Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
April 2010

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.

Save the date: November 14-17, 2010. We’re looking forward to the 20th American Trails National Symposium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hosted every two years by American Trails with a legion of supporters, this is the largest gathering of the nationwide trails and greenways community. See links below to learn more about presentations, hotels, awards, and sponsorship opportunities.

Special thanks to the sponsor of this issue:
MaxiForce Traffic Control Bollards

In This Issue

20th AMERICAN TRAILS NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: November 14-17, 2010 ~ Chattanooga, TN

ALERTS

NEWS

FEATURES

TRAINING & EDUCATION

NEW RESOURCES

JOIN THE AMERICAN TRAILS NETWORK

QUICK LINKS


20th AMERICAN TRAILS NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: November 14-17, 2010 ~ Chattanooga, TN

April 16 is the deadline to submit proposals for presentations

Last call to submit ideas for presentations for the American Trails National Symposium is approaching fast. We expect to offer 60 concurrent sessions that explore the Symposium’s theme: “Trails: The Green Way for America.” April 16 is the deadline for proposals. View theSymposium’s theme and learn how to submit a proposal for the Symposium…

Chattanooga hotel information for the Symposium is now online

Three convenient and comfortable hotels will host the Symposium in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Chattanooga Marriott Hotel is conveniently connected to the Convention Center and the Staybridge Suites hotel is located right next door. The other host hotel, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, is within walking distance. We encourage you to make reservations early, as there are a limited number of rooms at the rates provided. See hotel details and reservation information...

"Kids and Trails" Award is a new category for recognition at the Symposium

This new award honors efforts to engage children and youth in outdoor experiences using, but not limited to, trails. Creative, interpretive, educational and/or recreational design components are included along with innovative programs, which stimulate kid's imaginations and promote their interest in and appreciation for the natural environment while developing healthy life styles. Download the nomination form for the Kids & Trails Award...

Nominations are open for the National Trails Awards

The National Trails Awards celebrate the exemplary people across the landscape of America who are working to create a national system of trails to meet the recreation, health, and travel needs of all Americans. American Trails will honor outstanding efforts made by agencies, trail professionals, the private sector, corporations, media, and others at the American Trails National Symposium. The deadline for nominations is June 30, 2010. See all the award categories and download the nomination form...

Join our generous Sponsors in supporting the Symposium

We’d like to thank the many sponsors who are making possible the 20th American Trails National Symposium. Opportunities for sponsorships, as well as exhibiting at the Symposium, are still available. We would like to extend the invitation to all businesses, as well as agencies and organizations, to network with the nationwide trails community and maximize your visibility and message. Please support our Symposium Sponsors and learn about sponsorship opportunities...

ALERTS

April 16 is deadline for the Coalition for Recreational Trails Award nominations

Nominations are still open for the 2010 Achievement Awards for projects making outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program funds. The Coalition for Recreational Trails is working with national and regional trail-related organizations across America to build awareness of this vital funding program as Congress heads toward reauthorization of the federal transportation funding legislation. Read more and download the nomination form...

First Lady Michelle Obama launches the Let’s Move! Campaign

Let’s Move! is a nationwide campaign to rally the country around a single and very ambitious goal: to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation, so that kids born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention children need 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. Trails can be part of the solution! Learn more about the Let’s Move campaign...

Active Community Transportation Act would fund walking and bicycling

The Active Community Transportation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4722) is proposed to be incorporated into federal transportation reauthorization. The goal is to help communities “connect people with public transportation, workplaces, schools, residents, businesses, recreation areas, and other community activity centers.” The bill is a major effort of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy which is encouraging supporters to ask their U.S. Representative to cosponsor the legislation. See details and how to support the bill, with links to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s advocacy efforts…

National Discovery Trails Act of 2010 introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes

The National Discovery Trails Act of 2010 would add a third long-distance national trails category called National Discovery Trails. They would tie together historic and scenic trails and connect them with population centers from small towns to big cities. The legislation would also designate the American Discovery Trail as the first National Discovery Trail and the first non-motorized way to cross the entire country. The bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.  Read more about the National Discovery Trails Act…

American Trails Online Store is your source for the best trail books

Purchase books and memberships through the American Trails Online Store. You’ll find a variety of publications that are the best in the trails industry that will help your organization successfully build and maintain sustainable trails of all types. Visit the Online Store today…

Stay on top of critical issues affecting trails with our “Supporting Trails” web pages

American Trails “Supporting Trails” web pages include economic stimulus opportunities, bills in Congress, news of federal agency and outdoor recreation budgets, and the next phase of Highway Trust Fund programs, which funds the Recreational Trails Program, Transportation Enhancements, and others important to trails. 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…

NEWS

White House holds conference on America's Great Outdoors

American Trails has been invited to attend the White House Conference on America's Great Outdoors on April 16 in Washington DC. Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior; and Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture are leading the conference, which will address the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans and American families to the outdoors. Read more…

A one-year extension of Surface Transportation funding programs

SAFETEA-LU expired on September 30, 2009. Extension #4 is extended through March 28, 2010. Surface Transportation Authorization discussions continue. Read more...

