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National Trails Training Partnership: American Trails to play key role in training program

The National Trail Training Partnership is a new forum of diverse trail organizations and agencies whose goal is to improve opportunities for training for the nationwide trails community. The group has explored ways to enhance cooperation on training efforts, and has studied target audiences, topics, existing training programs, delivery methods, and special needs. A three-year action plan was established which includes:

The initial meeting last September in Arizona included American Trails, the American Motorcyclist Association, Back Country Horsemen of America, International Mountain Bicycling Association, American Hiking Society, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, and Rails to Trails Conservancy. Represented agencies included the USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Highway Administration, and Arizona State Parks.

Several specific outcomes were detailed:

Outcome 1: Trail Training Needs

Forum participants identified and grouped training needs common to the organizations and agencies after reviewing an interagency needs assessment and the current education efforts of the organizations and agencies present.

Outcome 2: Coordination and Cooperation

Participants agreed that they do have common training interests and that the coordination of efforts would benefit everyone. The desired results of collaboration are "Trails that meet the public's needs and desires while addressing environmental, economic, and social considerations." The group identified issues and conditions that have discouraged the coordination of efforts in the past, what could get in the way in the future and what possible solutions to consider.

Outcome 3: Models for Collaboration

Participants reviewed examples of organizational models which could be applied or modified to meet the training collaboration needs of agencies and organizations. The group identified characteristics that a future collaborative structure would need to include.

Outcome 4: Work Plan

Participants discussed many possible actions or steps that could be taken in the next year and beyond to begin coordinating common training interests. From this list of possible actions the group made commitments to a series of next steps to take during the coming year and beyond. Time lines and persons to act as the "Convening Leadership" were identified.

Outcome 5: MOU for Action

To strengthen the coordinating efforts of all agencies and organizations involved, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed by all participants. The MOU will include the list of participants involved, the background and authorities giving rise to the MOU, the purpose and scope of work anticipated in the understanding, the guiding principles of this collaborative training effort and the next step commitments established for the coming year.

American Trails has taken a very active role in the Trail Training Partnership. As American Trails works for the benefit of all trail users and works in partnership with all trail-managing agencies, the Trails Training Partnership unanimously determined the American Trails web site would be the ideal location for hosting this new database of trails training opportunities.

You can learn all about the National Trails Training Partnership and access a calendar of trails training opportunities on the website at Click on "Resources & Library" and select "`National Trails Training Partnership." When the training database is developed, it will also be available at this web location.

To add calendar items, send them to the American Trails web master, Stuart Macdonald at:


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