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19th National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, Arkansas, November 15-18, 2008

Lifetime Service | Best Trails State | Community Service | Developer Award | 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


For successful efforts to influence public policy relating to trail planning, trail protection, trail development, or maintenance (one award per State, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico):

Sammie Danford of Alabama

ALABAMA: Sammie K. Danford
Sammie has personally assisted small communities in rural areas of the county by writing grant proposals for various recreational needs and has received numerous sources of grant funds. Sammie has prepared proposals and received over $2.3 million in grant funds for park and recreation activities from Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. These funds include the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Recreational Trails Program. Sammie has also been instrumental in planning and seeking approximately $350,000 from private industry and foundations for park and outdoor recreation activities. These many recreational grant proposals and funded grant projects consist of walking trails, diversified trails, mountain bike trails, boat launches and piers, and fishing piers.

When Sammie first learned of the existence of unallocated RTP funds for motorized only recreation trails, she quickly built a coalition of county officials, trail groups, and interested citizens to begin the application process. Approximately $1.7 million has been dedicated to the planning, acquisition, and construction of the Stony Lonesome Off Highway Vehicle Park located in the southwest part of the county. The park consists of over 1,456 acres specializing in trails for ATV/OHV and other motorized vehicles.

Photo of ranger with sign
Mark Ackelson

ARKANSAS: Greg Butts - Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks strives to provide trails which satisfy public demand for recreation yet are consistent with wise use of natural and cultural resources. This often requires great effort to address unique, and sometimes conflicting, interests and viewpoints of advocates and resource managers. Development of the Hidden Diversity Multi-Use Trail at Hobbs State Park- Conservation Area demonstrates such an effort with a positive outcome.

Participants in planning and construction of the Hidden Diversity Multi-Use Trail included representatives of the park’s friends group, horseback riders, mountain bike riders, and the three state agencies who cooperatively manage the park. A comprehensive trails plan for the park was developed with participation and input from these various groups. The resulting plan balances visitor demands with resource management needs. The 16-mile Hidden Diversity Multi-Use Trail was dedicated in May 2006 and is open to horse riders, mountain bikers and hikers.

  Photo of man with Smokey the Bear
Dale Shewalter of Arizona

ARIZONA: Dale Shewalter
The vision of a continuous border-to-border trail traversing Arizona's unique landscapes and historic areas had been on the minds of trail users through the years. One individual, however, took the dream and made it a reality. Dale Shewalter visualized a long-distance trail while hiking in the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson in the 1970's.

During the summer of 1985, Dale completed scouting the trail route. While walking from the Mexican border to the Utah border, he visualized and tentatively mapped an interlocking route of trail systems traversing the state from south to north. Beginning at the Mexican border, he projected a 750-mile route through desert and mountain corridors all the way to the Utah state line. The concept of the Arizona Trail was born, offering opportunities for hikers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, and cross-country skiers to experience the rich diversity Arizona has to offer. Shewalter, during the next few years, began promoting his vision of a border-to-border trail to key state and federal agencies, service groups, corporations, and individuals. Much interest was evident. He proposed the Arizona Trail concept to the Arizona State Parks Board in 1985, gaining the support and enthusiasm of Larry Mutter, then State Trails Coordinator. The Arizona Hiking and Equestrian Trails Committee (now known as Arizona State Committee on Trails or "ASCOT"), the citizen advisory committee to the Arizona State Parks Board, also endorsed the trail concept early on and have since been helping to coordinate the project.

Photo of trail building machine
Building trails on BLM land in Shasta County

CALIFORNIA: The Redding Foundation, Brent Owens and Kimberly Hawkins
Brent Owen and Kimberly Hawkins are principals in the philanthropic Redding Foundation, and have been volunteering for the BLM the last two years. They have been energetic volunteers and philanthropists, lending their time and expertise in the surveying, designing and building multiple-use recreation trails, primarily on BLM-managed public lands in Shasta County.

