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National Trails Awards for 2006

Click on the links below for details of the specific awards:

Lifetime Service | Hulet Hornbeck Award | Trails for Health | Partnership | Trails Public Service | Outstanding Media | Trails and the Arts | Planning/Design | Corporate | State-of-the-Art Technology | Trail Sharing | Trail Advocate Awards | Trail Worker Awards | Awards Index

American Trails is pleased to announce that State Trail Advocate Awards were presented to individuals from 13 states, as part of the 18th National Trails Symposium in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois, and are made possible by the National Trails Symposium Sponsors.


For successful efforts to influence public policy relating to trail planning, trail protection,trail development, or maintenance:

ARKANSAS: Jerry Shields
Denby Bay Project Chairman, of the Lake Ouachita Citizens Focus Committee, has actively been developing a coalition of partners to design and implement the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. This hiking and biking trail will span about 35 miles along Lake Ouachita, connecting five U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Campgrounds and five private resorts. Montgomery County is highly dependent on tourism and development of this trail is expected to have a positive impact on the local economy.

The initiative shown by Jerry serves as a model of what community partners, working with federal, state, and local agencies, can accomplish.

ARIZONA: Sue Clark & Linda Anderson-McKee
Sue and Linda have been active trails advocates for over 20 years, involving themselves in hundreds of advocacy projects. Sue is President of Pima Trails Association, and Linda is Chair of the Urban Trails Coalition. Both lead important local trails advocacy groups and have teamed together as a powerful unit to accomplish many outstanding achievements. They participated in the founding of Pima Trails Association in 1987, formed by equestrians who were concerned with the loss of trails to development in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. Though both are equestrians, Sue and Linda are committed to helping all trail users get the trails they need and deserve.

Photo of Nina Aragon
Sue Clark
Photo of Anderson-McKee
Linda Anderson-McKee










FLORIDA: Ken Bryan

Photo: Ken Bryan
Ken Bryan

Ken Bryan has led the Florida Chapter of the Rails to Trails Conservancy for more than a decade, and has been its elected Chair since 2002. Ken's trails career includes too many successes to name. He has played key roles in such critical projects as the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, the Palatka-Lake Butler Trail, and the soon to be acquired fifty-one mile East Central Regional Rail-Trail, the longest single State trail acquisition ever undertaken in Florida.

Beyond his work on specific projects, Ken has affected significant, long-range positive change in public policy to the benefit of Florida trails.


Photo of Mark Ackelson
Mark Ackelson

IOWA: Mark Ackelson
Mark has served as President of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation since 1994. Mark is a skilled administrator, fundraiser, and negotiator with a proven record of results in the efforts to protect important natural, wildlife, recreational and cultural resource lands in Iowa.

He is well respected by his professional peers and conservation leaders around the nation. Thanks to Mark's efforts, this organization has helped protect more than 85,000 acres of prairies, wetlands, woodlands, watersheds and trail corridors. This work has involved the creation and use of innovative funding and partnerships. Mark has led in the completion of eight trails in Iowa and the near completion of three additional trails.

Photo: Chuck Oestreich
Chuck Oestreich

ILLINOIS: Chuck Oestreich
Chuck is an action-oriented Board Member and Secretary of the League of Illinois Bicyclists. He has a been a bicycling columnist for Quad City Times for seven years, discussing many matters pertaining to local, state, and national trails. He is the editor of "Illinois Bicyclist," the newsletter of the League of Illinois Bicyclists. He has been a guest contributor to various trail related publications, including "Discover America", "The Green Scene", and "American Trails."

Chuck offers suggestions for local and state legislation to promote the safe use of trails for all users. As a well-respected member of the bicycling community, he is often asked to represent their interests while providing a balanced approach with his input.


Photo of Nina Aragon
Nina Aragon

KENTUCKY: Nina Aragon
As Vice-President of the Elkhorn City Area Heritage Council, Nina is one of its public faces. Nina's friendliness and good-natured humor have kept everyone engaged. In 2003, ECAHC requested the assistance of NPS-Rivers & Trails Program, to assist with land and water trail planning. Environmental artists had been working in the community for a number of years, and one of their designs was for a historic walking trail around town.

Nina has shepherded the project along, and the Blue Line Trail has been created. With Nina's involvement, trail projects have gotten onto paper, into a plan, and some have become reality. She is the constant fire beneath the simmering pot.


