Section 508 Navigation
American Trails graphic Skip Navigation
HomeAbout usTrailsWhat's hotCalendarTrainingResources & libraryPartnersJoin usStore

National Trals Awards for 2002

The National Trails Awards Program is one way American Trails recognizes the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, and other leaders who are working to create a national system of trails for all Americans. The Awards are made possible by the National Trails Symposium Sponsors. The awards were announced at the 16th National Trails Symposium in Orlando, Florida, November 10-13, 2002. See the award winners from 2010 - 2008 - 2006 - 2004 2000

Lifetime Service | Partnership |Trails Public Service | Outstanding Media | Trails and the Arts | Planning/Design | Corporate | State-of-the-Art Technology | Outstanding Trail Sharing | Trail Advocacy | Trail Worker

LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD - Jim Kern, Founding President, Florida Trail Association
An individual demonstrating longstanding, significant and exemplary service to trails planning, implementation, and recreation.

Nominated by Deborah Stewart-Kent, President of Florida Trail Association. Jim Kern, a real estate broker, nature photographer, and hiking enthusiast from from Miami, Florida, became fed up with "driving all the way to North Carolina to hike the wilderness, " simply because there were no hiking trails in Florida. Kern started on a walk in 1966 that took him from the 40-mile bend on the
Tamiami Trail (a road that crosses the Everglades from Miami to Naples) up to Highlands Hammock State Park near Sebring. This was done to dramatize the lack of footpaths in the state. It took Kern 12 days to complete the 160-mile trek. Jim then took it upon himself to create the Florida Trail Association in 1996, and became its first president. Today the Florida Trail Association has approximately 5,000 members.

Jim has gone on to be very active in trail advocacy. In 1977 he became founding president of the American Hiking Society, a watchdog organization for hikers and hiking trails. Based in Washington D.C. they now have 4,000 members and 300 affiliate clubs. In 1980-81 he was the director of HikaNation, an organized trek from Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to Cape Henlopen, Deleware, a distance 4,400 miles. A cadre of dedicated hikers made this trek in 14 months. Jim Kern planned and executed the event.

In 1998 Jim became the founding publisher of American Hiker Magazine. The American Hiking Society had wanted a magazine of its own and Ken brought the magazine into reality, then turned it over to AHS. In 1990 Jim organized and became president of Big City Mountaineers, which was organized to provide disadvantaged inner city teens with high adventure backpacking trips in the Rockies. Then, in 1998, Jim founded and became president of Hiker’s Grand Slam. a group organized to identify the very best four-to-seven day hiking trips.

The partnership must have benefited agencies or services within the field of trail planning, design, or implementation. The partnership can be between private organizations, public agencies, or public and private interests. The partnership must have contributed toward positive public exposure for the field of trail planning, design, or implementation.

David Mensing is the primary person responsible for taking the concept of the American Frontiers: A Public Lands Journey and turning it into a reality. His undaunted efforts brought on partners and sponsors to make TheTrek happen. Two teams completed this journey, They began on July 31, 2002, at the Mexican and Canadian borders. Each team trekked 1,600 miles, all on public lands,
meeting in Central Utah on September 28th, 2002. All along the way they met with public land users, school groups and students in the classroom, highlighting the value of public lands to the American people. Without David Mensing’s hard work, this once in a lifetime event would still be just a dream. Nominated by Roger Schmitt, National Recreation Group Manager BLM.

Nominee(s) ) must work for an agency and may hold an elected or appointed office at the federal, state, or local level and must have demonstrated significant and consistent support of trail planning, design, or implementation through strong leadership and/or legislative efforts. The nominee(s) may be paid employees or volunteers.

Christopher Douwes has had an outstanding positive impact on trails programs throughout the United States. He is the only person to hold the position of Recreational Trails Program Manager, since its inception in 1990. He has been an effective leader, helping all 50 states develop their own trails and greenways programs within an appropriate state agency. Christopher has made RTP a creative element, instead of just another incomprehensible federal mandate. He exemplifies the kind of public servant who believes that making the program work effectively is its first task, thereby supporting the efforts of thousands of others in the trails community. Nominated by Stuart Macdonald, Chair, National Association of State Trails Administration

Nominee(s) must have demonstrated significant and sustained efforts to provide positive public exposure and education in the field of trail use, planning, design, or implementation. The nominee must have demonstrated a willingness and receptiveness to provide free public service exposure about trails.

The STAR-BANNER, a local newspaper, has been a long time supporter of Greenways and Trails in Central Florida. With their generous coverage of events of any size, trails enthusiasts have come from all around to hike, bike, paddle, or travel our area by horseback. By keeping the community informed, they have generated much support for the entire greenways and trails program. Nominated by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Greenways and Trails

TRAILS AND THE ARTS AWARD Leroy Irwin, Robert Crim, & Mariano Berrios
The award recognizes outstanding public art projects, interpretive signs, or other creative structures associated with trail related improvements.

