Author: Stuart Macdonald

Giving Thanks

While our minds are on gratitude, and remembering our blessings, I would like to say thanks for what so many are giving. They are the people who are working for trails in every corner of America. They are creating trails that enrich our lives, inspire us to exercise, and lift up our spirits with connections to the natural world. So I’m thankful for– – Young men and women working for conservation corps on the hard tasks of building trails, fences, and rock walls – People everywhere volunteering for the dirty work of picking up trash, fixing the drainage, and...

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Korea Hosts Another Outstanding World Trails Conference

Once again trail leaders in Korea hosted an outstanding World Trails Conference. It was informative, productive and just plain fun! The event was held on Jeju Island, a sub-tropical province of Korea off that nation’s south coast. More than 17 nations participated from Uganda to Canada. This was the second year that American Trails was honored to participate. One of the outstanding features of the conference was the poster session where each nation displayed their favorite trail information and each participant gave a five-minute  presentation. This was incredibly informative. In addition there were plenary sessions including presentations ranging from...

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The Third Mode: towards a new transportation policy

Jeff Olson, a partner with Alta Planning + Design, has just written a new book called The Third Mode: Towards a Green Society. His goal is to clarify ways that our society can create better connections among people, nature, and the built environment. Some excerpts from The Third Mode: “U.S. federal transportation policy needs a reset, and that change has to come from a new vision of sustainable mobility as the core infrastructure to create livable communities. Without this kind of change, we are destined to keep making decisions that maintain the highways vs. transit paradox and leave the...

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Remembering Joe Shoemaker: Colorado greenway visionary

American Trails and the trails community nationwide mourns the passing of Joe Shoemaker in August, 2012. Before it was in vogue, Joe was one of the prime movers and initiators of what has now become a worldwide movement of planning and developing urban trails and greenway systems. Beginning in the early 1970’s, Joe, chaired a bi-partisan Mayor’s Committee— the Denver Platte River Development Committee (Later to become the Greenway Foundation, Inc.) that initiated the vision and implementation of the Denver Platte River Greenway— a continuous shared-use trail and paddleway running the length of the South Platte River through Denver,...

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10 tips for counting visitors on trails

By Yves Zsutty, Trail Manager, City of San Jose If you aren’t counting and surveying trail users, you may be missing an opportunity to better fund your program and help the community understand the value of your trail system or interconnected network of trails. Governing bodies, the public, granting agencies, and neighbors often ask how many people use or are expected to use a trail. Having a solid answer based on data can offer assurance, support funding for maintenance, address concerns, impact how you may design a project, and can make your grant funding applications more compelling. I’d like...

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American Trails strives to enrich the quality of life for all people and the sustainable development of communities by advancing and promoting the development, preservation, and enjoyment of diverse, high quality trails and greenways. Learn more at

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