The newsletter of AMERICAN TRAILS -- NEW YEARS 1998

return to TrailTracks New Years '98 index -- back to Trail Tracks directory

*** People and trails in the news ***

Cancer survivor is crossing continent by dogsled

Diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 27 with no guarantee of a cure, and a year of chemotherapy to go through, Wendy Smith thought she had lost her future forever. Now at 35, with several years of active life behind her, Wendy wants to share a positive picture of cancer survival, using the medium of a great adventure to bring hope to many.

Wendy is leading the Dog Trek 97-98 Expedition to cross the North American continent, from Maine to Nome, Alaska, in one epic winter journey by dog team. She intends to raise funds through the trip for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in Britain, and for both the Canadian and American Cancer Societies. She also hopes to focus attention on the wonders of successful medical treatment, and help others realize that the greatest weapon against cancer is a positive will to survive.

Wendy started the 6,000 mile journey in November heading through the relatively more populated areas with plenty of support and supply opportunities. As of December 10th she had reached Herbertville, Quebec. As her dogs gain strength and the days grow longer again, she'll be heading into the wilderness in the heart of winter.

Follow Wendy Smith's journey on the Internet at:

Some Amish approve in-line skating

The Amish communities of the upper midwest are well-known for their focus on religion and tradition in the midst of a permissive world. One would think that gaudy in-line skates would never be allowed along with plain dress and horse-drawn buggies. However, around one-third of all Amish settlements have "tacitly" approved in-line skating; cars and bicycles are banned, in part because they let members travel too far from the community.

The 150,000 or so Amish live in 230 settlements in 22 states and Canada, and hundreds of young Amish use the skates to run errands and play hockey. Holmes County, Ohio leads in the number of Amish, with Lancaster, Pennsylvania, second.

Tread Lightly! leaves a good impression

"Protecting the great outdoors through education" is Tread Lightly!'s mission, and "Impressions" was the theme of its seventh annual conference. Staff unveiled a new corporate identity tag and logo, and a new project with water recreation. "Personal watercraft are being banned across the nation," said Executive Director Lori McNeely, "Tread Lightly! wants to reverse this trend and educate people about the importance of responsible and safe water recreation." Other projects include the "Restoration for Recreation" program, a Consumer Awareness Campaign, and Graphic Standards Manual.

Contact Tread Lightly!, 298 24th St., Ste. 325, Ogden UT 84401; Phone (800) 966-9900;

Robert Stanton to head National Park Service

Robert G. Stanton was sworn in as the Director of the National Park Service (NPS) on August 4, 1997. As Director, Stanton will have policy and administrative responsibility for the 375 units in the National Park System, visited by 265 million visitors each year and operated on an annual budget of about $1.6 billion.

Before retiring in January 1997, Stanton served eight years as NPS' Regional Director of the National Capital Region in Washington, DC. He began his federal career as a seasonal park ranger at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, during the summers of 1962-63. He took a full-time position with NPS in 1966, as a personnel and public information specialist. In 1994 Stanton received the National Council of Negro Women's Distinguished Service Award; in 1993 the Presidential Distinguished Senior Executive Rank Award; and in 1987 the Interior Department's Distinguished Service Award.

Tom Ross in new NPS job

D. Thomas Ross is very familiar to trails advocates for his long service with the National Park Service. He is the new Assistant Director for Recreation and Conservation and the Program Manager for the National Center for Recreation and Conservation in Washington D.C. Over the last several years, Tom served as the Program Manager for the Trails and Greenway Programs. He has worked at the national level for more than 17 years in a variety of leadership roles in recreation and conservation programs.

In his new job, Tom is responsibile for the Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program, Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance Program, Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program, National Trails Program, Long Distance Trails Program, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, Heritage Areas, Park Practice Program, and Federal Lands-to-Parks Program.

In his spare time, Tom is Chairman of the City of Fairfax, Virginia, Planning Commission. He also enjoys bicycling, swimming, jogging and hiking. American Trails wishes him all the best and we're pleased that he'll continue to help the trails community in his new position. Congratulations, Tom!