Author: Stuart Macdonald

Trail politics: it’s all local

Somewhat dazed and battered by our democratic process, advocates for trails and bicycle-pedestrian programs are taking a deep breath. So what just happened with funding? It’s the usual good news and bad news. But one thing we should all take note of, is the shift to more local control over funding. I’m sure everybody is tired of alerts to call your members of Congress. Now, we think it’s time to shift attention from Washington to the State capitol and the county courthouse. Our attention needs to be on our policy makers in State and local governments. One issue with...

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Out-gunned and under-taxed

I am a long-time bicycle rider and hiker, and professionally work to get more biking and walking on public lands. My opinion continues to be that the bike/ped community got reductions in the programs because they don’t contribute directly as bicyclists and pedestrians to the funding. Until some sort of way is devised for them to be “taxed” and have the funds go to FHWA for redistribution, the opinions and action of opponents of funding bike/ped facilities with gasoline taxes won’t change. Expounding on and documenting the economic benefits of trails during this reauthorization struggle was the wrong strategy...

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Trails in a transportation world

We suddenly have a brave new world for federal funding of bicycling and walking facilities. Most people thought the programs we depend on would just keep getting renewed. The good news is there is still broad eligibility for trails and  bikeways. The bad news is there is more potential competition for less money, and the States can simply opt out of the programs. The Recreational Trails Program is specifically funded at $85 million a year for two years. But again, individual States can choose to spend their money on other eligible projects. It will be very interesting to see...

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Sustaining communities with trails and open space

By Roger Bell The Redlands Conservancy recently held the first of this spring’s “Trails at Ten” events.  Over 100 people, including a lot of kids, attended to learn more about the flora and fauna of Oakmont Park and Trail, hear about the importance of “leave no trace” from an Eagle Scout, and to hike several miles on a beautiful day in a scenic, preserved environment. It was a special day indeed.  As a Board member of the Conservancy and one of the founders of the Redlands Sustainability Network, I came back from the event asking myself a pertinent question: ...

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The longest trail starts here

We usually set out on on a trail knowing how far we’ll go and where it ends. However, the journey to secure reliable funding for our trails and public lands is the trail that never ends. If you look back at all the alerts and action items we’ve sent out, it seems like funding has become a perpetual crisis. Maybe that’s an accurate description for the years since the last funding bill for transportation and trails expired in 2009. Even the military is under pressure to justify its expenditures and find ways to save money. We’re in the same...

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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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