Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
November 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.

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

Hey Friends ~ Meet us in Chattanooga! Follow us on Twitter

Chattanooga is a city with a great story of American initiative and reinvention! We know you'll enjoy seeing for yourself how trails and greenways can make a community as well as a region a better place. One of the goals of the National Trails Symposium is to highlight the accomplishments of communities around the country. Read more from American Trails Chair Bob Searns…

Keynote speaker Dayton Duncan is a partner on Ken Burns documentary

Dayton Duncan has been a writer and filmmaker for over 20 years and is Ken Burn’s producing partner for the documentary National Parks: America’s Best Idea, which won two Emmys: one for best nonfiction series and one for best writing. Duncan wrote and co-produced the 12-hour mini-series and is the author of several books. His message includes the importance of involving children in outdoor activities. This session is open to the general public, so purchase your tickets today (if you aren’t already registered). Tickets: $30 with lunch, $10 just presentation. Read more… and Purchase Tickets…

Keynote speaker Chris Balish is a best-selling author and award winning journalist

Chris Balish, author of How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money,Breathe Easier, and Get More Out of Life, will address the Symposium’s theme, “Trails: The Green Way For America,” at the Opening Keynote Luncheon, November 15. This session is open to the public, so purchase your tickets today (if you aren’t already registered). Tickets: $30 with lunch, $10 just presentation. Read more… and Purchase Tickets…


Sign up today for a Featured or Mobile workshop


  • November 13 & 14: The Art & Science of Trails
  • November 14: Expand Your Trail Crew Leader Skills
  • November 14: Understanding Accessibility & Building Better Trails
  • November 14: Creating a Trail Maintenance Management Program
  • November 14: Horse Trails Caucus
  • November 18: Fundraising for Your Mission


  • November 12 & 13: Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) & High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP) Coordinator Workshop
  • November 14: ATV Ridercourse
  • November 14: Trail Tools Equipment Expo
  • November 14: 4WD Excursion to Prentice Cooper State Forest
  • November 17 & 18: American Trails Adaptive Paddling Workshop
  • November 18 & 19: Rock Work Course

Click here to learn more and see descriptions for Featured Workshops… and Mobile Workshops…

Who’s who in the trails world: Presentations and speakers at the Symposium

Over 50 educational sessions and 15 mini-workshops describe how trails are “transforming our nation and the way we live.” Learn who is behind current efforts in trails for transportation, recreation, and education opportunities; encouraging well being; exploring history and heritage; bringing together people of all ages and abilities; and connecting communities. Read more about Symposium programs…

New Sponsors join the team for the American Trails National Symposium

We hope you’ll take time to visit our Sponsors page and see the range of support for 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…

Still space left to Exhibit ~ Seize the opportunity now!

The expansive Exhibit Hall has almost reached capacity, but there are still a few select spots open for those who are interested in Exhibiting. Send in your Exhibitor Contract and choose your booth location. Time is running out, and spots are filling up fast! Remember, an Exhibit Booth comes with one full registration. Download the Exhibitor Contract…

Register online now for the Symposium

It’s easy to register online for the American Trails National Symposium. You can’t afford to miss the best opportunity to connect with the most knowledgeable people in the nationwide trails and greenways community. Even better, 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… and view the Registration page for rates…

Help us outreach to the community by attending our Building Public Awareness event

Building Public Awareness will provide the local community with an opportunity to visit exhibitors and learn about the Symposium. The Exhibit Hall will be open to attendees, guests, and local trail enthusiasts free of charge. In addition, dozens of trail-related user groups from around Chattanooga will provide information booths, presentations, and workshop activities for all ages in the Exhibit Hall. We hope to see you there and be sure and bring your family and friends! Read more…

Download the Symposium Program

Check out the Symposium Program to view the schedule of concurrent sessions and read their descriptions. Learn more about the general sessions, “Trails Rock” Party, and our Keynote Speakers. And get information on Chattanooga, our host hotels, and the Exhibit Hall located in the Chattanooga Convention Center. Download the Program…

Join us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on Symposium happenings

American Trails is now on Twitter! Follow us for all the latest updates, changes, and hot news related to the Symposium. This is a great tool for attendees to be on top of the latest happenings! Join us at…


Hot off the press: Fall issue of the American Trails Magazine!