Working quietly and "behind the scenes" they have contributed approximately $100,000 of their own funds and donated time and services valued at more than $200,000 in these endeavors. They have each contributed more than 1,000 hours of their time during this period. Brent, a former city planner and developer for over 30 years has applied his knowledge and experience in planning and engineering in building non-motorized trail systems in the Redding area. Kim Hawkins has assisted Brent for the past 15 years, focusing largely on coordinating work by volunteers including “hosted workers” from the California Department of Corrections. Without Kim’s management of the hosted workers and volunteers the trail projects would come to a quick stop.

DISTRICT of COLUMBIA: Julie Childers

  Photo of woman with girls
Julie Childers or Washington, DC

Julie Childers isn’t shy, nor is she quiet about her love for trails; first as a hiker, trail runner, then as a mountain biker and now as a mother. The trails provide her peace of mind, tranquility and a great resource for exercise in nature’s beauty. Her husband Pat shares her enthusiasm and her gift of gab. As the founders of TFK Metro DC, they have dedicated the last 6 years of thier lives to sharing this love with the children of their community and the world at large.

In doing so they created an organization that has introduced over a thousand children to trails in the Washington DC area. It was this effort that put Julie and Pat in front of the media as spokespersons for children’s health, mountain biking and trails in the DC Metropolitan area and beyond. 2007 provided TFK Metro DC more than its 15 minutes of fame for trail support and the Childers made the most of it. In addition to the half dozen articles penned by the Childers themselves for local bicycling magazines such as Spokes and Pedal Patter, their message about the critical need of getting children into the environment and on trails was featured in local newspapers and radio. The Centerville Times ran an article on their efforts with at-risk youth and quoted Pat Childers as stating. "Yesterday, they got an enjoyable bike ride on a beautiful trail. That trail was not just made overnight, it took a lot of hard work. Today they're creating some of that hard work. They're hot and tired, but they're creating something that will live on for years of future use."

Photo of man with river
Paul Morrill of Delaware

DELAWARE: Paul H. Morill, Jr.
Paul Morrill has a remarkable ability to forge partnerships with the most unlikely people for the good of trail projects statewide. He is a stalwart advocate for trail planning and development, both in his community of Delaware City, and, at the state, county and municipal levels. Paul brings his passion for history, heritage and culture together to create livable communities with great public value. He is business oriented yet understands how profoundly we are affected by the places that surround us.

Paul serves dual roles in the Delaware trail community. First, he is a Delaware City resident, where he is the City Manager. At home, slowly, yet deliberately, Paul tackled the issues of a depressed Main Street, flooding, and eroding historic structures. Within the last two years, this waterfront town, located on a Branch Canal of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, is being revitalized, transformed. Today, a Canalfront Promenade wraps around a once underused waterfront park and along several blocks of the Branch Canal. Historic buildings are being saved and downtown businesses revitalized. Under Paul’s leadership, there is new life in Delaware City.

  Photo of woman on bike
Linda Crider of Florida

FLORIDA: Linda Crider

A leading trails advocate in Florida for many years, Linda is the Project Director for the FL Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program and is a research associate for the University of Florida, Department of Urban and Regional Planning. She is also founder and President of BIKE FLORIDA, a multi-day bicycle ecotourism event, that generates over $50,000 annually for bicycle safety education. She also served on the Florida Greenways and Trails Council from 2005 to 2007. Through these roles, Linda has worked to develop programs helping individuals and communities to live healthy and environmentally responsible lives.

Linda's advocacy for trails came to full fruition this year through her leadership as organizer of the 2008 BIKE FLORIDA Event. While this annual event has historically been a primarily on-road, long distance bicycle ride, Linda dubbed the 2008 event “Trail Link” and incorporated several trails into the 250 mile route. The event provided significant exposure to some of Florida’s most notable and beautiful trails along the Gulf Coast. These included the Pinellas Trail, Suncoast Parkway Trail, Withlacoochee State Trail, Withlacoochee Bay Trail on the Cross Florida Greenway, and Nature Coast State Trail. The event, held March 30-April 4, did much to promote trails both in the media and to the event’s 1000 cyclists. The event was so successful, it led to a resolution by Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet on May 13, 2008 recognizing its importance.

