American Trails' 21st National Trails Awards Program honors people and programs at the 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium. The awards celebration was held at Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona, April 16, 2013.
This award is given to a partnership that has benefited agencies or services within the field of trail planning, design, or implementation and has contributed toward a positive public exposure for these fields.
Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, REI, Chipotle Mexican Grill
Wheel barrow brigade during a Ridge Trail Service Day
The Ridge Trail Service Day is a collaboration of dozens of organizations, including numerous land managers and non-profit trail organizations, and 2 major corporate partners, REI and Chipotle Mexican Grill, with smaller levels of participation from Whole Foods and Peets Coffee & Tea.
The goals of the REI – Ridge Trail Service Day are to:
When complete, the Bay Area Ridge Trail will be a 550+ mile hiking and riding trail on the ridgelines circling San Francisco Bay, with 340 miles now open. For rhe Service Day we organize volunteer projects on the Trail throughout the nine-county Bay Area. The Council works with land-manager agency partners to determine appropriate project locations on the Ridge Trail, and coordinates the projects with REI.
Each Bay Area REI store partners with a local park agency to host 1 or 2 projects on a nearby section of the Trail, and helps promote the Service Day. The Council recruits enough volunteers to achieve park partner goals at each location, and to pick up and deliver lunch. Park agencies provide tools and supervising staff, with assistance and volunteers from various non-profit trail organizations. Chipotle Mexican Grill donates lunch to fuel hard-working volunteers; their support is essential to the “trail work party” atmosphere of the Service Day. In 2010 there were 14 project locations, 2011 had 12, while 2012 boasted a record 16 volunteer sites.
Volunteers finishing up the new trail
All goals were achieved. In just these three years, over 1600 volunteers, from age 10 to age 80, donated 7100+ hours, built new trail and restored dozens of miles of trail. Volunteer accomplishments ranged from basic trail maintenance of improving trail tread and drainage, and pruning overgrowth, to much more technical tasks, including finishing a stone wall at a trailside backpacking camp, protecting wet areas of trail with rock armoring, puncheons, causeways and French drains, restoring habitat and riparian corridors near the Trail, removing truckloads of non-native plants and litter, repairing trail and trailhead facilities such as fencing and kiosks, and installing or replacing trail signage.
Ridge Trail Council volunteers and park agency staff presented to each volunteer group about their respective organizations and additional trail stewardship opportunities with them. The REI – Ridge Trail Service Day is coordinated by the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and sponsored by REI, with major support from Chipotle Mexican Grill.
The following organizations were also critical to the success of the Service Days:
Public Park and Land Manager Agency Partners
The Presidio Trust
Marin County Parks and Open Space
Sonoma County Regional Parks
Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District
City of Benicia
East Bay Municipal Utility District
East Bay Regional Park District
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority
City of San Francisc
City of San Jose
Santa Clara County Parks
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
San Mateo County Department of Parks
City of San Francisco
California State Parks
National Park Service/Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
Non-profit Trail organization Partners:
Bay Area Ridge Trail Council
Volunteers for Outdoor California
Sonoma County Trails Council
Skyline Wilderness Park Association
Napa Trail Alliance
East Bay Trail Dogs
Marin County Bicycle Coalition
Chipotle Mexican Grill
[With additional support from Whole Foods and Peets Coffee & Tea]
For more information: