Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
December 2010

Trail Tracks 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.

In This Issue

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

Over 600 people attended the 20th American Trails National Symposium in the beautiful outdoor community of Chattanooga, Tennessee. We’d like to thank our local hosts and volunteers, the dozens of speakers, all of the attendees that shared their success stories and lessons learned, and the many sponsors who all made the conference possible!









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

Thanks to American Trails National Symposium sponsors!

We would like to thank the sponsors of the 20th American Trails National Symposium held in Chattanooga, TN last month! Thanks to them we were able to pull off another successful conference and create an exceptional “indoor trails and greenways” exhibit hall! 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 and learn about their great products and services...


House votes to extend Federal trails and transportation funding to Sept. 30, 2011!

The House passed H.R. 3082 (Continuing Appropriations Act) to continue the existing SAFETEA-LU surface transportation program. Trails and bike/ped programs will be extended until the end of the current federal fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2011). It is also possible that SAFETEA-LU will be extended an additional year to let the president and Congress elected in November 2012 deal with it. Read more about the debate over reauthorization of federal trails and transportation funding...

A Holiday "Thank You" Gift Offer from American Trails

Even in tough fiscal times voters across the nation have been supporting trails, greenways, and open space initiatives because they see the investment value. American Trails helps keep this vital movement alive and growing, and we need your help to continue this critical advocacy! We hope you will make a special year-end, tax-deductible gift to American Trails today! And, as a special thank you for your support, you will receive a signed copy of Trail Tales (a $15 value), compliments of our Vice-Chair, Roger Bell. People who have received it so far love Roger’s poetic and humorous book which talks about the laughter, the adventure, the woes, and the memories of 35 years of trailbuilding! Make a tax-deductible donation of $25 or more or join American Trails and it’s yours! Start the year off right with some fun and inspiration (and a “trip down memory lane” for many) ~ give a gift to American Trails and get a gift for yourself or a friend!

Last chance to enter 2010 American Trails website and photo contests

There is still time to enter our two 2010 contests, but contact us NOW if you're interested. American Trails sponsors an annual contest for photographs of designated National Recreation Trails across the country. We also sponsor the American Trails website contest. Both are great opportunities to highlight a favorite trail or online resource. See details on the National Recreation Trails Photo Contest and the American Trails Website Contest…

Moving Outdoors in Nature Act would fund outdoor activity programs

The “Moving Outdoors in Nature (MONA) Act of 2010” (H.R. 6426) was introduced by Rep. Ronald Kind (D-WI). It would fund $165 million over three years to “authorize the Secretary of the Interior to carry out programs and activities for connecting children and families with the outdoors.” Trails, hunting, conservation education, and outdoor recreation are mentioned as being eligible for competitive grants or cooperative agreements. The bill has been referred to two House committees: Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce. Read more about this legislation on our Supporting Trails page…

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…


Sign on as a Supporter of the Recreational Trails Program!

Add your voice to the hundreds of groups and communities supporting funding for trails and greenways. This is the most important year ever to get Members of Congress to know why RTP is important. Invite your 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...


2010 American Trails National Award winners announced

American Trails' National Trails Awards Program honors people and programs at the 20th American Trails National Symposium. The awards celebration was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nov. 16, 2010. Awards were given to individuals, companies, agencies, communities, and State programs who have given outstanding service to trail planning, building, and advocacy. See the details of all the awards…

A look at the future of trails in Federal transportation funding

Eric B. Beightel, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Transportation Policy, gave a general session presentation at the 20th American Trails National Symposium. “The President proposed that the new transportation authorization be fiscally responsible – fully paid for and accountable for the public dollars spent,” Beightel said. “As we move forward with the uncertainty of what a new transportation bill will look like, it’s important that you continue to work with your local planners and state DOTs to make sure that they understand the importance of trail projects. Please also consider how a new transportation bill can reflect your interests and share your ideas with the Department and with Congress.” Read the full address…

Utah water pipeline project will include a new 14 mile trail

The $150 million Provo Reservoir Canal pipeline will completely enclose what is now an open canal. When it's completed, the enclosed canal will become a non-motorized trail for joggers, bicyclists, and equestrians. The Utah Department of Transportation and Utah County, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and the Bureau of Reclamation, are proposing to construct a new 14.25 mile trail on top of the enclosed pipeline in the Provo area. Read more…

$5.6 million in funding and a 1,000 foot long bridge is key link in Eugene's trail system

Eugene, OR, where a higher percentage of people commute by bike than in Portland (according to the most recent U.S. Census), is celebrating the opening of the Delta Ponds Bridge, which crosses Delta Highway just north of Valley River Center. The new bridge was paid for in part by a $2.25 million grant through the Transportation Enhancements Program. Read more…

Transportation program focuses on saving historic bridges

USA Today covers State programs around the country that help save old bridges and convert them to new uses. “Most of them go to trail projects," says Aaron Davenport of Butler, Fairman and Seufert, an Indianapolis engineering company that has helped save ten bridges with more in the works. "People can walk across them, and there's a plaque with its history.” Read more…

Recovery Act funds go to Northwest National Forest recreation

According to the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, WA, “Trails, campgrounds, and forest access have been major stimulus beneficiaries from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” Trails of all sorts, from paved rail trails to ATV routes, to pathways in designated Wilderness Areas received millions of dollars. The 30 mile Loowit Trail that circumnavigates Mt. Saint Helens, a popular route badly damaged by storms in 2006, received a big reconstruction boost. Read more…

Plan would develop entire Mississippi River as “America’s Great Blueway”

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that a segment of the Mississippi River could be designated as a “blueway” or water trail, which will highlight its recreational potential. A group called the Mississippi River Trail has endorsed a plan to develop the entire river into “America’s Great Blueway.” The Mississippi River Trail group previously has focused on establishing a network of bicycle routes up and down the river. Read more…

Land and Water Conservation Fund

Since 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been instrumental in conserving the nation's most important fish and wildlife habitat, open space, and neighborhood parks. In addition, LWCF has funded trails, greenways, parks, and outdoor recreation facilities through cities, towns, and counties in every state. We'll keep you up to date on efforts to extend funding for LWCF. Read about how LWCF has benefitted your state...


PlayCore’s “Pathways for Play” is a new way to get children outdoors on the trail

Pathways, like musical scores, can be “played” by the user. Pathways that cater to children and families offer numerous benefits, including health promotion, play value, inclusion, engagement with nature, environmental learning, walkable and bikeable community connectivity, and growth of social capital. As populations increase and urban development continues, pathways will play a critical role as community assets. Designing them with children and families in mind is an important priority. PlayCore and the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) have partnered to develop Pathways for Play. An advisory committee comprised of American Trails leadership and board members contributed to the development of it. Read the full story with photos and visit the Pathways for Play website…

Custos Naturae: more than just trails

Bob Searns, Chair of American Trails, found that a recent trip to Africa was both beautiful and very troubling at the same time. “Looking at a map of that heavily populated continent, I saw that the wild places had become just small inlands in a sea of human settlement. Entering South Africa’s Kruger National Park I noticed the inscription Custos Naturae. Later I saw it everywhere from coffee cups in the souvenir shop to the tiles on bathroom walls. Literally it means ‘Keepers of Nature,’ and indeed that is what we have become.” Read more and see photos…

Trails as journeys: adventure and self-discovery

American Trails Vice-Chair Roger Bell finds inspiration in several books about long journeys: “The trail symbolizes for me, that trails aren’t just routes on the Earth, but are an intangible kind of journey that tugs at my soul. I like surprises on trails. Unexpected turns and vistas beckon me to keep going, even to get lost, and to directly experience unknown secrets that lurk there drawing me into their vortex of possibility.” Read the complete article…

Carroll Vogel and the art of building suspension bridges

According to author Gerry Wilbour, “If trails form a critical piece of our green infrastructure, an essential component in the fabric of American life, then suspension bridges make a unique contribution to that fabric and infrastructure.” He writes in remembrance of Carroll Vogel, who “showed us that in the world of suspension bridges we are still looking for the boundaries, we are still finding new structures, applications, and uses of materials.” Read more and see photos…

Kauai’s most scenic trail: the Pihea-Alaka’i Swamp Trail

This Hawaiian trail begins at the Pu’u o Kila Lookout, atop the U-shaped Kalalau Valley, which plunges 4,000 dizzying feet and sweeps two miles to the Pacific. About halfway along the trail, the muddy, rugged earth gives way to bogland and a timber boardwalk. The trail twists through a dense jungle of tropical tree ferns and the world’s highest swamp, ending in a sublime coastal vista from the mountaintop Kilohana Lookout. Read more and see photos…