Photo of woman and horse
Kandee Haertel of Illinois

ILLINOIS: Kandee Haertel
Kandee is nationally known as a trails advocate, especially among the equestrian groups. Much of her adult life has been dedicated to preserving trails for equestrians by coordinating and educating the many partners and advocates of trails. When Kandee is not astride her long standing trail companion, a chestnut Paso Fino mare named The Lady, she is working to affect every aspect of keeping and enjoying horses. Before becoming affiliated with Back Country Horsemen as the Director of Development she served as Executive Director, Equestrian Land Conservation Resource (ELCR), Galena, IL.

Kandee has developed national and local networks and partnerships between horse owners, trail partners, and land managers in the private and public sector. By creating lasting alliances among various interest groups she has helped to build organizations from the initial idea-state into on-going realities. Kandee is notorious grabbing the reins of a fledgling organization and teaching it to fly. Regardless of her volunteer or employment status, her passion has always been to preserve trails and greenways for "All Americans." Equestrians from all over the United States recognize her efforts and hold her in high regard for all of her efforts. A large group of equestrians from numerous states have agreed to nominate her for this award knowing how much she has contributed and that there is still more to come as Kandee sets to work with the Backcountry Horsemen of America as Director of Development.

Photo of trail workers
volunteers organized by Mike Dulin

KENTUCKY: Mike Dulin
Mike is a champion of sustainable trail design and multi-use trails. His goal is engage volunteers from different user groups in trail projects that would result in multi-use trails that were built properly. To this end, Mike planned a workshop with exercises designed to focus on what we share in common and can all agree on as trail users, while accepting the obvious issues which often result in user conflicts on the trails. Hikers joined mountain bikers and equestrians along with representatives from the major land managers with trails systems in the state. The tone was enthusiastic, cooperative, and non-judgmental.

The end result of the 2008 workshop was the formation of the Kentucky Trails Coalition. Member organizations in this coalition are Kentucky Mountain Bike Association, Kentucky Horse Council, and Kentucky Trails Association. The Coalition foresees working with land managers as they plan improvements or new trails to see that they are designed in such as a way as to maximize the experience of all designated user groups while minimizing user conflicts.

Photo of bridge
Bridge along the Louisiana Trail

LOUISIANA: John Tarver
John Tarver, his late brother, Donald Tarver, both of Baton Rouge, and Robert Hopkins of Shreveport organized the L&A Trail, Inc. In 2001 the group purchased railroad property from Kansas City Southern Railway for the purpose of developing a recreational trail. The Louisiana Trail is an all-volunteer association dedicated to the development of the L&A Trail’s railroad corridor from Winnfield to Sibley, as a 65-mile-long recreational trail. The Trail accepts members from several recreational groups, including hikers, bikers, equestrians, and ATV riders. John Tarver serves as president, with day-to-day operations conducted by volunteers organized as the Louisiana Trail. The Trail now has several hundred active members. It has no paid employees. The contributions of members, along with generous assistance from businesses and individuals in the area, have permitted the Trail to receive funds from the Division of Outdoor Recreations that underwrite construction.

Craig Della Penna of Massachusetts

MASSACHUSETTS: Craig Della Penna
Craig Della Penna works tirelessly to promote rail trail development, share information among different groups, and advocate for changes in policy to make rail-trail development easier and faster in Massachusetts. His consulting firm, Northeast Greenway Solutions, specializes in getting communities to say “YES” to the idea of a rail trail by collaborative processes. Craig brings special skills to public meetings that ease tensions and make for a better public participation process. His newsletter/blog goes out to over 11,000 advocates and decision makers in 12 states.

