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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):

  photo of boat
Scouting the Alabama Scenic River Trail

ALABAMA: Thornton Clark
Thornton Clark's knowledge of the river, boating in general, and his cooperation with others enabled the Alabama Scenic River Trail to progress from a vision to reality in only 18 months. Fred Couch initially had the vision of developing the longest water trail in any single state in the nation. He contacted a few key officials and acquaintances, including Thornton Clark of Montgomery, AL. A retired travel agent who has lived aboard a sailboat and has traveled the Atlantic seaboard and many intra-coastal waterways, Thornton also spent nine days of canoeing down the Alabama River with two other teenagers when he was 17 years old.

Thronton researched the history of the rivers and creeks along the proposed trail route. He made recommendations on the route and always had thorough justification backing his proposals. He developed the most thorough collection of GPS coordinates for facilities, campgrounds, and access points that have ever been put together for the region. Thornton attended meetings of trail planners, visited proposed portages, and traveled through Corps of Enginers locks. He worked tirelessly to assist those who were developing guidebooks, brochures, maps, and a website. He also provided leadership in planning the opening ceremony for the Alabama Scenic River Trail on June 6, 2008.

Photo of men working
Bert Turner of Arkansas

ARKANSAS: Bert Turner
Mr. Turner is a Certified Master Naturalist and retired employee of Rytheon. He devotes his time to equestrian trail development, working with the Master Gardeners and the Old Mill, and assisting the State and County in a voluntary basis with the development and protection of local arboretums.

A recent relocatee to the State of Arkansas, Mr. Turner has tireless energy and exhibits a can-do attitude to all projects he associates himself with. Recently, Mr. Turner has worked with an equestrian group and personally blazed trails on newly acquired City property. Last fall, Bert broke his leg cutting dead trees in a Park in Little Rock. He has been the driving force behind accomplishing a landscape renewal of the City’s Old Mill and this project has just won the State award for Master Gardener Project of the Year.

Mr. Turner's education includes a Doctor of Management, Southeastern Institute of Technology; Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California; and Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. He is currently an adjunct professor of management and otherwise retired.

  Photo of man with Smokey the Bear

Dale Shewalter of Arizona


ARIZONA: Dale Shewalter
As nearly 70 percent of the Arizona Trail is located on national forest lands, the implementation of the Trail made a significant leap forward when, in 1988, Shewalter became the first Arizona Trail Steward Coordinator under the sponsorship of the Kaibab National Forest. This Outdoor Recreation Planner position was made possible through funding from the Kaibab, Coronado, Tonto, and Coconino National Forests.

On July 1st of that year, seven miles of the proposed 50.5 mile Kaibab Plateau Trail were dedicated and opened to the public as the first segment of the Arizona Trail. The dedication on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon attracted 250 people to the remote site. Upon its completion in 1989 the Kaibab Plateau Trail became the first major leg of the Arizona Trail. In 1994 The Arizona Trail Association, the non-profit organization supporting the development of the Arizona Trail, was established. Dale has served continuously on the board since its creation, including a stint as President of the Board. He has spoken about the trail to numerous organizations. And he has continued to maintain and build the trail, with long service as a segment steward, as his health has allowed.

Photo of man hugging flowers
Ted Schofield of California

CALIFORNIA: Ted Schofield
Ted is Vice President of the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association SGWA). The retired Air Force and American Airlines pilot has been a member of SGWA for 14 years. Most of his volunteer time has been spent on trail patrols, trail maintenance, and restoration projects within the Wilderness. Ted has run the Earth Share Combined Giving Camaign in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The funds raised through this endeavor are used to help run the SGWA programs and maintain the high quality of stewardship in the Wilderness. As the Forest Service has cut funding Ted took over the fundraising activities. He has been highly visible in bringing the stewardship endeavors to the public by actively volunteering on trail work, but also by participating in the Forest Festival which is open to the public each August, and in the annual Fish Festival for abused and battered children. It is in these efforts that SGWA teaches the public about the importance of stewardship to the resources of the San Bernardino National Forest.