Please download our latest issue of American Trails to learn more about the 20th American Trails National Symposium and our host city, Chattanooga. Read articles from two of our board members about their trail travels. Download the PDF…

Petition: Support trails as part of federal transportation funding

In a recent issue of AAA World Magazine, Don Gagnon, the president of AAA Mid-Atlantic, raises the issue of the shortfall in Federal surface transportation funding. He writes that “If the Federal Highway Trust Fund is refocused solely on its original purpose, the nation’s critical highway system, a huge increase in the gas tax will not be necessary.” He cites past funding of hiking and bike trails, transit, and museums as contributing to “an increasingly deteriorating highway system.” The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy petition asks for you to support trails and active transportation to counter the skeptics. Read more and see the petition…

Photo contest for National Recreation Trails: Share your favorite pictures

American Trails sponsors an annual contest for photographs of National Recreation Trails across the country. Our annual contest provides awards in several categories and shows off entries (and previous winners) on the NRT website. The goal is to highlight the diversity of the NRTs and to make more Americans familiar with these great trails. We're looking for good photos of trail users as well as special facilities, art on the trails, management issues, construction, and volunteers. Read more and see photos from previous contests…

Enter the 2010 American Trails Website Contest

Awards will be made in a variety of categories to recognize websites of all sizes, types, and interests.

  • Nominate an entire website or just the area of a website that focuses on trails.
  • Links to all nominated sites will be publicized and added to the American Trails website.
  • Winners in each category will be featured online, in print, and throughout cyberspace.

See all the contest details and links to winners from 2009…

New Visit Florida Trails Website is up and running

The new website features more than 100 trails and serves as a one-stop-shop for residents and guests looking to plan an eco-vacation or simply take a day-trip down a paved or paddling trail. The website also provides a gateway to nearby businesses, outfitters, restaurants, and overnight accommodations to make any trail trip complete. DEP’s Office of Greenways and Trails will serve as the continuing liaison between communities and VISIT FLORIDA for submission of new trails over time. Read more…

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…


Recycled bridge soars 13 stories over Des Moines River Valley

A converted railroad bridge is the centerpiece of the 25 mile High Trestle Trail from Ankeny to Woodward, IA. It features art, interpretation, and tremendous views. Blue LED lighting will add an aura at night as will lights highlighting the enormous bridge columns. Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation spearheaded the effort to acquire the abandoned rail line with five communities: Ankeny, Sheldahl, Slater, Madrid, and Woodward, along with four counties: Polk, Boone, Dallas, and Story. Read more…

National Wildlife Refuge in Washington installing art along trail

Interpretive art pieces are being installed along the 2.75 trail loop called the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail. Steigerwald Lake NWR is near the west boundary of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area on the Washington side of the river. The trail includes boardwalks through a willow grove and over a wetland, two scenic overlooks, and a 110 foot bridge over Gibbons Creek. With 2,300 shrubs donated by Georgia Pacific and Vancouver Audubon and partially funded by a National Fish and Wildlife Fund grant, the Columbia Gorge Stewards recruited about 200 volunteers to do the planting. Read more…

Eagle Scout proposes safety addition to Guilford County greenways

The idea involves posting numbered markers along the trails. For instance, if a runner injures himself and phones for help, he’d have the convenience of a numbered sign to mention to rescuers rather than a vague description. The signs, in turn, are linked to computers in emergency vehicles, allowing more precise and quicker responses. Durham Greenway consultant Chuck Flink says he has installed similar systems for other cities, including Toledo, Ohio. Read more…

Wisconsin interurban rail line eyed for trail extension

Jefferson County Corporation Counsel Phil Ristow announced that a contract between We Energies and the county to open an abandoned trolley path from Watertown to Oconomowoc to bikers and pedestrians appeared in order. Wisconsin Electric Power Company owns the right-of-way of the former Milwaukee-Watertown Interurban Railway. Jefferson County Parks Director Joe Nehmer has said the major challenge is paying for the project, but noted the county has many options for funding. Read more…

City debates over proposed safety rules after jogger dies on Dallas trail

The Dallas Morning News reported on the death of a jogger who was struck by a cyclist on the popular Katy Trail: “Fatal cyclist-pedestrian accidents are many thousands of times rarer than deadly collisions between either one and a motor vehicle. But the tragedy has turned up the fire a little under what seems to be a simmering feud between the various categories of trail user… Those who are using it to push their own views on trail use are, perhaps, venting their frustration at the plain fact that public recreational sites in large cities can be very crowded places.” Read more…