In his real estate job, Craig specializes in antique houses and residential properties near to rail-trails or other greenways. Recently this unique niche practice was featured in a story in the National Association of Realtors Magazine’s Smart Growth section. Along with his wife Kathleen, he also operates Sugar Maple Trailside Inn, a bed & breakfast located next to southern New England’s first municipally built/operated rail trail. He is the General Manager of Central Highlands Conservancy LLC, [CHC] which preserves former railroad corridor in Massachusetts by buying corridors that are in danger of being lost or sold off to adjacent landowners or inappropriate commercial developers. CHC then protects the corridor by holding it until the local land trust can purchase it through a long-term capital fund-raising campaign.

Bill Howell of Montana

MONTANA: Bill Howell
While Bill is nationally recognized as a leader in development and maintenance of snowmobile trails, he has also served as a local and state promoter of cross country ski trails and other non-motorized trails. Bill serves as an advisor to many agencies and organizations. The office of the Governor of Montana, the State Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the USDA Forest Service rely on him for advice and assistance on trails and tourism related matters. He served on the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Committee and the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission, served as a charter member of the Montana State Trails Advisory Committee, and still serves as a member of the Montana State Snowmobile Advisory Committee.

Bill also serves as Chair of the Montana Snowmobile Association’s Legislative Committee and has been involved in many state laws benefiting snowmobile trails including the return of snowmobile registration decal fees and a portion of the state gas tax to the state snowmobile program. He lobbied in support of the original National Recreational Trails Fund Act and continues to cooperate with the American Recreation Coalition on trail access and funding issues.

Jeff Brewer of North Carolina

The Firends of the Mountains to Sea Trail is a chargered nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST) with construction and mainenance of the nearly 1,000-mile corridor. The organization was formed in 1997 and its first president was Jeff Brewer, who has hald the position of leadership ever since. In the beginning the state had only three task force groups working on development of the trail, but during the years since Brewer has led the organization he has helped organize nearly 40 task forces across the state.

In the last year and a half, Jeff has had his major advocacy success when he developed an agreement among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the NC Division of Parks and Recreation, and other agencies and communities for a50-mile section of the MST. This agreement is so significant because progress on this section has been stalled for 25 years. As an avid hiker and volunteer, Brewer has set an outstanding example for other trail leaders.

Photo of man with dogsled
Tom DiMaggio of New Hampshire

Tom’s primary love and dedication for trails comes through his passion for dog sledding. Through a variety of organizations, committees and positions Tom is a man of many trail hats. His ability to transcend user groups enables him to effectively advocate for mushing as well as other trail users. By supporting, cooperating with and keeping an open dialogue with other groups Tom works on keeping the long and successful tradition of recreational trail access in New Hampshire going. Tom is a member of his local snowmobile club and is also involved with the Rockingham Recreational Trail Association (volunteer group formed to assist with the use and maintenance of the Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail)

As the President of the New Hampshire Mushers Association (NHMA) Tom is consistently striving to improve the conditions and access to trails for mushers throughout the state. Through Tom‘s lead, the NHMA recently had legislation passed to formally recognize mushing as an official trail use in New Hampshire. Other accomplishments and efforts of the NHMA with Tom’s leadership or participation include creating a safety awareness brochure for distribution around the state. Created in conjunction with the NH Fish & Game Department, this brochure is aimed at educating other trail users such as snowmobiles, and cross country skiers on safety and etiquette when encountering a team of sled dogs on the trail. At the same time the NHMA educates mushers on safety when encountering equestrians or other trail users

Photo of trail building machine
Trail building in New Jersey

NEW JERSEY: Wally Tunsion
Wally Tunison is a long-standing member of the New Jersey Trails Council representing mountain biking interests. As the founder of NJ's first statewide mountain biking advocacy organization, the NJ Cycling Conservation Club, and as a charter member of its current statewide advocacy organization JORBA (Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association), Wally provided the guidance and direction to author the two organizations' current success. Wally has also been state representative for IMBA and is a National Mountain Bike Patrol Instructor.

