Trail Tracks is the monthly e-Newsletter from American Trails. Check the topics below for links to the world's most comprehensive online source for planning, designing, building, funding, managing, enhancing, and supporting trails and greenways.
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Policies and assessments for use of power-driven mobility devices on trails
March 15 was the date that Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations dealing with “other power-driven mobility devices” went into effect. The challenge for trail managers was to respond to a rule that would allow persons with mobility disabilities to drive virtually any vehicle on trails. We have gathered quite a few of the new policies to determine how land managing agencies have addressed the regulation of vehicles and other devices that can be used for accessibility. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of variation. Read more and see links to policy documents…
Congress passes Continuing Appropriations with major rescissions
The Continuing Appropriations Act, H.R. 1473 includes these highlights on Federal Highway Administration funding:
- FHWA obligation limitation and limitation on administrative expenses are continued at the FY 2010 level.
- There are no earmarks of FY 2011 funds in the Act.
- Rescission of $2.5 billion of funds with States to be given maximum flexibility in applying the rescission.
- Immediate rescission of unobligated balances of a number of authorization act earmarks from ISTEA and prior acts.
See details of the Continuing Resolution and rescissions...
Support trails and keep up to date on action by Congress and Federal agencies
American Trails “SUPPORTING TRAILS” pages provide the facts on current issues and debates and the ongoing efforts of American Trails to continue its 20 years of support for positive policies and funding for trails and greenways. Please join our efforts to document the value of trails and bicycle/pedestrian facilities as transportation infrastructure, and be an active and positive voice in the reauthorization process, economic stimulus proposals, and Federal land management agency budgets. We continuously add news and action items to these pages. Check back often and forward this link on through your networks…
American Trails members receive a discount on Trails.com subscription
American Trails and Trails.com are partners in bringing our members the best of both worlds— access to this country’s greatest trails and the support and education to ensure that trails are a part of our future. Join or renew your membership with American Trails and receive a 40% discounted rate (dropping the price to just $29.95) on an annual unlimited subscription for access to over 47,000 trails on Trails.com. (Once you renew, American Trails will provide you a special link to join Trails.com at the discounted rate. Please note, you cannot receive this deal by going directly to the Trails.com website. This is a benefit to American Trails members only.) Contact the American Trails office to obtain the link if you haven’t taken advantage of this great offer yet!. Learn more and join the American Trails Network…
Want to make a difference this summer? Volunteer with American Trails!
American Trails is looking for volunteers or interns to assist us in a variety of ways. You do not have to be local to volunteer— you can work from the convenience of your own home, on your schedule. We are looking for assistance with web based research, data entry, project assistance, and more. Interested? Email Candace Mitchell with your areas of interest and computer skills.
Plan a National Trails Day event and invite your Members of Congress!
Register now to hold an American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® event on June 4. This year’s theme is: “Made with all Natural Ingredients.” There has never been a more critical time to speak up for trails! This is the most important year ever to get Members of Congress to know why trails and greenways are critical to the health of our families and communities. We know about the endless benefits of trails. But, the most compelling cases to be made at this time are about the economic and health benefits of trails. Contact your Members of Congress – Senators and Representatives alike! Invite them to a trail ground-breaking, to a volunteer work day, or to a National Trails Day. Tell the media about these events too, and then send news clips to your Congressional offices. Tell them about your success stories and about the myriad of people of all ages and abilities that love and use these trails! Learn more and register your NTD event…
Safe Routes to School program seeks support for funding by April 21
National organization are urged to sign on to the letter in support of the Senate Safe Routes to School Bill (S. 800) are due by this Thursday, April 21. The legislation would maintain Safe Routes to School as a standalone transportation program and sustain funding at the FY09 level of $183 million per year. The bill was introduced by twelve Senators, led by Senators Harkin (D-IA), Sanders (D-VT), and Merkley (D-OR). Information is available from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership…
FWS Vision Study and deadline for comment: April 22 – EARTH DAY
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working on a new vision plan for the National Wildlife Refuge System, titled Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation. This effort is designed to improve how the Service conserves wildlife while providing wildlife-dependent uses. National Wildlife Refuge System vision. Comment on the draft vision document by April 22. Read more…
May 5th Deadline: Urgent action needed to fund Recreational Trails Program
A bi-partisan "Dear Colleague" letter is being circulated by Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) to ask Members of the House of Representatives to include funding for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) in the upcoming Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill which is now being written by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Urgent action is needed by Thursday, May 5, 2011: Please ask your Member of Congress to sign on to Rep. Petri’s and Michaud’s "Dear Colleague" letter by May 5, 2011, when the letter will close. Here is the list of 471 groups and agencies who are supporting the RTP, to illustrate the broad-based support for the RTP program. Read more…
Add your organization to the Recreational Trails Council of Advisors
Add your voice to the hundreds of groups and communities supporting the Recreational Trails Program. Invite your Members of Congress and other elected officials to visit a trail, see volunteers at work, or celebrate a trail opening. Tell the media, and send news clips to your Congressional offices. Read more about how you can support funding for trails and greenways and download the sign-on form to join the Recreational Trails Council of Advisors.
