Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
October 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. The American Trails National Symposium: November 14-17, 2010, is your best chance for great training opportunities. Join us for some great Featured (onsite) and Mobile (offsite) Workshops offered before and after the main American Trails National Symposium.

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

Register online now for the American Trails National 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…

Dayton Duncan and Chris Balish Symposium Keynotes

Dayton Duncan, our Closing Keynote, 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, our Opening Keynote, 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.

Read the details of keynote addresses and the special programs…

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 Symposium. Here is a sampling of the workshops being offered:


  • Understanding Accessibility & Building Better Trails
  • Fundraising for Your Mission
  • Become a Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer
  • The Art & Science of Trails
  • Expand Your Trail Crew Leader Skills
  • Creating a Trail Maintenance Management Program
  • ArcGIS Basics Workshop (Beginner)
  • Horse Trails Caucus
  • National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP) Meeting


  • 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

Some workshops are already full so reserve your spot now! Learn more and register online for Featured Workshops… and Mobile Workshops…

Concurrent sessions at the Symposium cover dozens of key topics

The 20th American Trails National Symposium offers a variety of concurrent sessions on important issues relating to the theme, “Trails: The Green Way for America.” These workshops present examples across America on how trails have become a prominent factor in improving our communities; creating transportation, recreational, and educational opportunities; encouraging well being; exploring history and heritage; bringing together people of all ages and abilities; and connecting people and places. Read more about Symposium programs…

Exhibitor deadline October 15 for 5% discount

Reserve your space and submit your exhibitor contract, with payment in full, as soon as possible to take advantage of these great incentives:

  • 5% fee discount if we receive your contract by October 15, 2010
  • Exhibitors get to choose their booth location in the order their contract is received (some exceptions apply)
  • Your web link goes on our sponsor page immediately

Join our many sponsors November 14-17 to network with the nationwide trails community and maximize your visibility and message. The exhibit hall will be transformed into an Indoor Trails & Greenways System complete with a Camping Area, Trail Tools Area, City Park Area, Horse Exhibit Area, and an actual Labyrinth maze you can walk— all of this is surrounded by trails meandering throughout and landscaping in abundance. Learn more about exhibiting… or download an exhibitor contract now…

Sponsorship opportunities also available!

There are still opportunities to sponsor an event at the Symposium. Promote your organization nationwide and support a great event! All sponsors at the $2,500 level and above will receive a customized benefit(s) to sponsor an event or Symposium item. Thanks to our generous Symposium sponsors! We would like to thank those who are making the 20th American Trails National Symposium possible. View the latest list of sponsors, view all the sponsorship opportunities and their benefits, or download a sponsor contract now…

Chattanooga hotel and travel options are available… Oct. 23 cut-off date for block!

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. Hotel rooms are filling up so make your reservations now! October 23 is the cut-off date for the hotels to honor our block and great rate for Symposium attendees! See hotel details and reservation information... and check out Chattanooga travel options…

Eco-friendly initiatives at the Chattanooga Convention Center

There’s a lot more to “being green” than just recycling. It involves the changing of the “train of thought.” We are pleased to host the 20th American Trails National Symposium in Chattanooga as the initiatives that the Chattanooga Convention Center has taken in “going green” blend perfectly with the 2010 Symposium theme, “Trails: The Green Way for America.” The Chattanooga Convention Center was one of the first in North America to utilize day lighting on a grand scale. Within the exhibition hall are seven huge roof monitors that extend almost the entire width of the 240-foot wide hall. Other green initiatives include food and beverage services, composting of waste, and water treatment, the “hidden jewel” of the facility. Read more…


New ADA rule addresses wheelchairs and power driven mobility devices

The definition and regulation to permit the use of mobility devices has been amended. The rule adopts a two-tiered approach to mobility devices, drawing distinctions between wheelchairs and "other power-driven mobility devices" such as the Segway. Wheelchairs (and other devices designed for use by people with mobility impairments) must be permitted in all areas open to pedestrian use. These devices must be permitted to be used unless the covered entity can demonstrate that such use would fundamentally alter its programs, services, or activities, create a direct threat, or create a safety hazard. Read more about the new rule…

Nominate your favorite trail-related website for 2010 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…

Share your favorite photos of National Recreation Trails

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…

Is National Infrastructure Bank a key to fixing transportation funding?