Wally's most recent accompllishment would be the opening of the Southern Extension of the Henry Hudson Rail Trail between Matawan and Freehold, NJ. Wally also helped form the Monmouth Heritage Trails group, bringing people together from all walks of life to support the acquisition of the former railroad right of way. As opposition to the trail emerged, Wally worked to convince not only the neighbors but local and county officials of the value of the trail. As a trail advocate Wally has had a long and lasting influence on the vision of multi-use trails in New Jersey, and strives to be a voice of fairness for all trail users.

Photo of woman on horse
Deirdre Monroe of New Mexico

NEW MEXICO: Deirdre Monroe
Deirdre Monroe fits this description as she continually promotes and gives voice to the 67,000 acres of the Santa Fe National Forest called the Caja Del Rio. She extols the beauty of an unconventional “forest” whose trees are low and sparse by photographing, publicizing, and ultimately winning funding for trails improvement. Monroe started riding in the Caja in 1998 with her endurance horse, Buddy. Frustrated by lack of user-friendly maps, she used her GPS and computer skills to ultimately produce a user friendly map that included photographs, driving directions, trail characteristics, and water locations.

During the past eighteen months, her riding and hiking with the GPS has expanded her data base. Using this data, she plans on updating her map to eventually include “connections to other trail systems and give hikers accurate trail information on the adjacent Bureau of Land Management ground,” according to Monroe. In her community, Monroe attends BLM meeting as well as county and city meeting to continually voice support for trails funding and publicity. She speaks at New Mexico Horsemen meetings and travel club gatherings, giving a slide show presentation on what the Caja has to offer to hikers, bikers and equestrians.

Photo: planting a tree
Elise McAllister planting a tree

NEVADA: Elise McAllister
Elise has been an enthusiastic OHV user, and advocate for enhanced recreational opportunities. She has been paramount is working with partner agencies locally to preserve and protect the precious resource available to rural residents. Elise simply met a local State Legislature for coffee, which resulted in legislation being passed specifically awarding Partners in Conservation $250,000 to protect a sensitive OHV site, through managed use. In a year of huge budget cuts, this was considered an amazing feat.

Partners in Conservation (PIC) is an information conduit that fills the gap between rural communities and government entities; develops specific partnerships to resolve conservation, recreation, and public land issues; PIC also develops specific partnerships and administers common-sense projects that provide win-win opportunities for all involved. PIC will be a lasting, permanent, and significant factor in enabling citizens of rural Northeast Clark County and other rural communities in Nevada and the West to take an active role in public land, conservation, and recreational issues. PIC administers and facilitates common-sense conservation projects by matching specific tasks with appropriate organizations and by utilizing the skills, energy, and abilities of diverse groups through hands-on participation. Active involvement creates ownership; by actually doing the project, participants become part of the project.

Irene Szabo of New York

NEW YORK: Irene Szabo
Irene Szabo is currently the Program Director of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference (FLTC). The main Finger Lakes Trail is 562 miles long and connects the Catskill Mountains with the Allegheny Mountains by passing through remote areas of the Southern Tier of New York State. This trail connects with the North Country National Scenic Trail in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. Many sections of the Finger Lakes Trail are official segments of the North Country National Scenic Trail. Irene’s association with the Finger Lakes Trail Conference has spanned over 20 years.

During this period she has held many positions including President as well as maintaining 17 miles of trail. In addition to Irene’s administrative and advocacy roles with the FLTC, she served in various capacities with the North Country National Scenic Trail including interim Executive Director, board member and editor of the North Star. Irene has also participated as a hiking delegate on the Statewide Trails Council since the early 1990’s. During her participation on the Council, she has served as Chairman and Secretary. As a delegate, she has assumed a leadership role and the gained the respect of all of the other trail delegates— motorized and non-motorized. Irene has been a strong advocate of not only hikers but also other trail users. She has the ability of recognizing differences between statewide issues and trail specific issues.

