Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
August 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.

On the trail in the high country! It’s the season for hiking and riding in the mountains and northern wilderness. It’s also the time when a lot of backcountry trail work gets done by volunteers, youth corps, and contractors. Learn more about trail care and trail work on our website.

In This Issue

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








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

Dayton Duncan & Chris Balish announced as Symposium Keynotes

Dayton Duncan has been a writer and filmmaker for over 20 years and is Ken Burn’s producing partner for the National Parks: America’s Best Idea documentary that was released last year. Duncan wrote and co-produced the 12-hour mini-series in which the birth of national parks is traced from the mid-1800s and follows the evolution of park creation over the course of 150 years. Dayton’s message is a timely one, especially with the trails community's interest in getting kids outdoors and healthy, and in creating good stewards of our public lands for the future.

Chris Balish is a nationally known keynote speaker on topics such as how to thrive in a down economy, active lifestyles, sustainable transportation, building green cities, sustainable development, promoting mass transit, bicycle commuting, and green living. He is a seven-time Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist, television news anchor and reporter, and a best selling author. His book How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Out of Life, was on’s environmental best seller list and NPR’s best seller list.

More information on Keynote speakers will be available soon. Check the Symposium webpage for current information.

Register online now for the American Trails National Symposium!

Recognizing that budgets are tight, the American Trails Board has once again decided to keep the registration rates the same as the last two Symposiums (and lower in some categories), and will not be raising the rates this year. Remember, American Trails members receive a substantial discount on the registration package. Not an American Trails member yet? Now is the perfect time to join! Join now andview the registration page for rates

Early registration deadline for Symposium is August 31

The early registration deadline for the 20th American Trails National Symposium is fast approaching. Featured and Mobile workshops for the conference fill up quickly, so it is recommended that you register as soon as possible. You must register by August 31 in order to take advantage of the discounted rate. Register now!

Schedule and day-by-day timeline for the Symposium is now online

The draft agenda for the American Trails National Symposium is listed in detail on the website. Check on pre and post Symposium workshops as well as the events for each day. Plenary sessions, field trips, workshops, and Exhibit Hall hours are all listed. Remember the schedule is subject to change, so check back often for the latest details! Check the current Symposium schedule online…

Submit your projects for our Creative Crossings Photo Gallery!

During the Symposium, trail project managers will have an opportunity to share the beauty of your trail crossings or bridges in the Creative Crossings Photo Gallery. Recent years have seen the construction of some strikingly beautiful and innovative trail bridge designs. American Trails would like to showcase those bridges and other trail crossings through a photo gallery to be displayed in the Exhibit Hall and on the American Trails website. Read more on submitting a Creative Crossings photo…

Thanks to the generous sponsors of the American Trails National Symposium!

We would like to thank the sponsors of the 20th American Trails National Symposium! Take a look at the list of current sponsors from across the country. These are the companies, communities, agencies, and organizations that make the largest trails conference in America possible. Please support our Symposium sponsors andlearn about sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities…

Chattanooga hotel and travel options are available… make plans now!

Three convenient and comfortable hotels will host the Symposium in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Chattanooga Marriott Hotel is 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 and there is a free electric shuttle that will take you to the Convention Center. We encourage you to make reservations early, and check on flight options and ground transportation for your trip. See hotel details and reservation information and check onChattanooga travel options…



ATTENTION: “America’s Great Outdoors” Listening Sessions scheduled!

Last April, at the White House Conference on America's Great Outdoors, President Obama signed a memo establishing the “America's Great Outdoors” Initiative to develop a conservation plan for the 21st century. Listening Sessions to discuss conservation, recreation, and reconnecting people to the outdoors are being held around the country. Find a Listening Session near you and learn how you can submit comments through the “America’s Great Outdoors” website...

Health and the Great Outdoors listening session Tuesday, Aug. 31

The official America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative Listening Session on Health and the Great Outdoors is to be held at Northwestern University in Chicago. Half of the session will involve comments by key federal officials, including top Department of Health and Human Services officials. There will be two panels, comprised of three people each. The “solutions” panel is expected to respond to questions from AGO leaders about how they have seen people become more active and healthy using the outdoors. The “barriers-buster” panel will discuss overcoming barriers to physical activity outdoors. More information will be available soon. Visit the DOI website and the American Trails website for more information…

Submit your ideas and join the “America’s Great Outdoors” conversation

President Obama has launched a national dialogue about conservation in America to learn about some of the smart, creative ways communities are conserving outdoor spaces. He wants your voice to be heard. Discussions including posting and answering questions such as: What obstacles exist to achieving your goals for conservation, recreation, or reconnecting people to the outdoors? How can the federal government be a more effective partner in helping to achieve conservation, recreation, or reconnecting people to the outdoors? What additional tools and resources would help your efforts be even more successful? Read more and post comments here…

Sign on as a Supporter of the Recreational Trails Program!