Tread Lightly! 101 Online Awareness Course

This new web-based short course is designed to teach the basics about the organization Tread Lightly! and more importantly how to minimize your impacts in the outdoors.  The course utilizes flash technology, audio voiceovers, knowledge checks, and interactive scenarios to teach the Tread Lightly! principles and how to apply them in real world situations. The course takes 30-45 minutes. Read more and take the course…

Outdoor Stewardship Institute works to improve leadership and training in Colorado

OSI is operated by Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado to provide high quality outdoor stewardship training to volunteers, land management agencies, and other stewardship organizations in Colorado and around the country. Volunteers and staff from any agency can take advantage of OSI’s low-cost training courses to learn new skills and prepare for leadership roles. OSI works with experts in the field to develop and teach in-depth curriculum that addresses current skill needs. Read more about the Outdoor Stewardship Institute...

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 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...

A preview of 2011 training events; see details at

  • January 2-7 ~ Advanced Trail Management - Planning & Estimating • Marin County, CA
  • January 30 - Feb. 4 ~ NRPA Park & Recreation Maintenance Management School • Wheeling, WV
  • February 21-24 ~ Association of Partners for Public Lands Partnership Convention & Trade Show • Dallas, TX
  • February 25-27 ~ Alabama Hiking Conference • Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville, AL
  • March 13-18 ~ Biennial Trailbuilders Conference • Asheville, NC
  • April 3-8 ~ Basic Trails Management • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, CA
  • April 11-13 ~ California Trails and Greenways Conference • Mt. Diablo State Park, Contra Costa Co., CA
  • June 1-4 ~ International Snowmobile Congress 2011 • Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • June 4 ~ National Trails Day • On trails everywhere across America
  • July 21-23 ~ Southeastern Equestrian Trails Conference • Auburn, AL

Photos of dual tread trails: multiple use aided by multiple pathways

While we can't afford to provide a separate trail for everyone, sometimes it makes sense to have two treads in the same corridor. One solution is to provide paved trails with an adjacent tread of crushed rock for walkers and runners, and to allow cyclists to pass slower traffic. Runners often make their own informal trail in the dirt next to the pavement, and where equestrian use is present, a typical solution is to simply let the horse riders make their own narrow trail. This new American Trails Cool Trail Solutions gallery provides photos from a variety of geographic areas, primarily urban greenways. Read more and see photo gallery…

Trails, frogs, and snakes: Mori Point project restores trails and habitat

Mori Point is a 110 acre promontory in Golden Gate National Park. The project goals were to improve trails for recreation while enhancing rare wildlife habitat, and to involve the community in the vision as well as the labor needed. Despite many landscape disturbances, Mori Point continues to support a viable population of the endangered San Francisco garter snake and the threatened California red-legged frog. Read more and see photos…

Case study: route of the Hiawatha rail trail spans Montana and Idaho

A key component to success was a steering committee that was co-chaired by the Idaho Panhandle National Forest Supervisor and the Taft Tunnel Preservation Society Director. This interagency, multi-partner committee included representatives of the Idaho Congressional Delegation, local mayors, county commissioners, local State and county government representatives, trail advocate groups, and chamber of commerce and visitor bureau representatives. Partners worked together to share ideas, identify options and opportunities, resolve issues, and work toward solutions. Read more and see photos…

Overcoming opposition and generating support for South Carolina greenway

Charleston, SC has worked for years to provide a safe and accessible trail system to all residents and visitors. The effort has not been without controversies that have plagued similar projects throughout the country. In 1999, neighborhoods along the West Ashley Greenway met with city representatives and were not interested in improvements (such as surfacing) that would bring more people on the greenway. The perception was that crime would follow. It was nearly seven years before the issue of improvement would be addressed again. Read more…

Proper bollard design for trails complements fire protection

Charles G. Oakes discusses measurement of fire apparatus response time to fires, and the amount of time required to traverse trailheads fronted by the familiar bollard barrier. “Our experience in the field, with both trailheads and urban and suburban apparatus access roads, has taught us that bollards and the ease with which they are dismantled vary considerably by design, environmental, and climatic conditions. Having explored these variations, we hope to provide trail designers and local authorities design performance measures on bollard takedown times.” Read more and see diagrams…

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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Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
December 2010