Photo of men on beach
Members of Corvallis to the Sea Trail Partnership

OREGON: Gary Chapman - Corvallis to the Sea Trail Partnership
The Corvallis to the Sea Trail Partnership began as a coaltion of individuals and groups sharing a common vision for a 60+ mile trail for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians stretching from the Willamette Valley and over the Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean. The project is one of the long-distance trails mentioned in the 2003-2007 OR Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. They continued to do the extensive field research, as we;; as outreach and advocacy to successfully build the relationships needed to move this vision forward beyond what any other attempt over 30 years has managed to accomplish.

In Februray 2007 the work that had been done, the relationships built, and support for the trail was clearly evidenced as the lead front page story in the local Sunday newspaper. After 4 and a half years of work they w! ere able to achieve the land-owner permissions needed in October 2007 for a primary route! They recently became a non-profit organization and continue their commitment in moving forward cooperatively with the US Forest Service with the intent to do the Envirronmental Impact Statement and seeking to work with them and others to make the dream a reality.

Photo of Ron Steffey
Ron Steffey of PA

Ron Steffey is Executive Director of the Allegheny Valley Land Trust, whose mission is to "protect and convert railroad corridors into trails for public use, thereby providing opportunities for commuters and outdoor recreational activities. Our projects will maintain the integrity of these corridors for future transportation use while acting as an economic stimulus for the area communities.”

A few years ago, Ron was using the Armstrong Trail a lot, while he was on Workers Compensation and trying to heal his foot injury from working in the coal mines. After a number of complaints to a trail volunteer about how the trail was being built, Ron was invited to get involved and fix it. He started out as an Americorps position with the Allegheny Valley Land Trust, and is now their full-time Executive Director. Ron has been working tirelessly to build public awareness and support for the Armstrong Trail and to initiate other nearby rail-trail projects. Ron has also been a leader in advocating for the formation of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail, of which the Armstrong Trail would be one segment.

Photo: kayaker on river
Along the Berkeley Blueways Paddling Trail

SOUTH CAROLINA: Berkeley Soil and Water Conservation District
As one of South Carolina’s 46 conservation districts, the BSWCD was chartered in 1943 and is committed to the conservation, stewardship and wise use of our abundant natural resources. The development of a paddling trail system for Berkeley County for public recreation and eco-system based tourism was a natural fit. With a long history of utilizing partnerships and open participation, the final phase of the Berkeley Blueways Paddling Trails culminated in August 2007. It was recognized that natural resources based recreation and eco-tourism are highly desirable activities and of growing importance to the public and business community. To that end, the Berkeley Soil & Water Conservation District secured a partnership with SC Department of Natural Resources, Berkeley County, Santee Cooper, US Forest Service and a local paddling group known as the Berkeley Gypsy Paddlers. The partnership researched this issue, developed community participation and support, and investigated a number of potential paddling trails.

Photo of men in suits
Kim Raap (right) with WY Senator John Barrasso

Kim Raap has served as Park Manager in various parks in South Dakota as well as State Trails Coordinator in both South Dakota and Wyoming. In the 26 years that he served in the State Parks system, he developed many trail systems, created many partnerships that are still in existence today, as well as administering the Recreational Trails Grant Program. Before leaving Wyoming he created the OHV registration and trail program.

Mr. Raap left the State Parks system in 2004 and created a consulting firm to focus on recreational trails issues and management. In his new capacity, Kim now assists agencies, associations, clubs, and businesses in environmental, NEPA, and agency plan reviews. He also provides training, meeting facilitation, technical writing and grant writing workshops. Trails Work Consulting has developed many educational tools that are regularly used by trail managers and trail enthusiasts. His recent projects include an Avalanche Education Repository, Access Guide for Snowmobiling on Private and Public Lands and a web-based Safety Awareness Program. Kim continues to serve as a resource and regularly volunteers to assist the South Dakota Snowmobile Association, the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, and many other trail groups across the country.