In 2007 when the Forest Service reduced seasonal trail crew activities, Ted completed a sawyer certification course so he could help remove the large number of fallen trees blocking the wilderness trails. He has led groups of volunteers in trail clearing, with two-man saws and hand tools as not power tools are allowed in Wilderness. Ted has also expanded fund raising to include film festivals.

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Kym Williams of Colorado


COLORADO: Kym Williams
Kym is intimately involved with and knowledgeable about all the trails in the Larimer County system. She literally wrote the book— our trail building and maintenance standards for the County based on best and current known practices and techniques in the nation. Her latest accomplishment was in the successful completion of the design, layout and construction of the 5.5-mile Blue Sky Trail, making possible a regional trail system connecting Devil’s Backbone Open Space with Coyote Ridge Natural Area and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, some 15 miles away.

There were no shortage of obstacles along the way, including challenging topography (including a formidable sandstone hogback cliff), sensitive cultural and natural resources (including archaeological features and rare plants), and a tenuous relationship with an involved and vested public that wouldn’t allow anything but the most innovative and sustainable trail-building, such as a cantilevered natural-surface walkway that blends into the natural setting, to be attempted. Kym boldly embraced and took on these challenges, but handled them with sensitivity so as to leave all parties pleased with the result. One primary way she helped complete the trail successfully was involving the public in trail building days to ensure their investment in the layout and construction. This trail is one of the premiere regional trails in the state!

Photo of trail workers

Ann Colson of Connecticut

For the past 10 years Ann has been the Trails Coordinator for the Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA), the oldest conservation organization in the state. As the Trails Coordinator, she is responsible for the "care and feeding" of over 800 miles of Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails, which traverse both public and private lands, utilizing a small army of dedicated volunteers. Not only does she make sure that each trail crew is properly manned, trained, and outfitted, she also soothes landowners who find illegal uses taking place on their sections of the trails, works to find re-routes when necessary, and is always on the lookout for that new link to expand the public’s hiking opportunities.

Since 2006 Ann has gone above and beyond her normal hectic work to achieve some major milestones. Each Trails Day Ann is responsible for collecting information on the various activities taking place around Connecticut and putting them in a guide for general distribution. This year, over 130 trail events took place in Connecticut; we believe that this is the single largest organized Trails Day in the country. In addition, Ann is in charge of the periodic revisions to the CFPA’s Walk Books, maps and guides to the organization’s Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails. For the first time in the history of the Walk Books, all of the maps were produced using GIS/GPS data.

  Photo of man on bike
Chip Kneavel of Delaware

DELAWARE: Thomas Kneavel
Chip Kneavel lives his passion for trails each and every day as Trail Crew Chief for Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation. Before his tenure with the state Chip spend six months through hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Love for wild places, interest in how things work, and his inquisitive nature lead him to apply for an opening on the trail crew for Delaware. For eight years now Chip has worked for the Division designing, constructing, and maintaining trails. His desire to learn, ability to teach, and willingness to help others has helped to highlight Delaware as a leader in sustainable trail design and construction.

Chip has also volunteered as a team leader for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy on maintenance projects for many years. Gathering information, being exposed to different ecosystems and innovative ways to work through trail challenges, and experiencing new trails wherever and whenever keeps Chip at the forefront of the trail design and development.

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Renee Blaney receiving a "Points of Light" Award

FLORIDA: Renee Blaney
As member and past President of the Ocala Mountain Biking Association (OMBA), Renee is an active, energetic leader of a vital group of volunteers who contributed 2,874 volunteer hours in 2007 to the development and maintenance of the very popular biking trails on the Cross Florida Greenway. Under Renee’s leadership, OMBA worked closely with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) to develop the off road bike trail network in the Santos area of the Cross Florida Greenway. Thanks to OMBA's strong volunteer support, the Santos trails received IMBA's "Epic Ride" designation in 2006, as the "best of the best" in mountain bike trails.

