Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
September 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.

If you haven’t already registered for the American Trails National Symposium on November 14-17, 2010, now is the time. Join hundreds of planners, builders, advocates, and managers in the world’s largest gathering of trails and greenway supporters. 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

Register online by September 17 for the best rates!

It’s easy to register online for the American Trails National Symposium, and the early registration deadline has been extended to September 17. 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 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.

Read the details of keynote addresses and the special programs…

Attendees and exhibitors can take part in the Trail Tools Equipment Expo

Vendors will demonstrate equipment, tools, and materials used in construction, maintenance, and signing of trails at this popular offsite field trip. Following the Trail Tools Equipment Expo, vendors will have the opportunity to showcase their products at the conference site, and to discuss their products with interested Symposium participants. The Equipment Expo is designed to move one step further and allow vendors to actually show Trail Tools at work! And, attendees will be able to test drive equipment. Exhibits will include trail building machines, excavators, lawnmowers, and lots of things in between! The site has a grass and dirt surface.

Attendees can sign up for this mobile workshop…and exhibitors can be a part of the Equipment Expo as a part of their exhibitor fees…

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…

FHWA and American Trails offer Youth Corps Scholarships to attend the National Trails Symposium

Via a generous grant through the US DOT Federal Highway Administration, this year American Trails is able to offer 5 scholarships as incentives to encourage Youth Corps participation and learning and networking opportunities at the American Trails National Symposium. Scholarship requests must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2010. View the criteria and how to apply for a scholarship…

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 Crossing…

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 Sponsorsand learn about sponsorship 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 on Chattanooga travel options…

The “GREEN” theme for the Symposium is the theme of the Fall issue of the American Trails Magazine

To theme of the Fall issue of the American Trails Magazine will coincide with the Symposium’s theme, "Trails: The Green Way for America." So to emphasize on the “GREEN” theme, we’re looking for great articles that talk about the benefit of trails to America’s economy and the environment, specifically on public health, transportation, urban development, and the role of trails, greenways, bikeways, and walkable communities as part of the solution to “going green.” Feel free to submit your article for review by September 17 to


Have you signed on as a Supporter of the Recreational Trails Program?

Help the Coalition for Recreational Trails send letters to Congress in support of the Recreational Trails Program! Join the 366 organizations and communities who have signed on to support RTP. We especially need increased support from these states: Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Learn more about efforts to support RTP funding and how you can help…

Interested in hosting the 2012 American Trails National Symposium?

If you’re interested in hosting the 2012 American Trails National Symposium in your community, click here…

Senate still needs to approve LWCF funding for parks, open space, and trails

The House has already passed funding at $900 million for the Land & Water Conservation Fund in the CLEAR Act, H.R. 3534, an oil spill response bill, of which LWCF funding was a significant component. Meanwhile, the Senate will consider similar legislation in September when it returns from the August district work period. The Senate’s Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act (S. 3663) includes guaranteed LWCF funding through 2015, with additional dedicated funding in future years. Read more…

Livable Communities Act includes planning and sustainability grants

The Act would establish an Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities in the Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as an independent Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities. Funding would be provided for “comprehensive planning grants and sustainability challenge grants to eligible entities (partnerships between a consortium of units of general local government and an eligible partner, which may be a metropolitan planning organization, a rural planning organization, a regional council, or a state).” Read more about the bill…

FHWA seeks input on research needs for trails and other transportation

The Federal Highway Administration conducts research and develops tools and technologies to advance both the state of the practice and art for national environment, planning, and realty research initiatives. Stakeholder input is used to help identify and prioritize research topics and to develop and implement the national research agenda. Trail-related projects are eligible for funding, provided they relate to surface transportation. Read more and send comments to FHWA…

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…


Clean Ohio Trails Fund is part of $400 million state bond program

Grants totaling $8.29 million will be used to develop 35.82 miles of new trails, construct four bridges, 2.31 miles of bike lanes, and acquire more than 50 miles of abandoned railroad and greenway corridors. The Clean Ohio Trails Fund is one of four components of the Clean Ohio Fund, which restores, protects, and connects Ohio's natural and urban places. The $400 million bond program was approved in 2000, and it was a critical component of the 2008 Ohio Bipartisan Job Stimulus Plan. An extension of the Clean Ohio Fund was overwhelmingly accepted at the ballot in 2008. Read more about Ohio trail funding…

Lake Siskiyou Trail linked with 260-foot one of a kind bridge

A landmark section of the Lake Siskiyou Trail is rising above the water of the North Shore of Lake Siskiyou as a bridge connecting the trail south and north shores is nearing completion. The 260 foot custom designed tied arch bridge has a $2.5 million budget. It has been years in conception, design, and final construction and volunteers have put in thousands of hours on 13.5 miles of mostly hand constructed trail. Read more and see photos…