It is urgent to expand the voices supporting funding for trails and greenways. What will happen in your state if the Recreational Trails Program disappears? It is essential to get the thousands of trail advocates and project sponsors to think about that very real possibility. This is the most important year ever to get Members of Congress to know why RTP is important. Tell your Congressmembers! Invite them 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 greenwaysandsign-on as a member of the Recreational Trails Council of Advisors…

Full funding proposed for Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2009 (S. 2747) would ensure that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) would receive full funding at its congressionally authorized level of $900 million without further appropriation. Trails and greenways in communities and counties would receive new funding if the state-side LWCF program was revitalized.Learn more about the LWCF program and how to support the proposed funding...

Is a Segway a mobility device for trail users with disabilities?

The US Department of Justice recently decided that the Segway Personal Transporter is not a wheelchair because it was not designed primarily for use by individuals with disabilities. However, the new DOJ rule requires a public entity to make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of these kinds of devices by individuals with mobility disabilities. Read more about the new rule…

Stay up to date on issues in Congress, new bills, and policies affecting trails

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…


The summer issue of the American Trails Magazine is here!

The theme of the Summer 2010 issue of American Trails Magazine is “Greenways for more livable cities.” Get up to date information on the “Let’s Move” program from First Lady Michelle Obama, see which trails were awarded National Recreation Trail status this year, check in on the Universal Trail Assessment Process, and learn more about Chattanooga, Tennessee, the site of the 20th American Trails National Symposium. View the magazine online now…

Jenny Rigby joins Board of American Trails

Jenny Rigby, newest American Trails board member, is the founder of Acorn Naturalists and the Director of The Acorn Group. Her projects are nationally recognized, earning awards for Exhibit Design, Print and Media Design, and Interpretive Media Design. Jenny has served as an advisor on several national curriculum projects, directed a curriculum project for California Department of Education, and served as project manager of the California Plan for Environmental Education. Read more…

More than just a trail: Memphis greenway is bridging neighborhoods

The long-term vision is to restore 22 miles of the Wolf River, which was once a clean, tree-shaded, meandering stream that people fished in, swam in, and incorporated into the fabric of their daily lives. With this new version the river will help bring about a vast improvement in the quality of life for the people of Memphis, helping to restore pride in some of the city's most socially and economically distressed neighborhoods. Read the full article from The Commercial Appeal…

Bicyclist's $2.9 million verdict chills municipal trail access in CT

Faced with the prospect of paying biker MaryBeth Blonski $2.9 million and hoping to avoid any future liabilities, the Metropolitan District Commission is considering closing its 41 miles of trails through the 2,800 acres that make up the West Hartford and Farmington reservoirs, which annually draw more than 220,000 visitors. Eight hundred outdoor recreational enthusiasts, cyclists, inline skaters, and walkers turned out to urge the MDC to instead seek a legislative fix to the state's recreational liability law. Read the Connecticut Post article…

What it's like to be a bike cop on the Capital Crescent Trail

One of the basic skills for a bike patrol officer is learning how to pursue a suspect who figures getting away is as easy as heading for the nearest staircase. Bike cop Donald Brew of the Maryland National Capital Park Police says he’s been trained to handle those situations. Read the WTOP article…

Delaware Canal and Towpath reopens after $29 million in flood repairs

The Friends of the Delaware Canal were close to achieving its goal of a fully watered canal six years ago when three major back-to-back floods in 2004-06 damaged or destroyed numerous bridges and waste gates, and washed away whole sections of the towpath and miles and miles of towpath surface. In the wake of the repeated floods, critics floated the idea of filling in the waterway to avoid costly and repeated repair bills. Read the Bucks Local News article…


Trails website will green Florida tourism, Florida economy

Herb Hiller describes how a pair of nation-leading Florida institutions will launch a new state trails tourism website this fall. People worldwide will be able to book Florida trail vacations complete with places to stay and eat, as well as outfitters and tour operators. Florida’s Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) has supplied the data for more than 3,500 miles of cycling, hiking, paddling, and equestrian trails. Visit Florida is developing the website. It was OGT’s team-leading effectiveness in developing trails that in 2008 earned Florida charter honors from American Trails as #1 Trails State in America. Read more…

Equestrians spearhead trail project on Corps of Engineers land

In 2007, a member of Point Pleasant Trail Riders equestrian group contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake, Mississippi and expressed interest in getting assistance from the Corps for trail improvements. Over the next several months, discussion was expanded to include a marked multipurpose trail to be used by equestrians, hikers, and students from local schools and universities. Read more and see photos… 

“Let’s Move Outside” using urban parks and trails

Peter Harnik of the Trust for Public Land comments on Michelle Obama’s "Let's Move Outside" initiative. Improving access to parks, trails, and schoolyards has been consistently shown to increase physical activity. Neighborhood parks, trails, greenways, playgrounds, and community gardens all serve a function in improving children's health. We believe that “Let’s Move” must explicitly state that children should have access to parks and other public recreational spaces. Read more…