Renee has led OMBA to establish a volunteer Bike Patrol to enhance the safety of the trails for all trail users, and established the annual "Spring Break Fat Tire Festival" which attracts more than 300 participants. Renee commits her personal time and energy equally to the hard work and the inspiration involved in creating improvements for the trail, helping reduce trail user conflict and increasing trail visitation in a safe and controlled manner. She acts as a liaison with the DEP Office of Greenways & Trails and IMBA and helps ensure that the Cross Florida Greenway’s trails are well maintained and continue to enjoy a highly respected international profile. Renee was recognized for her tremendous support of trails with a Points of Light Award from Florida Governor Charlie Crist in April, 2008.

photo of work crew
Brian Bourne leading a work crew

ILLINOIS: Brian Bourne
As a self-confessed "trailoholic," whether as an equestrian, backpacker, mountain biker, trail runner, volunteer, crew leader, or whatever, Brian spends most of his time on trails. He has thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, and served as a founding member of the Southeast Endurance Riders Association as well as the War Eagle Trail Association. A longtime member of the American Endurance Ride Conference, Brian co-managed the War Eagle Endurance Ride in southern Alabama for 10 years.

Over a period of years he accumulated nearly 4,000 hours of volunteer trails service with the US Forest Service, culminating in his being presented with the Individual Volunteer Service Award for trail work by the USDA Forest Service. That passion led to Brian’s employment with the US Forest Service, and currently he serves as the Trails Specialist for the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois where he is in charge of the creation of a designated trail system consisting of 223 miles of equestrian and hiking trails through both wilderness and non-wilderness areas. Brian and his trail crew have been awarded the prestigious "Traditional Wilderness Skills and Minimum Tool Leadership Award" by the US Forest Service’s Region 9 in both 2006 and 2007 for their exceptional work constructing trails within the Lusk Creek Wilderness.

Photo of man with sign
Richard Kittok putting up trail signs

LOUISIANA: Richard Kittok
Richard "Spike" Kittok is president of the South Louisiana Trailblazers. The Trailblazers is a riding club which volunteers their time to maintain the riding trails in the Bonnet Carre Spillway. This 5.7-mile-long artificial channel is used to divert floodwater from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain. Mr. Kittok has been president for the past 4 years and along with club members has volunteered hundreds of hours in the spillway clearing of trails, grading the trails, and putting up signs so that the riding areas are safe for all riders.

The project started several years ago when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a cost-sharing agreement with the club to develop and maintain all terrain vehicle (ATV) areas in the Bonnet Carre Spillway. The South Louisiana Trailblazers, a family-oriented, off-highway vehicle (OHV) club, applied for a state grant through the Governors Office of Rural Development to build trails and various types of tracks and bridges, and install track markers. The club's responsibility is to design tracks and develop trails specifically aimed at certain size engines and age of riders. For example, small children on go-carts will have their own track while older riders looking for speed will use a designated acceleration track.

photo of trail workers
Volunteers on the Wachusetts Greenways

Wachusetts Greenways, founded by Colleen Abrams, is Massachusetts' premier citizen trail development organization. This grass roots team of volunteers works to expand a network of trails and open spaces linking our communities. They regularly meet to build and maintain trails, improve open spaces, and reach out to the six towns we serve to promote sustainable and environmentally-sensitive use of green spaces. They envision an expanded network of trails and roads for non-motorized recreation and transportation in central Massachusetts.

Their largest current project is the Mass Central Rail Trail, of which 13 miles have been completed and 30 miles are under development. Volunteers are welcome for a day of trail work or a long-term dedication of their talents in developing trails. Growing from under 40 members to over 1,200 in the last 10 years, Wachusett Greenways has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in private donations; garnered corporate, volunteer and municipal support; and constructed miles of rail trail at a fraction of the cost of rail trails developed elsewhere.

Gary Vodehnal of Montana

MONTANA: Gary Vodehnal
Gary serves as the Trails Program Coordinator for the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) in Bozeman, Montana. He works closely with the City of Bozeman and Gallatin County to help expand public non-motorized trails and pathways in the area. Over the past twelve years, GVLT has spearheaded the growth and improvement of Bozeman's "Main Street to the Mountains" trail system that links urban trails to the backcountry, building broad-based support for community trails and an extensive network of partnerships through the public, private and non-profits sectors. Last year the "Main Street to the Mountains" trail system reached 50 miles thanks in large part to the work and vision of GVLT and Gary Vodehnal.