Since its groundbreaking in July of 1999, The Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway Land Bridge has generated curiosity and excitement. Its concept is based on the wildlife overpasses used in the Netherlands. To support the designed to support the extra weight of the fieldstone wall, tons of topsoil, shrubs and trees. This bridge allows hikers, cyclists, equestrians, and wildlife to safely cross I-75 where it bisects the Cross Florida Greenway. It connects approximately 15 miles of hiking trails, 56 miles of equestrian trails, and 40 miles of biking trails. Nominated by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Greenways & Trails

PLANNING/DESIGN AWARD Blackstone River Bikeway, Providence, Rhode Island,
to the Massachusetts State Line

Nominee(s) must have demonstrated problem solving through innovative methods on a trail project. The project must have included successful aspects of public participation and/or public agency involvement and have been planned to enhance the recreational trails opportunities within the project area.

The Blackstone River Bikeway is a complex project that to date has applied many
innovative methods. This 19-mile route traverses seven communities and extends
from Pawtucket, at the southern terminus, to North Smithfield at the northern terminus
and Massachusetts border. While named a Bikeway, it is available to, and well used by
walkers, skaters, and all manner of non-motorized wheeled vehicles. This project includes
14 new or replacement bridges. Ultimately this path, coursing through the corridor
where America’s Industrial Revolution began, will extend the full, 50-mile length of the
Blackstone River from Providence, Rhode Island to Worcester, MA. Nominated by Lenor McLean, Project Manager, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.

CORPORATE AWARD: St. Joe Company /Arvida
A business or corporation must have demonstrated significant, sustained, and exemplary service to trails planning, implementation and/or recreation.

St. Joe Company is a Florida real estate company and the state’s largest private Landowner, with approximately one million acres of land concentrated primarily in northwest Florida. Recognizing that its lands complement the vast Federal and State holdings of the region, St Joe has taken extensive measures to ensure that the environmental features of a site are protected and incorporated as the key feature of a project. Three examples of St. Joe’s exemplary environmental
stewardship are the West Bay Area Sector Plan in Bay County, Watercolor in Walton County and SouthWood in Leon County. Nominated by Jena Brooks, Director- Florida DEP, Office of Greenways and Trails.

STATE-of-the-ART TECHNOLOGY AWARD: Beneficial Designs, Inc.
The award recognizes a trails-related product, process, or service that has significantly met a need, addressed an issue, or increased efficiency in trail design, development, or maintenance.

Under the guidance of entrepreneur Peter Axelson, Beneficial Designs has developed several processes and products that have improved access for people of all abilities to the out-of-doors. Their motto is: "Designing beyond the norm to meet the needs of all people." The Beneficial Design team works creatively and tirelessly to implement their vision. Their work fills huge and important needs for the trails community. They have also developed TrailWare, a soft-ware program for efficiently managing trail data collected through UTAP. Beneficial Designs works in partnership with American Trails to implement UTAP across the country. Nominated by Stuart Macdonald, Chair, National Assn. of State Trail Administrators

The award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems

The Trail Design Charette is a multidisciplinary design synergy effort, the result of a partnership between Whole Access and California State Parks, together with the Humboldt Access Project Independent Living Center, BLM, and others. The Charette team is developing and testing a planning and design process that integrates accessibility, resource protection, and trail construction technology into the planning, design and development of recreational trails worldwide. Their plan is via videotapes and other training materials. The Design Charette has completed two trails in redwood forests in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in California. By intention, the accessible trails don’t look like accessible trails. The designers, many of whom are involved in the national determination of ADA trail specifications, pushed the envelope to create highly naturalistic trails that feel like they "just happen" to be accessible, even on steep cross slopes, and with occasionally steep trail grades. As a result, the two trails are beautifully woven into their sites. Instead of the sometimes sterile feel of accessible trails, everyone appreciates how skillfully the Charette Design trails use nature itself to focus our attention on the natural world rather than on the trail. Nominated by Dick Trudeau

Nominee must have made outstanding contributions and provided consistent support for trail planning, development, or maintenance. This award is intended to recognize the commitment and efforts of a private or public sector individual in working for enhanced trail recreation in their local area or state.

