The newsletter of AMERICAN TRAILS -- SPRING 1998

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People in the news...

Rodger Schmitt is new BLM recreation manager

By Michelle Dawson, Bureau of Land Management

Rodger Schmitt has been appointed as the new Group Manager for the Bureau of Land Management's National Recreation Program. Schmitt oversees recreation, travel, tourism, and accessibility for persons with disabilities on 265 million acres of public lands in the 11 Western States and Alaska. He is also the first manager for the new national recreation group, which resulted from the October, 1996, reorganization of BLM's Headquarters Office.

"Rodger Schmitt brings a broad background and a depth of recreation and management experience to the job. His skills will serve the BLM well as we work with the Administration, Congress, the recreating public, local governments, and the recreation industry," said Maitland Sharpe, Assistant Director for Renewable Resources and Planning.

Schmitt has 26 years of professional natural resource management and outdoor recreation experience with various BLM positions and offices, including serving for the past 8 years as the Associate District Manager in Boise, Idaho. Earlier positions include Natural Resource Analyst in Washington, DC; Manager of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Las Vegas; and Senior Staff Member with the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors.

Schmitt spent most of his early life in California and received bachelors degrees from Humboldt State and Sacramento State universities. He is currently President of the National Society for Park Resources.

BLM starts bike program for senior citizens

The Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management, located along the eastern slope of Calif-ornia's Sierra Nevadas, has expanded their mountain bike youth program, Sierra Adventures, into an "active living" program for seniors. BLM has been using mountain bicycles as a tool to educate young people for several years. This year Dr. Rick Frey and other volunteers expanded the program to encourage older people to experience the outdoors in new ways.

Hiking to aid disabled children in remote China

In 1995 a group of Canadian hikers went to China, where in remote mountain villages they discovered thousands of children who had become hearing impaired due to the antibiotic Gentamycin. The hiking group offered help and today over a hundred of these children have benefitted from used hearing aid devices. To help raise funds, the Canadians sponsor day hikes and treks in the Yellow Mountains and along the Great Wall.

To learn more, call (800) 363-0745 or visit the Web site at:

The AnHui Provincial Ministry of Tourism in North America says that "Our office is in the process to introduce to the people of China: hiking as a healthy sport, and using volunteerism to build and maintain trails." The Ministry also promotes a project they call "Building Hiking Trails in China." To bring more expertise to their efforts, they encourage trails groups to exchange Web site links with them.

For more information, visit the Web site at:

April 1998 -- AMERICAN TRAILS --