Featured National Recreation Trail: South Creek Greenway, Missouri

This eight-mile paved trail in Springfield, Missouri is not just for recreational use. It reaches a wide audience of income levels, ages, ethnicities, and physical abilities. It allows children to walk or bike to school safely— in a culture where kids are becoming obese at an epidemic rate. It helps manage urban storm water within its wide natural border— in an area where parking lots seem to outnumber trees. It raises property values and quality of life— in a world where value is taking on new meaning. See photos and read more…

Plans for New York State Canalway Water Trail announced

The New York State Canal Corporation has announced plans for the New York State Canalway Water Trail, a coordinated trail with boat launches, landings, and campsites along the 524-mile New York State Canal System. There are more than 100 launch and landing sites currently available to both motorized and non-motorized boaters along the Canal System that are now listed on the new interactive map on the Canal Corporation's website. Read more…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…


Come early! Stay late! Pre and post conference workshops

Join us for some great Featured (onsite) and Mobile (offsite) Workshops offered before and after the main American Trails National Symposium including:

  • The Art & Science of Trails
  • Expand Your Trail Crew Leader Skills
  • Become a Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer
  • Understanding Accessibility & Building Better Trails
  • Creating a Trail Maintenance Management Program
  • ArcGIS Basics Workshop (Beginner)
  • Horse Trails Caucus
  • Fundraising for Your Mission
  • Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) and High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) Coordinator Workshop
  • Trail Tools Equipment Expo
  • American Trails Adaptive Paddling Workshop
  • Rock Work Course

Learn about all the great options for training at the Symposium…

Florida academy addresses management of visitors in natural areas

Florida's Natural Areas Training Academy is a partnership of The Nature Conservancy and The University of Florida IFAS Extension. Courses offered in 2010-11 include Conservation Site Assessment and Planning, Managing Visitors and Volunteers in Natural Areas, Managing for Diversity Across Florida’s Unique Landscapes, Vegetation Monitoring in a Management Context, and Working Across Boundaries to Protect Ecosystems. Read more about courses…

Find workshops and training opportunities 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 in 2010 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 2010 opportunities for training on trails and greenways topics in theOnline Training Calendar…

  • August 26-29, 2010 — National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council 2010 Conference - Great Falls, MT
  • August 26-29, 2010 — Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School – Duluth, MN
  • September 11, 2010 — Basic Maintenance Skills for Appalachian Trail Volunteers - White Mountains, NH
  • September 13-17, 2010 — Principles & Techniques of Fundraising - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 19-24, 2010 — 2010 World Canals Conference - Rochester, NY
  • September 20, 2010 — Online Fundraising and Social Media - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 27 - Oct. 1, 2010 — Leave No Trace Stock Master Course - Hoosier National Forest, Bloomington, IN

Photo gallery: fencing and warning signs for trailside construction areas

Nearby construction can have a big impact on bike and pedestrian facilities. When work is being done on highways, streets, bridges, and intersections, it is vital to warn and accommodate people walking and bicycling. Photos show a variety of ways that trail users are warned and kept safe as they negotiate construction sites. The techniques are straightforward— fences, barricades, and warning signs— but the execution varies considerably. Read more and see photo gallery…

Task Force on Childhood Obesity addresses the "built environment"

For advocates of trails and better bicycle and pedestrian facilities, the "active living" recommendations are key: "Getting children more physically active, through quality physical education, recess, and other opportunities in and after school; addressing aspects of the built environment that make it difficult for children to walk or bike safely in their communities; and improving access to safe parks, playgrounds, and indoor and outdoor recreational facilities." Read more…

Trek Ten Trails Program helps kids and adults get active outdoors

The Friends of the Parks Foundation in Polk County, Florida began a simple hiking program meant to expose our local citizens to the numerous environmental lands purchased by the County. The Trek Ten Trails Program is an outstanding concept in leading people outside to enjoy their natural surroundings and experience the healthy benefits of becoming a regular trail user. Read more and see photos…

The Impact of Trails on Single Family Residential Property Values

Across the United States, many conversions of abandoned railroad rights-of-ways into trails have faced opposition from surrounding property owners. Much of the opposition derives from the fear that developing trails would cause a decrease in property values because of loss of privacy, increase in noise, traffic, litter, and crime. This study found that the Little Miami Scenic Trail positively impacts single-family residential property values, with sale prices increasing by $7.05 for every foot closer a property is located to the trail. Read more…

Doing your Part: A Quick Guide to Basic Outdoor Ethics

Bureau of Land Management presents guidelines to use while enjoying outdoor recreational activities. Most of these just require common sense; some are very specific to the particular activity. The guide includes the "Leave No Trace" guidelines, as well as concise ethics to minimize visitors’ impacts when hiking, biking, driving, hunting, and watching wildlife. See the outdoor ethics brochure…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…


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…


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20th American Trails National Symposium
Chattanooga, Tennessee
November 14-17, 2010

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Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
August 2010