Photo: Sally Jacobs
Sally Jacobs

MAINE: Sally Jacobs
Fifteen years ago Sally Jacobs formed the Sunrise Trail Coalition to encourage the state to convert the "Calais Branch" rail bed to an all-season shared use recreational trail. As Co-Chair of the Coalition, she has recently been involved in getting support of the local legislators for Hancock and Washington County for the project, and the effort appears to be approaching success.

Sally is well respected by a variety of trail users, landowners, and state and local government officials, with whom she has developed key stakeholder relationships. She is a dedicated individual with unique leadership skills.


Photo of Darlene Tussing
Darlene Tussing

MONTANA: Darlene Tussing
Darlene Tussing is the Alternate Modes Coordinator for the city of Billings. Darlene does whatever it takes to make trails happen. This has included promoting and educating the public on a city trails bond issue, raising money from private and corporate donors, presentations to civic groups, reorganizing a BikeNet committee and working with subdivision plans for incorporation of trails.

Darlene has been successful in securing grants, bond funds and donations for trails totaling more than 2.5 million dollars. There is now over 10 miles of hard surface trail within Billings, with several new segments under construction. All of these urban trails have been the result of Darlene's efforts.

Photo: Gail Hanson
Gail Hanson

As the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association, Gail Hanson is there to help sustain the future of snowmobiling. During legislative sessions Gail is active on all legislation pertaining to snowmobile trails, and works with lawmakers in updating laws to meet the needs of the sport.

Gail also stays in close contact with the Bureau of Trails to ensure that snowmobile trails in New Hampshire receive the attention they deserve. As the statewide voice for snowmobile riders and trails in New Hampshire, Gail and the NHSA play a vital role in what is an essential part of New Hampshire culture.


Photo of Erin Casey
Erin Casey

NEVADA: Erin Casey
As Associate Director of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, Erin's mission is to enhance the Tahoe Rim Trail system and encourage stewardship through volunteer programs, educational outreach, and community partnerships. Erin worked with numerous agency and non-profit professionals to offer the "first ever" trails and outdoor leadership workshop, in May 2006. Over 100 students from Nevada and Northern California were treated to three days of trail training, including design and layout, construction and maintenance, and trail leadership training. Because of Erin's efforts, trail building in Nevada and Northern California has taken on a new light. Her love for trails shows through in her daily efforts to bring about a quality trail experience for generations to come.

Photo: Ann Parr
Ann Parr

UTAH: Ann Parr
Ann has served on the Utah Recreational Trails Advisory Council for six years, and was Vice Chair for 2005. She worked with Council members to formulate a strategy to increase funding for the state's trails granting program. Throughout the bureaucratic and political maze, Ann was gracious, but persistent. She was full of helpful facts and figures, and followed up with emails to every influential legislator.

Ann provided key volunteer leadership of public and political support for the passage of a $13,000,000 open space bond for Draper City. The resulting purchase of 1,000 plus acres of wild lands allowed for the public access of several major trails. Ann's drive and determination has had a stunning effect on Salt Lake County and statewide trails.

Photo of Bill Victor
William E. (Bill) Schumann

WISCONSIN: William E. (Bill) Schumann Coalition
Bill is currently serving his third term as Vice President of the Blue Ribbon Coalition. As a board member and past President of Lake States Resource Alliance, Bill had the opportunity to be involved in public access issues on the local level and to become involved in national issues across the entire country.

Bill's goals for the Blue Ribbon Coalition include to obtain more representation across the U.S. and to provide the Midwest and Eastern parts of the country with help and expertise in all land, trail, and access issues.



Photo: Martha Ballman
Martha Ballman

WEST VIRGINIA: Martha Ballman
Martha is currently President of the WV Trails Coalition. Since she began as a staff member and volunteer in 2002, Martha's vision has been to see the Coalition's key component come to completion: that is, for the state of WV to hire its first State Trail Coordinator. In 2005 and 2006 Martha worked tirelessly with advocates to develop legislation and resolutions to create a State Trail Coordinator position.

Success was finally achieved in February 2006, and the WV Department of Transportation hired the first State Trail Coordinator! Thanks to Martha's vision, perseverance, excellent coordination and advocacy skills, and light-hearted humor, the process was quite celebratory.


Lifetime Service | Trails for Health | Partnership | Trails Public Service | Outstanding Media | Trails and the Arts | Planning/Design | Corporate | State-of-the-Art Technology | Trail Sharing | Trail Advocate Awards | Trail Worker Awards | Awards Index

See previous National Trails Award Winners from 2004, 2002, and 2000.

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