Suwannee River Wilderness Trail combines land and water resources

The Suwannee River Wilderness Trail initiative has been conceived with an eye toward local communities and existing private businesses as the primary beneficiaries of increasing nature and heritage based tourism in the region. The length of the river from the town of White Springs to the town of Suwannee and the Gulf of Mexico is slightly more than 160 miles. The SRWT will provide single and multi-day opportunities for a variety of nature and heritage based tours along this stretch of the river, either outfitted and guided by local businesses, or organized by individual visitors. Read the full story with photos…

Sabo Bridge connects Minneapolis commuter trails and transit

The Martin Olav Sabo Bridge, opened in November 2007, soars over major obstacles to make a critical link in major bikeways. The Midtown Greenway is a multi-use trail that runs east-to-west through south-central Minneapolis. This trail is located in a former rail corridor, and because it is located below-grade, it has few street-level crossings. Read the full article…

Featured National Recreation Trail: Historic Champlain Canalway Trail

The Town of Halfmoon, New York manages a six-mile segment, bordered by farm fields, wetlands, and wood lots, of the 58 mile Canalway. The trail corridor runs along historic towpaths from Waterford to Whitehall. Locks and other historic engineering features of the 1820s canal can be seen. To make the most of natural assets, the town undertook a Waterfront Revitalization Plan to lay the groundwork to obtain NYS Department of State funding to construct a three acre park on the Hudson River. Connections to trail systems in nearby towns are also underway. See photos and read more…

Norfolk Southern Railroad works with Virginia on rails to trails projects

Norfolk Southern Corporation has partnered with State and Federal agencies and local organizations within the Commonwealth of Virginia to develop over 285 miles of rails to trails projects. Their corporate generosity has and will make it possible for millions of outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy healthy recreation and outstanding scenery. Nationally recognized rails to trails projects include the 33 mile long Virginia Creeper Trail and the 57 mile long New River Trail State Park. 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…

Safety, etiquette, and ethics in outdoor recreation for kids

"On the Right Trail" is an interactive curriculum about outdoor recreation to teach safety, trail etiquette, natural resource protection, and land ethics through activities, games, and role-plays. It meets Utah’s Social Studies Core Curriculum Standards for grades 3-7.  A California-approved version is also available. Each chapter has specific standard objectives, which are met by the activities. Teachers can use these lessons and activities as tools in teaching and emphasizing core curriculum standards. Read more about the "On the Right Trail" course…

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

Photo gallery ~ Dogs on the trail: Regulations, signs, and facilities

One of the most popular trail activities is walking with dogs. To reinforce leash laws and courtesy to other trail users, trail managers are posting signs to remind visitors. In habitat areas, especially, leash laws are enforced to prevent dogs from chasing shorebirds or other animals. A new industry has sprung up to provide park managers with signs and bag dispensers to accommodate this need. Read more and see photo gallery…

States explain limitation of liability for landowners allowing public recreation

It has become common for trail groups to request access to a variety of lands for trail use. Private landowners as well as local governments are often concerned about the liability of allowing public recreation on their lands. Most landowners of private and public lands want to grant permission, but they can have questions concerning their risks, liability, and responsibility. State statutes assure landowners protection for allowing access, creating new opportunities for recreation. Read more and download brochures from Oregon and North Dakota

Chattanooga expands bike share and Mobile Bicycle Fleet programs

The City of Chattanooga and Outdoor Chattanooga, has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program to establish a network of 30 public bike share stations in the Chattanooga region. A bike share program is a network of secure kiosks where people can check out bicycles to ride to lunch, business meetings, to class, the grocery store, or just for fun. Read more…

Greenway planning, criteria, and strategies for implementation

The Lawrence County Greenways Plan from Pashek Associates states that “sound greenways planning uses a three step process that answers the following questions: Where Are We Now£ Where Do We Want to Be£ How Do We Get There£ The plan covers the public participation process, developing goals and objectives, strategies for implementation, and many good examples of actions to advance the implementation of specific greenway segments. Read more…

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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Header Photo:
Minneapolis, Minnesota
photo by Stuart Macdonald


2010 symposium

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

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Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
November 2010