Website. Regarding best practices, I can only speak anecdotally and suggest the trail planning consider and specifically list and include recommendations with respect to  the kinds of spin offs such as: outfitter and guide services, real estate development, health and fitness, restaurants and lodging and related that the trail can promote. For example we are planning a trail in Denver that will run along the very edge of the Metro Area, in the planning we are looking to route the trail through communities with access to places to eat and sleep and design the system to be readily accessible by transit and trail systems from neighborhoods to promote more uses and health and fitness benefits by engagement in trekking the trail. See for the report.  RS

Sheila Boudreau Gransaull asks: Trails are a great opportunity for increasing ecological literacy, for example, we could construct green infrastructure like bio swales to learn from along the pathway, with educational signage. Do you know of any examples where this kind of approach was undertaken?

Bob Searns-- The Mary Carter Greenway that runs along the South Platte River near Denver has some good examples of this including wetland conservation, innovative dam designs that promote aquatic creature migration, a preserved floodplain park, wildlife view blinds and other amenities.



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