  • California: Frank Padilla Frank has coordinated volunteer projects on several State Parks, and on his own time helped develop Trails Maintenance workshops. He's also active with many trail and conservation groups.
  • Florida: Joan Hobson As Florida Trail Association's Vice President Joan is invaluable in developing and guiding Association staff and volunteers on trail inventory, construction, maintenance, and acquisition of land.
  • Georgia: Troy Brown Troy's hard work in all aspects of trails helps provide a quality trail experience and aids in preserving Georgia trails for future generations.
  • Indiana: Richard Vonnegut As founder of the Indiana Trails Fund Richard has successfully worked to railbank and acquire trail corridors. He also works with communities along the corridors to develop support for trails.
  • Massachusetts: John K. Hendrickson John has helped the small town of Hamilton, on the North Shore, to develop one of the most extensive trail systems in the State.
  • Missouri: John Roth A volunteer with the US Forest Service for several years, John's latest projects has been the planning and development of the Ozark Trail
  • Utah: Don & Bonnie Keele They have been essential to the development and maintenance of the Arapeen OHV Trail System on Utah's Manti-LaSal National Forest.
  • Wyoming: Tony Simek Tony works with the Wyoming State Trails program, volunteering numerous hours to improve, maintain and enhance snowmobile trails.

Nominee(s) must have demonstrated successful efforts to influence public policy relating to trail planning, trail protection, trail development, or maintenance.

  • California: The Warrior Society

The Warrior Society is a club of fifty-five cyclists, trail runners and hikers who have "dedicated themselves to improving and protecting the trails of the Trabuco district of the Cleveland National Forest." They have been providing a valuable partnership to the district for over 10 years. This year they have accomplished a myriad of important volunteer projects that were desperately needed. They installed signs and/or motorcycle gates for nine different projects. In addition, they completed over 50 miles of trail for nine different projects. In addition they completed over 50 miles of trail work on those nine trails. These significant endeavors reflect the Warrior Society’s dedication to the land, and devotion to assisting the Forest Service in its efforts to maintain the trail system, and provide the public with quality recreation opportunities. Nominated by Karla F. Gallegos, Wilderness and Trails Manager.

  • Florida: Florida Trail Association

This advocacy award reflects the Florida Trail Association’s successes in influencing public policy in the areas of trail planning, trail protection, and trail development and maintenance between June 15, 2000 and June 15, 2002. Since 1966, the volunteer members of the Florida Trail Association have been building and maintaining the Florida Trail as one of the nation’s premier long-distance hiking trails. In 1983, at the request of the FTA, with the support of the USDA Forest Service, Congress amended the National Trails System Act by designating the Florida Trail as a national scenic trail. The FTA contributions of time and money over the years continue to capture the attention and respect of Congress. FTA has continued its role as advocate for the trail, in working to develop trail management and protection agreements with the USDA Forest Service and nearly two dozen large managing agencies through whose land and trail passes. Nominated by Jena Brooks, Director of the Florida DEP Office of Greenways & Trails

  • Indiana: Diana Virgil

Diana is one of Indiana’s most active trail advocates. She has been heavily involved in trail building for many years. Her dedication has helped develop the 62-mile B&O rail trail across west central Indiana. With Diana’s leadership, $3 million in federal and state funds have been secured for the B&O trail. She serves on the Indiana Trails Advisory Board and regularly attends the state’s Transportation Corridor Planning Board. Diana also serves on the planning committee for Indiana’s Trails and Greenways Conference and is a member of the Indianan Park & Recreation Association. Nominated by Steve Morris – Indiana Deparment of Natual Resources

  • Montana: Bob Walker

Bob Walker has significantly contributed to trail management in Montana through work as head of the Information/Education Committee, which is a sub-committee of the interagency Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Work Group in the state. Bob has spearheaded new ideas on OHV education in Montana that have significantly reduced user conflicts and improved OHV user ethics. He also was the main motivator for developing and funding through the recreational trails grant program, OHV Information/Education Trunks, which are being used as teaching aids to teach young middle school-aged kids proper OHV use and ethics. Nominated by John Favro, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region

  • Utah: Lindon Romine

Lindon is a hands-on trail advocated from Circleville, Utah. While a Piute County Commissioner, he worked hard to get trails approved within the county to win public support of the trail system. Lindon has been dedicated to the Piute Trail system since its conception, as well as many other trails where he has participated as a cat operator, helping in construction and maintenance. He’s even designed an ATV cattle guard, and has also served as a volunteer trail guide for others wanting someone knowledgeable of the trails and stories of the surrounding areas. Nominated by KayMar Willis, Utah Division of Parks & Recreation

  • Wyoming: Lee Yake

Lee is a true trail advocate of the diverse and multiple uses of all trails. He has served on numerous boards and for many groups and councils. He is presently working with the Bureau of Land Management on a cooperative resource management team and still finds time to volunteer many hours on trails for their diverse users. This past fall, Lee and his wife Carol, along with others from the Wyoming Back Country Horsemen, participated in the Ride Across America to support and assist those financially affected by the September 11th events. Nominated by Kim Raap, Wyoming State Trails Program.

AWARDS and recognition programs:

Related topics:

More resources:

Page end graphic

Contact us | Mission statement | Board of directors | Member organizations | Site map | Copyright | NRT | NTTP