His duties and accomplishments have included: helped write the Gallatin County Trails Plan and the City of Bozeman Parks Open Space and Trails Plan; wrote many successful grants to fund miles of new trails and related trail maintenance and infrastructure improvement projects; helped organize 16 National Trails Day Celebrations; created a community trails tool cache through donations and grants; manages an Adopt-A-Trail maintenance program with 12 partnering groups.

Photo of man with hoe
Jim Horton of North Carolina

Volunteer Jim Horton Has led the local chapter of International Mountain Bicycling Association, Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club, (BMCC) in Wilkesboro, North Carolina to construct over 25 miles of mulit-use trails on the Overmountian Victory National Historic Trail and the Dark Mountain National Recreational Trail. In addition, Mr. Horton worked with Eagle Scouts to complete four bridges on the Overmountain Victory Trail at W. Kerr Scott Lake. Under Mr. Horton’s Leadership, the BMCC worked in excess of 7,000 work hours in carrying out projects including trail construction, trail maintenance, storm downed tree removal. In addition he has assisting the Corps of Engineers in recruiting and developing partnerships which have greatly increased the ability of the Corps to manage and develop its trail systems.

Mr. Horton has worked closely with the Corps of Engineers in writing successful grants which have provided funding support funds for these trails. Mr. Horton work has led directly to gaining recognition of segments of the W. Kerr Scott trail systems as National Trails System. His planning skills have also led to many successful public events such as bike safety events for children and several annual mountain bike races which draw in participants from all over the United States. Thus his work has added greatly to the destination mountain biking and hiking and the growth of the region’s tourism.

Lynn Lightner of Nebraska

NEBRASKA: Lynn Lightner
On Saturday mornings during the summer of 2007, decking and side rails were installed on bridges along a 13-mile segment of the Homestead Recreational Trail between Lincoln and Cortland, in southeastern Nebraska. The owner of the stretch, the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (NRD), furnished the materials. Lynn Lightner furnished the labor and by fall, when all 12 bridges had been completed, he had saved the NRD approximately $100,000. The money saved was not all in labor. Lightner is a retired construction engineer and re-designed plans for each bridge, making it easier for volunteers to do the installations using fewer materials.

A large local trail group, the Great Plains Trails Network, pledged thousands of dollars in in-kind help and Lightner was given their e-mail addresses. Every week, Lightner would send an e-mail to the group of volunteers, specifying what bridge was being targeted that week, and every Saturday morning the volunteers were there. They started at daylight; Nebraska summers are hot AND humid. By August everyone knew the drill and the crew was installing railings to good-sized spans in under two hours. That kind of well-organized effort would never have happened without Lightner’s meticulous coordination. Oh yes, there was much more to his weekly preparations than sending an e-mail. When volunteers arrived at a bridge to begin work, the materials they’d need were already there. So was everything else they’d need; generators, a table saw station, drills, framing levels, hardware, water; all there thanks to Lightner’s steadfast dedication.

Photo of man with tools

Eric Anderson of New Hampshire


NEW HAMPSHIRE: Eric Anderson
Berlin is home to the newest edition of the New Hampshire State Park system, the 7500 acre Jericho Mountain State Park (JMSP). Managed by the NH Division of Parks and Recreation, Bureau of Trails and primarily funded by trail bike and ATV registrations, the park is expected to be a major asset in the revitalization of Berlin. The Androscoggin Valley ATV Club (AVATV) provides volunteer maintenance of other OHV trails in the area. AVATV then joined in as the official volunteer steward club for the park to assist the State with trail construction and ongoing maintenance.

Just as it expected to help revive the City’s economy, JMSP has already revived AVATV. Leading up to the initial opening of the park AVATV membership increased from 50 to roughly 250. The JMSP Trail Master's role is to coordinate club volunteers and to work directly with the State’s field crew for trail development and maintenance. Longtime Berlin resident and ATV enthusiast Erik Anderson fervently stepped up. Before, during and after the initial trails were opened it wasn’t (and still isn’t) uncommon to find Erik working tirelessly in the park almost every day of the week. Sometimes the tasks don’t come in quick enough for him. During the 2007 summer season Erik logged over 250 hours. Beyond volunteering his time for trail development, Erik also spends much time traversing the park in his orange "ATV TRAIL PATROL" vest looking for trail hazards, helping park guests in need, and informing other riders of the State’s OHRV laws and recommended safety practices.