Secretary of Transportation proposes equality for biking and walking

"This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized," said US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to the League of American Bicyclists Conference. "We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects." Sec. LaHood also announced key recommendations for state DOTs and communities to include “convenient access for people of all ages and abilities” and establishing “minimum design standards.” Read more...  

Yakima, WA finds trails are a “tangible part of quality of life”

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports, “In recent years, Yakima County has closed all but one park and is looking for a group or organization to take over operations at its remaining facility, Eschbach Park. As local tax dollars for recreation have declined, trail systems operated or being developed by non-profit organizations, such as the Yakima Greenway Foundation and the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy, have held a bit steadier.” Read more…

National Parks promoted as places for healthy physical activity

The “Health, Recreation, and our National Parks” report provides a vision and recommendations to encourage the National Park Service to manage and promote parks as places for people to take part in physically active experiences and not just to “see the parks,” thus contributing to a healthier nation. The National Park Service has a rich history of preserving special places that inspire and enrich our lives. National parks provide opportunities for improving America’s intellectual, physical, and spiritual well being. Read more about the report and its findings…

Equestrian volunteers build multi-use trail system at NC landfill

A nearly 300-acre trail complex debuted on a buffer area near a retired section of the Davidson County, North Carolina landfill. Volunteers from local horse riding clubs completely built the trails at no cost to county taxpayers. Members from the Davidson County Foundation for Tourism Recreation Investment Partnership also helped with the trails. The Hamby Creek Trails offer an opportunity for horseback riders, hikers, and bikers to walk or ride. Read more…

FEATURES

Tennessee Riverwalk along Chattanooga’s major river helped spur urban revival

Now into its second decade of development, the Tennessee Riverwalk is working towards a 20-mile greenway through Chattanooga. The 21st Century Waterfront Plan represents a major portion of the Tennessee Riverwalk Master Plan and stands as a testament to Chattanooga’s ability to forge bold visions punctuated by aggressive implementation. It is a blueprint for a riverfront without rival. Read more and see photos...

‘Twenty life lessons from the trail,” by Ronald R. Bearwald

Traveling in a chosen mode at a pace that allows us to immerse ourselves in the surrounding environment far surpasses what we might experience as a passerby in a speeding car. In addition to the scenery, serenity, stimulation, and the intrinsic rewards that come with walking, hiking, riding, and climbing, the pathway uniquely presents life “lessons.” The trail can be a great teacher if we allow ourselves to reflect on the nature of our experience. In fact, the trail is a perfect metaphor for life itself. Read the 20 life lessons from the trail…

Beneficial Designs works for accessible trails through research, design, and education

Beneficial Designs develops assessment systems and devices to give people the information they need to access a variety of environments. Other work involves new technologies to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. According to founder Peter Axelson, “We are developing new technologies with USDA and FHWA through government-funded research and development that will improve the efficiency of conducting assessments of trails and public rights-of-ways.” Read more about current projects…

Featured National Recreation Trail: Austin's Trail at Lady Bird Lake

The Trail at Lady Bird Lake is one of the most well-used trails in America. Formerly called Town Lake Trail, the 10-mile path was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1975. The trail came to life during the 1970s thanks to a public-private civic effort led by the Citizen’s Committee for a More Beautiful Town Lake and its Honorary Chairwoman, Lady Bird Johnson. The Town Lake Trail Foundation (now The Trail Foundation) works to ensure that the Trail remains one of Austin’s outstanding places. Read the article and see photos of the trail…

Chugach National Forest dedicated as a "children’s forest"

The Chugach Children’s Forest is Alaska’s flagship approach to engaging local communities, reaching underserved populations, and empowering our next generation of public land stewards: our youth. The designation of the Chugach National Forest as a children’s forest puts the Forest Service at the forefront of a growing movement to get kids and their families back outside. It also provides a model for the Forest Service and its community partners to inspire citizens to rediscover and reimagine America’s national forests. Read more…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…

TRAINING & EDUCATION

Trails training opportunities offered for all interests

A wide variety of training is available during 2010 for volunteers and professionals working to develop trails of all kinds. American Trails and the National Trails Training Partnership are working with agencies and organizations across America to promote trail-related training. Learn about key training providers…

Set the stage for water trails: a new workshop on paddling trails

A water trail guides you through the unscripted tangent of land and sea, taking all the best of both. Water trails demand not only something upon which you can float, but they demand that you know how to use that float, as well as the dynamics of the water. As with all trails, the user of the water trail can benefit greatly from detailed and objective information about what they can expect when they venture onto this stage. Read more about the critical elements of water trails and their use...