Photo of Howard Peak
Howard Peak of Texas

TEXAS: Howard Peak
During his time as Mayor of San Antonio (1997-2001), Howard Peak initiated policy directives that helped to form the basis for the San Antonio Greenway System. During his tenure, a ballot initiative was put in place to provide financing for the planning and implementation of the Greenway Trail System, whose goal is to link all sections of San Antonio with green, sustainable alternative avenues for transportation and recreation. He is currently Chairman of the Linear Creekways (Greenways) Advisory Board. In this capacity, Mr. Peak is a huge proponent of the development of greenway trails, constantly looking for new opportunities where the greenway trail concept can be expanded in San Antonio.

In addition, his committee is essentially a citizen’s oversight committee for the continuing implementation of the current greenway system plan for San Antonio. The plan consists of a tripartite system along three major watersheds that include Leon Creek, Salado Creek, and the Medina River. The excitement of the projects lays in its diversity where Leon and Salado greenway trail development represent the best in urban greenway trail design and build. The Medina River Greenway Trail System is more rural in nature at this time, and presents a unique set of challenges also.

Photo of couple with Trail Mix sign
Sandy and Geoff Freethey of Utah

UTAH: Sandy and Geoff Freethey
Sandy serves as the Trail Mix Chairperson and Geoff serves as the Trail Mix hiking representative. As a wife and husband team they were instrumental in getting the Master Trail Plan for Grand County approved by Grand County Council and the Moab City Council, and they put in hundreds of volunteer hours to develop and improve trails near Moab.

Last year a small subcommittee was formed to update the Grand County Trail Master Plan. Sandy and Geoff took a leadership role with the committee and worked to substantially improve the document and present it to the Grand County Council and City Council for their approval. The Grand County Planning Commission and Grand County Council held public hearings before they adopted the plan on March 18, 2008. The City of Moab adopted the plan on May 13, 2008. Both entities included the newly adopted trail plan in their General Plans. All along the way, the Freethey edited the document to meet the concerns of the public and public officials.

Photo: of group with horse trailer
Members of the Virginia Horse Council

VIRGINIA: Sally Aungier
Sally Aungier, a dedicated leader of the Virginia Horse Council, has worked for many years to change state policy regarding equestrian accommodation in Virginia state parks. Sally devised a strategy for these policy changes and lobbied legislators and attended meetings for many years to get the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to add equestrian trails and campgrounds to the recreational opportunities available at state parks.

She was a strong supporter and participant in the Horse Council's annual Legislative Trail Ride, and lobbied for the 2002 state park bond package that funded equestrian improvements in state parks. She worked closely with DCR to educate management and park staff where equestrian use was accepted to design facilities and trailhead policies. She also worked closely with the Horse Council and equestrians in general to ensure that park rules were followed and manure was managed. Each year, the Horse Council educates trail riders about trail etiquette, including the importance of avoiding trails after heavy rains. This year, Sally helped put together an annual meeting and educational seminar that included sessions on developing and sustaining relationships with land managers and leaving no trace.

Kathleen Panek of West Virginia

WEST VIRGINIA: Kathleen Panek
In 2003 Kathleen was appointed Executive Director of West Virginia Rails-to-Trails Council (WVRTC) and spearheaded a project with the help of the National Park Service, other WVRTC members, and the State Tourism Division to print a Rail-Trails of West Virginia brochure. The initial 25,000 were quickly gone and Kathleen was able to enlist the financial help of West Virginia Trails Coalition and West Virginia Division of Health and Human Resources for another printing.

Following the disintegration of the West Virginia Trails Coalition in 2006, the WVRTC became the only statewide trail group in a position to speak out for trail issues in West Virginia. Kathleen, however, was a fighter. Kathleen continued to keep the organization alive, often using her own funds to do so. With the appointment of the West Virginia State Trail Coordinator in 2006, Kathleen gained an ally. Eventually the WVRTC has evolved into an advocacy arm for trails in the Legislative arena. A new website provides information about rail-trails in West Virginia. In addition to her work on trail issues, Kathleen has been called upon many times as a consultant and advisor to aspiring innkeepers who are interested in owning a bed and breakfast.

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