Photo of woman with horse
Janice Elsishans of New Jersey

NEW JERSEY: Janice Elsishans
Over the course of the past 15 years, Janice introduced the sport of Competitive Mounted Orienteering to NJ. She realized that her Adopt-a-Trail in Mahlon Dickerson Reservation (Morris County, NJ) was an ideal place to Manage CMOs. Once or twice yearly, Janice is Ride Manager at Mahlon Dickerson. Always ready to hitch up her trailer and explore new trails, Janice collected information on every NJ trail she could find. She enlisted a small group of avid trail riders to Field Check trails in their parts of NJ. As a result, the very first NJ Horse Trails Book was published by the NJ Horse Council. An updated version, called Phase 2 is now selling to NJ trail riders as well as out of state riders, looking to use NJ trails.

Janice has been a NJ Horse Council member for over 15 years. She was asked to be on the NJHC Board and now functions as Corresponding Secretary. Since 2000, the NJHC has sent Janice as our NJ Representative to Conferences throughout the USA. Janice has returned, each time, eager to share the new information she has gained and promote Horse Trails in NJ. Lusscroft is Janice’s current Project. Over the past four years, Janice has spearheaded the Equestrian Segment of the Lusscroft Farm renovation and preservation. Another grant has been written and approved for 2008-09 work on the horse facilities. Janice’s efforts are showing progress and promise.

Richard Kozoll of New Mexico

NEW MEXICO: Dr. Richard Kozoll
In the village of Cuba, Dr. Kozoll is the founder of the Nacimiento Foundation. A new program, "Step into Cuba: Step for Health," is a multi-cultural, community-wide intervention to increase physical activity and reduce the prevalence of overweight, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The three-year project takes advantage of Cuba’s terrain to promote walking and other activities for people at risk. A plan is underway to create community-walking paths and improved exercise venues. Paths will interconnect with a 40 mile wilderness loop trail. In addition to a mentoring process which utilizes of a tiered activity level of achievable goals, walkers will be served with social activities that focus on outdoor activities, a new public garden, and a farmers market.

Dr. Kozoll has been an active volunteer for the Continental Divide Trail Alliance (CDTA) since 2005. Two goals are to help develop a community of volunteers who will champion the trail and eventually sponsor a community Youth Corps program to help build the local section of the trail. Dr. Kozoll has pursued training in CDTA’s Crew leadership and Explorer programs, and this has led to his many contributions as a crew leader for volunteer trail construction projects through out Colorado and New Mexico, and to route identification in and around his home town. Finally, due to his passion for the trail, he regularly represents the CDTA in New Mexico public meetings.

Photo of trail crew
Steve Hale of Nevada

NEVADA: Steve Hale
Steve Hale, Recreation Specialist on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is continually "turning dirt" to creatively develop new trail opportunities in the northern Nevada area around Lake Tahoe. By creating partnerships with many trail organizations, Steve has been a key player in generating trail planning, development, and maintenance work that involves over $1.75 million dollars that would otherwise not be happening.

Steve has laid out a new trail for construction next year that will complete a trail system connecting two states, three public agencies, and public easements through a private development. Fifty new trail signs in the most popular trail area near Reno, Nevada are now in place due to Steve’s two years success in working with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. Wooden trail intersection signs that were being destroyed by black bears in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness were replaced in June by sturdy metal posts Steve suggested as a Boy Scout Eagle project.

Photo of men with sign

At work on the Genesee Valley Greenway


NEW YORK: Edward Holmes - Friends of Genesee Valley Greenway
The Genesee Valley Greenway is a 90-mile public, multi-use trail and natural and historic resource corridor that follows the route of the Genesee Valley Canal and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Like thousands of other abandoned towpaths and rail beds across the country, the Genesee Valley Greenway provides opportunities for public recreation and an off-road link to communities, parks, and other trails and attractions in the region.

The Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway is governed by a 14 member Board of Directors composed of individuals living within the Greenway region. The board meets regularly with DEC and OPRHP to discuss issues and capital projects. Included on the board are the chairpersons of local committees that provide maintenance of sections of trail. Over the past three years (2005-07) it is estimated that more than 80 volunteers spent approximately 2000 hours each year clearing vegetation from the trail and historic structures, mowing, picking up trash, meeting to discuss trail planning and management, and organizing events. Volunteers also donated the use of their equipment and the necessary gas and oil as well as their mileage to reach their adopted sections.

Photo of Jim Holden
Jim Holden of Pennsylvania

Jim Holden is the President of the Allegheny Valley Trails Association, an all volunteer, non-profit organization, whose mission is: "the acquisition of abandoned railways in the Allegheny River watershed and their rehabilitation into multipurpose, non-motorized recreational trails." Jim has been involved in the AVTA as a volunteer since its founding in 1990. In that time, he has administered about $7 Million of grants for trail acquisition and construction, which has resulted in acquisition of 55 miles and construction of 46 miles of the Allegheny River Trail and the adjacent Sandy Creek Trail.

Jim personally helps to maintain the trails and keep the corridors mowed. Using creativity, vision, and comradery, Jim has what it takes to plan, acquire, build, maintain and promote trails and partnerships in his region. Jim is also the President of the newly-formed Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance, which is working to advocate and promote the completion of a mega-greenway system of over 200 miles of linking trails. Over the years, Jim has successfully engaged a multitude of partners, including the NPS Rivers & Trails Program, who assisted with the development of a Trail Feasibility Study in the 1980’s, Trail Town public workshops in 2006, and creation of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance in 2007. Jim truly has a big vision, and is making the vision a reality, mile by mile.

Photo of Bob Richards
Robert Richards of Tennessee

TENNESSEE: Robert Richards
In his professional position as the TN Greenways and Trails Coordinator Mr. Richards has been responsible for the creation of a statewide Geographic Information System for Greenways and Trails. This work involved coordinating with parks, recreation and non-profit organizations across the state to gather the most up to date information about all types of trails. Mr. Richards professional work has also included trail education/information and he was responsible for updating and publishing the manual “Pathways to Trail Building - 4th Edition of the Tennessee Recreation Trails Manual” which has been made available to individuals and groups all across the state. Additionally, he edits the bimonthly Greenways and Trails Tidbits newsletter which provides trails information for both non-motorized and motorized trails.

Mr. Richards was Chair of the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association, Resource Management Branch. In this role he was responsible to develop the content for the Resource Management workshop and the state conference which included sessions on trail construction and maintenance.Mr. Richards has volunteered to provide assistance to one non-profit group, the Friends of Beaman Park, on trail design, volunteer training and trail construction projects. For National Trails Day in 2007, he designed and coordinated volunteers to construct a 56-foot long pedestrian bridge over a creek in the park.


Mike Cox of Texas


TEXAS: Mike Cox
The City of Waco Parks and Recreation Department offers a free lunchtime hiking program that takes citizens winding through Cameron Park’s extensive 20 mile off road trail system.

Mike Cox, a regular participant in the hiking program, noticed trash near the steep slope adjacent to Jacob’s Ladder, one of the park’s more popular trail features, and decided to clean the area himself. Mike took it upon himself to arrive early to the lunchtime hike each Tuesday and Thursday to clean the renegade trash in this challenging terrain. In addition to Jacob’s Ladder, he also took trash bags and a picker on each hike to rid the trails of litter. Mike often picked up 2-3 bags of trash during each hike.

Over the last two years, Mike has picked up well over 200 bags of trash and he continues to monitor the area around Jacob’s Ladder. In a time when so many people are looking for others to clean their city, Mike took the job into his own hands. If everyone had Mike’s attitude, willingness, and sense of responsibility to do their part concerning litter, our parks would be a litter free place for all to enjoy.

Photo of man on bike
John Knudson of Utah

UTAH: John Knudson
John has been a constant and committed force for trails in Utah for the last 16 years. From David Olsen, Moab City parks planner and member of the Utah Recreational Trails Advisory Council: "I have known John Knudson for 16 years and appreciate his great attitude to help people and communities to get trail projects planned, approved, executed and completed. He has helped the City of Moab, Grand County and BLM on several great trail projects in the area, and we love working with him. John is a great leader. John visits all the communities and government entities that prepare trail grant applications. He gives good advice, ideas and support."