“Trails: The Green Way for America” is theme for 2010 Symposium programs

The Symposium provides your best opportunity to learn essential techniques for planning, designing, constructing, and managing trails. The whole spectrum of the trails world is covered, from urban bikeways to wilderness pathways, and both non-motorized and motorized activities. This year’s theme is “Trails: The Green Way for America,” highlighting the benefit of trails to America’s economy and environment. Online registration for the Symposium begins May 1, 2010. Read more about the Symposium…

National Trails Training Partnership: your link to training and education

American Trails is working with agencies and organizations across America to promote trail-related training. The National Trails Training Partnership is an effort by trails advocates to improve opportunities for training for the nationwide trails community. The goal of the Partnership is to work with agencies and trails organizations that are involved in education to make training more available.  See more resources for training and education…

Online Training Calendar covers classes and conferences for 2010

We are constantly updating the online calendar of workshops, seminars, and important conferences, all related to trails and organizational development. Staff as well as volunteers will find educational opportunities for trail planning, development, and management skills. See details on these and many more training sessions, and be sure to let us know if you are sponsoring a trail-related training. See the Online Training Calendar…

2010:

  • April 16-18 - Cascade Locks, OR - Trail Keepers of Oregon Trail Skills College
  • April 20 - Seyon Ranch in Groton, VT - Vermont Trails and Greenways Annual Meeting
  • April 21-23 - Cambria, CA - 2010 California Trails & Greenways Conference
  • April 28-29 - Martinsville, IN - Accessible Trails Training Course: 21st Century Trails
  • May 14-16 - Oakridge, OR - High Cascade Forest Volunteers Trail Skills College
  • May 15-17 - Guadalajara, Mexico - International Ciclovia – Car Free Sunday Study Tour
  • May 18-20 - Portland, OR - Joint Conference: River Management Society and National Association of Recreation Resource Planners
  • May 24-28 - Albuquerque, NM - National Landscape Conservation System Science Symposium; includes National Scenic and Historic Trails
  • June 10-12 - Great Barrington, MA - Northeast Trail Symposium
  • June 16-20 - Marathon County, WI - Ice Age Trail University Mobile Skills Crew Training
  • Nov. 14-17, 2010 — 20th American Trails National Symposium: Chattanooga, TN - Read more...
NEW RESOURCES

ExplorePAtrails.com Empowers Its Users

How much do Pennsylvanians care about trails and greenways? According to the recently published Pennsylvania Outdoors: The Keystone for Healthy Living, nearly two-thirds of the state’s residents believe it is very or extremely important to build more trails and greenways for pedestrian and cycling paths. That sentiment was clearly echoed in the initial response to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation Natural Resources’ (DCNR) new trails website. ExplorePAtrails.com users can search for all kinds of trails anywhere in PA and get descriptions, maps, and custom driving directions, as well as upload their own photos, reviews, and more. Explore Pennsylvania now…

 

Walking the Walk: how walkability raises home values in U.S. cities

Joe Cortright, writing for CEOs for Cities, finds that “the upheaval in financing markets, the dramatic decline in housing prices, retrenchment in the retail sector, and the ongoing restructuring of the automobile industry are all harbingers of change for the nation’s cities. Continued uncertainty about future energy prices and the need to deal aggressively with climate change will demand new strategies in the years ahead. Our research suggests that walkability is already an important component of the value proposition of the nation’s cities, and that improving walkability can be an important key to their future as well.” Read more…

Asphalt mix developed for better durability with snowmobile use

The Michigan Snowmobile Association has spent years working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the testing and funding of suitable asphalt mixes. DNR, after years of asphalt mix research, contracted for the installation of eight miles of trail surfacing on the 92-mile Fred Meijer/White Pine Trail. This trail surfacing project used an asphalt mix that was developed to better withstand snowmobile traffic during the winter months, and to provide a more durable surface for summer trail use. Read the full report…


Examples of signs stating rules for trail use at access points and trailheads

Our new “Cool Trail Solutions” gallery provides photos of signs that teach or remind users what is expected of them. Signs may cajole, plead, explain, or threaten the user entering a park or trail. Trails and parks have many variations in what is allowed, so it is important to state clearly what is essential. Signs can also encourage more responsibility on the part of the user, such as taking away trash and being aware of other users.  See photos and project examples…

Schuylkill River Greenway land deals benefit to both industry and public access

With the popularity of the city’s bikeways, an increased interest in leading healthy lifestyles, growing concern for the environment, and the need for sustainable economic development, the Columbus Bikeways Master Plan will guide the development of a world-class transportation system that features bicycling and walking. The plan includes many initiatives and program goals. See details and maps…

New book reviews: trail planning, and the NEPA process

Trail Planning for California Communities offers planners, advocates, developers, and trail managers a comprehensive approach for transforming their vision into reality. The NEPA Book is subtitled “A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Comply with the National Environmental Protection Act.“ Read full reviews of both books…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…

JOIN THE AMERICAN TRAILS NETWORK

Help American Trails fight for funding and support for trails

Now is a great time to join American Trails to help us advocate for trails and greenways of every kind. With your help, we can increase funding for trails, keep more trails open, and improve the health and well being of Americans of all ages and abilities. Please help us continue to serve you and the trails community by enlisting a new member or renewing your own membership today. Give the gift that makes a difference ~ an American Trails membership…

QUICK LINKS


Header photo by Stuart Macdonald



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Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
April 2010