LWCF Action Alert: Clock is ticking on LWCF “Dear Colleague” letter!
Over the next few weeks while Congress is back at their in district offices over the recess, please reach out to urge Members of Congress to sign onto the “Dear Colleague” letter. American Trails is a proud member of the LWCF Coalition. Download a copy of the “Dear Colleague” letter and access additional information on the American Trails website. Read more…
Comment sought on U.S. Forest Service Planning Rule: May 16 Deadline
The proposed Forest Service Planning Rule would establish a new national framework to “develop land management plans that protect water and wildlife and promote vibrant communities.” The proposed rule includes new provisions to guide forest and watershed restoration and resilience, habitat protection, sustainable recreation, and management for multiple uses of the National Forest System, including timber. See details and resources…
New dog trail is something to bark about
To get things started the Ozark Greenways survey team thinking like a dog sniffed out an initial loop trail thru a vine clogged, densely wooded, storm ravaged section of the humane society property just a few steps outside their new shelter facility. A combination of volunteers from the humane society, Ozark Greenways and at last count four different Eagle Scouts teamed up and chipped away to achieved the initial clearing, grubbing, and removal of brush to carve out the current 1,100-foot wood chipped trail. Read more and see photos…
Resources and best practices sought on trail conflict and safety issues
California State Parks is studying trail use conflict, safety issues, and solutions with the help of contractor Alta Planning. They are seeking any study, strategy, contact, or other source of information on techniques for managing multiple user types on trails and shared-use paths. This report is not a trail user opinion survey; it is an attempt to find objective documentation of the issues, including success stories and failures, and the best practices for addressing them. Research collection and document review will be completed by April 30, 2011. For questions or to provide input, email Hannah Kapell, research coordinator, or call (510) 540-5008 Ext.111.
The real economics of trails and open space
It can't be easy for Congress and our Legislature to balance the needs of our country's budget with the needs of our communities. But while they slash budgets for the environment and recreation, they are overlooking one key factor: the real economic benefits of trails and open space. What Congress and our legislators should know is that one proven way to increase property values, encourage healthier lifestyles, reduce local tax burdens, and build a stronger sense of community is to invest in trails and open space. Read more…
”Discover Pass” could provide sustainable funding for WA state trails
Washington's dire budget deficit has slashed state recreation funding. Without new and dedicated sources of funding, many parks and state lands could close this year. In Olympia right now, lawmakers are grappling with a proposed solution called the Discover Pass: a vehicle access pass for all State Parks, DNR lands and WDFW lands that would cost $30 annually, or $10 per day. Read more…
Dr. Fred Pipkin conceived a vision of open space for Louisville
Dr. Pipkin, who died recently at the age of 85, dreamed of a contiguous green preserve of forested hills and valleys, protected for future generations, a quiet wilderness retreat from the surrounding metropolitan population and located only about 30 minutes from downtown Louisville. Dr. Pipkin also planned, laid out ,and built with the help of volunteers, the 6.3-mile Siltstone Trail, a mostly ridge-top trail that traversed the new expansion and afforded marvelous views of rolling forested hills. Read more…
Cameron Park Trails, Waco, Texas
Cameron Park features a designated National Recreation Trail system. In an area known for farmland, the trails zig zag and climb 100-foot bluffs that overlook the Brazos and Bosque Rivers. The trails also offer connections to other outdoor activities such as the Waco Paddling Trails and the Waco Riverwalk. The Waco Riverwalk is a lighted, concrete path that travels along both sides of the Brazos that connects Cameron Park with downtown Waco near the historic Suspension Bridge. Read more and see photos…
Webinar will be held on trail-use policies for power-driven mobility
American Trails will be hosting another webinar on how local and state trail managers are responding to the new rule on “other power-driven mobility devices.” On March 15, 2011 the Department of Justice (DOJ) revised rules took effect allowing anything with a motor that can be driven, regardless of size or horsepower, if it is driven by a person who has a mobility-related disability. As a follow-up to the February 23 webinar, the next webinar will show examples of how managers are implementing the new rule. Watch for more details to be sent in the coming weeks or contact American Trails to have your email added to the mailing list…
National Trails Training Partnership meets June 17 in Washington, DC
The National Trails Training Partnership is an alliance of federal and state agencies, organizations, colleges, and businesses working to publicize trail training programs and providers and promote cooperation on training efforts. Led by American Trails, NTTP also hosts an online clearinghouse of training and a wealth of technical resources. We invite anyone interested to join us at the next Partnership meeting in Washington DC. Read more about the National Trails Training Partnership…
Find workshops and training for trail skills across America
The National Trails Training Partnership is an effort by trails advocates to improve opportunities for training for the nationwide trails community. A wide variety of training is available for volunteers and professionals working to develop trails of all kinds. American Trails is working with agencies and organizations across America to promote trail-related training. See details on these and many more opportunities for training on trails and greenways topics in the Online Training Calendar...