President Obama has proposed a National Infrastructure Bank to set priorities for overhauling the nation’s roads, rail system, and airports. What about paying for all this, as well as fixing the shortfall in Federal transportation funding? Some observers think the program will have to be tied to the reauthorization of the transportation funding bill (which was scheduled to expire last year, and which has been extended for short periods to keep transportation funding from halting completely). Read more…

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…


Chattanooga expands bike share and mobile bicycle fleet programs

A partnership between 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. The network will provide secure kiosks where people can check out bicycles to ride to lunch, business meetings, to class, or just for fun. The Outdoor Chattanooga Mobile Bicycle Fleet is a Tennessee Department of Transportation-funded project in partnership under the Commuter Transportation Assistance Program. Read more…

New recreation district paves the way for 43-mile Mississippi rail trail

More than 43 miles of abandoned railroad corridor, which will become a multi-use recreational trail called the Tanglefoot Trail, runs between Houston and New Albany in northeast Mississippi. The State’s DOT provided $4.5 million in Transportation Enhancement funding for the trail. A new intergovernmental body, the GM&O Rails to Trails Recreational District, will support right-of-way purchase, design, construction and management of the project. Read more…

Idaho greenway is a learning trail for young children

Members of Pocatello’s Portneuf Greenway Foundation say creating learning opportunities is an important part of the trail system's mission. Visitors on the trail can participate in nine stations along the trail designed to teach young children basic shapes and colors as well as letters and numbers. The Home Depot provided supplies for this project as well as the volunteers, some of whom came from as far away as Idaho Falls. Read more…

Alaska trail lights the way during long nights

The Tsalteshi Trails Association is completing the lighting of an extra mile and a half of trails into the 10-mile trail system located behind Skyview High School outside Soldotna, AK. The group has been able to keep other expenses down through donations from agencies, businesses, and volunteer efforts. Many of the poles were de-commissioned and donated by the Department of Transportation and Homer Electric Association. Read more and see photos…

Nature walks improve learning more than city walks

Environmental psychology researchers at the University of Michigan have confirmed what many have long-suspected: spending time in a natural setting is good for the brain (at least for its ability to retain important information). Study subjects learned better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban setting. Environmental psychology studies such as these are now prompting urban designers to plan with nature in mind. Read more…


Rail trails provide multiple careers for one entrepreneur

Craig Della Penna tells how his “trailside family of companies” developed out of years of working and advocating in the rails to trails arena. He describes refurbishing an old house for a trailside bed and breakfast, selling real estate along trails, and promoting rail trail preservation and development in New England. Read the full story with photos…

Blue Sky Trail traverses land protection corridor in Colorado

The 5.5-mile Blue Sky Trail connects previously fragmented trail systems managed by different entities, into a cohesive regional trail system. This trail project accomplishes protection of important natural and cultural resources while providing a robust trail system for the enjoyment of the citizens of Larimer County and beyond. Between 1998 and 2005, the land protection corridor through which the Blue Sky Trail traverses was purchased by Larimer County and the cities of Loveland and Fort Collins through open space sales tax dollars, grant funding, and donations. Read more and see photos…

Park Prescriptions: Resources for good health from the great outdoors

Park Prescriptions is a movement to create a healthier population by strengthening the connection between the healthcare system and public lands across the country. Healthcare practitioners need more education on the value of physical activity in nature as a powerful resource for health and more training on how to counsel and prescribe it to their patients. At the same time, parks and community programs need to tailor their communications and programs to better serve patients with a variety of health conditions, as well as the doctors making the park prescriptions. Read more and see the full report…

Featured National Recreation Trail: Fall color along the Hennepin Canal

Illinois’ Hennepin Canal National Recreation Trail provides 93.5 miles of bike trail, 172 miles of hiking and cross-country skiing trail, 90.9 miles of snowmobile trail, 73.6 miles of equestrian trail, and 95 miles open for canoeing and kayaking. The canal was completed in 1907, reducing the distance from Chicago to Rock Island by 419 miles. Illinois Department of Natural Resources is aided in managing the corridor by a big coalition of user groups and communities. See photos and read more…

Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge links Nashville greenways

Nashville, Tennessee is working progressively to expand its greenway system. Now open, the new Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge links 22 miles of walking and biking trails. To minimize costs and potential obstructions to river traffic, the piers were placed on banks outside of the river channel at normal pool elevation. As the result, the main span is eight feet above the river and 475 feet long. This arrangement provides unparalleled views of the river and adjacent Shelby Bottoms Park. Read more and see photos…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…


Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle online safety course available

The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) has launched the beta release of its new Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV also know as Side by Sides and UTVs) E-Course. The course is a free, interactive online safety course available on the ROHVA website. The two-hour online safety course helps develop safe driving habits but is not a “learn to drive” course. Users can save their progress and stop at any time to pick up later where they left off. Read more about courses…

Statewide trails conferences encourage regional cooperation

Each year several states hold their own conferences to help local trail advocates share ideas and experience. The events are particularly helpful in building support for state policies as well as recognizing accomplishments. Scheduled this fall are the following statewide trail meetings:

  • October 13-15, 2010 — South Carolina State Trails and Greenways Conference - Spartanburg, SC
  • October 16-17, 2010 — Vermont Trails Symposium - East Charleston, VT
  • October 19, 2010 — Maryland Trails Summit - Linthicum Heights, MD
  • October 22-23, 2010 — Washington State Trails Conference - Tacoma, WA

See links to conference websites…

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...

  • October 14, 2010 — ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Trails and Recreation Facilities: An Update - Plymouth Meeting, PA
  • October 17-21, 2010 — Making Cities Livable Conference - Charleston, SC
  • October 18-21, 2010 — Trail Master Certification Class - Danielsville, GA
  • October 18-22, 2010 — Principles & Techniques of Fundraising - Indianapolis, IN
  • October 18 - Nov. 12, 2010 — Preparing Successful Grant Proposals - online course
  • October 19-21, 2010 — Universal Trail Assessment Process Coordinator Workshop - Scottsdale, AZ
  • October 19-22, 2010 — National Scenic Trails Workshop - Reisterstown, MD
  • October 22-23, 2010 — Mechanized Training Class - Danielsville, GA
  • October 22-23, 2010 — GPS Operations and Mapping Course - Danielsville, GA
  • October 24-29, 2010 — Advanced Trails Program: Maintenance & Management, Climbing & Rigging - Garberville, CA
  • October 25-29, 2010 — National Recreation & Park Association Congress & Exposition - Minneapolis, MN
  • November 3-5, 2010 — National Forest Recreation Conference - Scottsdale, AZ
  • November 14-17, 2010 — American Trails National Symposium – Chattanooga, TN

Photo gallery: Ramps for accessible trails and shared-use pathways

Ramps, typically used for building access, are often provided on trails. Ramps have a specific definition for building access in the "ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities" (ADAAG). The maximum slope of a ramp is 1:12, the maximum rise for any run is 30 inches, and the minimum clear width of a ramp is 36 inches. Level landings are also required at top and bottom of each ramp run. There can be good reasons to use these designs on urban trails, but ramps are not required in the proposed Accessibility Guidelines for trails. Read more and see photo gallery…

Choosing the right trail surface

Check out a presentation by Steve Saitta and Mike Snyder of Columbia, Missouri, Parks & Recreation on the pros and cons of the most-used trail surfaces. Asphalt, concrete, and crushed rock are discussed in detail with photos and examples on different trails. They look at construction issues, costs, effects on different trail users, and especially maintain these surfaces over the long terrain. Download pdf…

Puget Sound takes regional approach to bicycle network planning

According to the Puget Sound Regional Bicycle Network Study, “Given safe and convenient conditions, many individuals would prefer a ten-minute bike commute to being stuck in traffic for 30 minutes, and many more would choose bicycling for recreational, economic, and health purposes. Yet under current conditions, too many people are unable to make that choice. It is time for State, regional, and local transportation departments to change their priorities and focus more resources on making local streets safe and friendly for bicyclists, as well as for motorized vehicles and pedestrians.” Read more and download the full report…

Pennsylvania county plans OHV park for abandoned strip mine

Northumberland County plans to convert 6,000 acres of county-owned property to an Off Highway Vehicle Park for recreation vehicles as well as for non-motorized activities. The proposed park area is currently abandoned coal mining land. The goal is to embrace the Lower Anthracite Region and transform it into a national destination for year-round recreation. The focus of the project is to provide a safe and regulated environment for OHV use, hiking, horseback riding, and biking trails, hunting access, and trail conversions during the winter for snowmobiles and cross-country skiing. 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:
October color along the trail in Davenport, Iowa
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
October 2010