From Sean Damitz, Director of the Utah Conservation Corps: "For many years John has maximized limited resources to support trail users and the thousands of miles of trails they use within the state. He has worked especially close with state park supervisors in improving trail networks within Utah State Parks on extremely tight budgets."

John has dedicated most of his career to the service of Utah’s State Parks and the trails within this state. He has personally gained intimate knowledge of the creation and maintenance of trails by both beating the ground with a Pulaski and pushing the paperwork that makes the funding and logistics work. Furthermore, John is committed to educating the state’s trail professionals from all different agencies through classes and workshops he has gained funding for over the years.

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Observation deck on the Tutelo Birding Trail

VIRGINIA: Brian Detweiler
Since joining the staff at Occoneechee State Park, Brian Detweiler has made great strides in adding new trail to the park, while maintaining almost 15 miles of existing trail. The addition of the Tutelo Birding Trail has been one of Brian’s most outstanding accomplishments. Through effective use of available resources, Brian has been able to enhance the existing trail system in the park.

Planning for the Tutelo Trail had begun in 2002, before Brian came on board. The initial impetus for this trail was during the development of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Birding and Wildlife Trail System, with Occoneechee included as a stop along the trail. The goal was to enhance the experience for visitors and provide additional opportunities for birding enthusiasts. Through Brian's leadership and hard work, the Tutelo Birding Trail at Occoneechee State Park is now a reality. The major work on the 1.3-mile trail was finished during the winter of 2007, including a wildlife observation deck. Brian oversaw construction, utilizing part-time and volunteer labor to assist with the trail work, including the Youth Conservation Corps crew assigned to the project.

Photo of men with saws
Tom Mix heading off to work

Tom is a volunteer who works with every public agency on the Olympic Peninsula to construct and maintain trail, plan trail work, and recommend trail use and policy changes. A retired Boeing executive, he has left the corporate world and has taken up the chainsaw and chaps as his new work gear. Tom patiently worked through the challenges of required chain saw certifications for the federal agencies, so that he can operate a saw to open trails for Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. Diligent about following safety regulations, he ensures that all those working with him do the same.

In Wilderness areas, chainsaws are not allowed, so his next challenge was to become certified at the highest level for operation of the cross cut saw. He has become so skilled that he now teaches cross cut saw certification classes for Forest Service and Park Service employees. He also learned the skill of sharpening cross cut saws, and he had to travel a ways to find someone who could teach him, and sharpens saws for anyone who needs it. His wife says Tom is most happy when he can learn something new and share it with others.

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Bill Queen of West Virginia

When Bill Queen learned no agency in West Virginia had the authority to designate a stream as a water trail, he got the WV Division of Natural Resources to give them a letter acknowledging the Walhonde Water Trail existed. After four years of hard work and thousands of hours of volunteer time but southern West Virginia has a sanctioned Water Recreation Trail. Partly because of these difficulties, the WV Recreational Trail Advisory Board is addressing this issue and may adopt criteria for designating water trails soon.

Under Bill Queen’s leadership, signs were installed directing visitors to the public access points that already exist along the rivers and pointing out the historic locks and dams that were used until shortly before the Civil War to bring coal and timber out of the Coal River watershed. To publicize the water trail the Group developed a trail map and brochure (see copy enclosed) and has created an annual “Tour de Coal” float trip down the lower eleven miles of the Coal River. Bill’s legacy doesn’t end there. The group is continuing his long-term plans to compliment the water-based trail system with a “Scenic Backways” system on roads that parallel the Big, Little and Lower Coal Rivers. The concept of a water and Highway based trail system according to Queen "...will provide the three county region with a unified recreational based plan based on the Coal Rivers." He noted, "The growing tourism business coupled with the large (500,000) local population base makes the Coal River a natural resource that can help grow the regions economy."

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

Read the details of winners of the 2008 National Trails Awards and awards from 2006 - 2004 - 2002 - 2000

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