Upcoming trail-related training opportunities
- May 15-19, 2011 - Abingdon, VA • 13th National Scenic and Historic Trails Conference
- May 23-26 - Breckenridge, CO • National Association of Recreation Resource Planners
- June 1-4 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada • International Snowmobile Congress 2011
- June 4 - American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®
- June 11 - National Get Outdoors Day
- June 19-22 - Washington, DC • American Horse Council National Issues Forum
- July 21-23 - Auburn AL • Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference
- August 21-24 - Minneapolis, MN • 2011 National Scenic Byways Conference
- September 22-25 - Bloomington, MN • National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council Conference
- October 2-5 - Fort Wayne, IN • Mid America Trails & Greenways Conference
Look for currently scheduled courses and conferences at www.TrailsTraining.net, sponsored by American Trails and the National Trails Training Partnership. Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at NTTP@AmericanTrails.org.
America’s Great Outdoors Report from US Department of Interior
According to the Department of the Interior, "Under the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, Interior will play a leading role in developing and implementing this partnership to restore and protect the health, heritage, natural resources, social and economic value of the Nation’s most significant ecosystems and provide greater public access to these natural areas. The 2012 Budget calls for a landmark investment of $5.5 billion for Interior's AGO programs and requests full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) land acquisition and grant conservation programs." Read more and download report…
Trail Fundamentals are cornerstones of Forest Service trail management
The USDA Forest Service has developed “Trail Fundamentals“ to provide a way to consistently record and communicate the intended design and management guidelines for trail design, construction, maintenance, and use. Trail Fundamentals are identified for individual trails and documented as part of Trail Management Objectives (TMOs) and are also used by other agencies and national trail partners. They are now available on the internet for general reference and use. Read more and download documents…
“Pathways for Play” best practices guidebook
Pathways for Play: Best Practices for Children, Families, and Communities is available at no cost to trail planners and others who wish to grow community capital by advocating for playful pathways. Data gathered at demonstration sites, developed as case studies for the guidebook, shows they have quickly become popular family destinations, and use by families has increased. Also, interactive tools on the supporting website www.pathwaysforplay.org allow families to share stories, photographs, and ideas, and discover books and downloadable seasonal activities to help maximize pathway enjoyment. Read more and order the Pathways for Play Guidebook…
Bollards become part of bicycle parking solution
Bicycle parking, with bike bollards as one top choice, is especially important to trendy "old-town" preserved and revived areas, the return to outdoor shopping malls, and the trend in new neighborhoods to create public centers offering shopping, dining and entertainment centered on areas favoring bike and pedestrian traffic. "Aesthetically, bike bollards are the ideal complement to older neighborhoods, and the brick buildings favored in newer outdoor malls built for charm as well as the relaxed atmosphere of bike and pedestrian traffic," said Brad Done of Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.” Read more and see photos…
Photo gallery: trail and greenway design under road bridges
Trails along streams are often crossed over by highway and railroad bridges. The first challenge is to design a trail that goes under the bridge with enough headroom. The second challenge is to provide a bench for the trail on a narrow, steeply-sloping riverbank. Retaining structures and vertical concrete walls are typical solutions. Armoring the trail edge with rock is a common solution where the slope down to the water is moderate. Large culverts may also provide the opportunity to cross under major roadways with minimal expense. Read more and see photo gallery…
Read more articles, studies, and resources…
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Photo at top: Foggy spring day on the trail at Point Reyes National Seashore; (photo by Stuart Macdonald)