Creekway boardwalk honors local soldier in San Antonio

A four-mile trail on the Northeast Side, including a 3,400-foot boardwalk was named after Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Morningstar, who was killed in Iraq. The Morningstar Boardwalk, on the south end of Lady Bird Johnson Park is on a new segment of the Salado Creek Greenway. The boardwalk, made of composite materials and anchored by metal piers and wood underpinnings, cost about $1 million as part of the $3.5 million extension, funded by voter-approved sales tax initiatives from 2000 and 2005. Read the Express-News article…

New Jersey towns take on Norfolk Southern in rail-with-trail plan

A Glen Ridge, NJ editorial suggests “The presence of a trail would likely be an incentive to keep the tracks and surrounding land in good shape. There could probably be a designated crew of volunteers who could go over the trail and vicinity every now and then to pick up litter and move away fallen tree branches, as is done on other hiking and biking trails in the area. Such an arrangement would likely make it easier for Norfolk Southern to be alerted to potential track problems.” Read all three articles on the project…

Western Maryland trail to bypass Indigo Tunnel in favor of bats

In an effort to protect the largest known bat refuge in Maryland, state officials planning a 4.7-mile extension of the Western Maryland Rail Trail have decided to detour cyclists around an abandoned railroad tunnel. Tourism interests had hoped the 4,350-foot-long Indigo Tunnel would become a prime attraction for bicyclists pedaling west from the trail's current terminus at Pearre. But biologists discovered its rock walls are home to an estimated 1,400 hibernating bats, including some rare or endangered species. Read more…


States apply Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars to trail grants

For over 40 years, the LWCF has used revenue collected from offshore oil and gas development for trails, acquisition of lands and waters, and park development. It has recently been authorized at a spending level of $900 million per year, which would mean a huge increase in funds available to states. The actual LWCF funds are handled by the state natural resources or parks agencies alongside other funding sources such as the Recreational Trails Program. Typically funds are allocated as competetive grants to units of local government such as towns and counties. Read about state programs and trail projects funded by LWCF…

Red River Gorge volunteers provide skilled work for trail projects

The Red River Gorge area of the Cumberland Ranger District includes Clifty Wilderness and has sixty miles of official trail. About twenty five miles are in the National wilderness that prohibits all but the use of hand tools for maintenance. The group has become very skilled in the use of primitive tools and has provided almost all of the labor intensive trail building and maintenance for this area for the last decade in the Daniel Boone National Forest of Kentucky. Read more and see photos… 

Indian River Greenways Plan to improve transportation as well as recreation

The Indian River County Metropolitan Planning Organization recognizes the importance of providing transportation connections between urban areas and rural areas, as well as providing linkages between urban areas and state parks, water management areas, rivers, wetland systems, and other natural areas. One way to accomplish this is by providing a network of greenways that can serve as an alternative to on-road motorized travel. At the same time, retrofitting a greenways system in the existing built environment of Florida required a creative approach to multiple challenges. Read more and see photos…

Featured National Recreation Trail: Oak Creek Trail, Nebraska

Running 12 miles from Valparaiso to Brainard, Nebraska, the trail traverses natural prairie grass, majestic oak woodlands, and highland vistas. The corridor was once occupied by the Union Pacific Railroad but was taken out of service, using the Federal Rail Bank process in 1993. The Lower Platte South Natural Resources District currently manages this trail. See photos and read more…

Partnership improves trails and habitat along Salinas River

Paso Robles, CA is the setting for The Salinas River Parkway. The project was established to not only preserve the scenic river and its water resources, but also to improve public access and celebrate the historical significance of the waterway. Collaborators sought the community’s help to preserve the work accomplished on the river trail and to respect the land around it. “Part of this trail is to help people understand the river, not just a fun place to walk,” said DJ Funk, a representative with the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District. Read more and see photos…

Read more articles, studies, and resources…


Great training opportunities at the American Trails National Symposium

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…

Georgia Trails and Greenways Program provides trail skills training

The Georgia Trails and Greenways office coordinates Georgia's Recreational Trails Program, which provides funding for Trail School and Crew Leader Training Courses. Training in January and February, 2011 will cover Design and Layout, Construction and Maintenance, and Crew Leader Training. Out of state participants are also encouraged to join in the courses which are held at Gainesville State College. 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 the Online Training Calendar...

  • September 19-24, 2010 — 2010 World Canals Conference - Rochester, NY
  • September 20, 2010 — Online Fundraising and Social Media - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 20 - November 21, 2010 — Principles & Techniques of Fundraising - ONLINE course
  • September 23, 2010 — Trail Town Conference - Pottstown, PA
  • September 23-26, 2010 — Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School - Long Pond, PA
  • September 23-26, 2010 — Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School - Spokane, WA
  • September 25, 2010 — National Public Lands Day - Across America
  • September 27, 2010 — Sustainable Trail Building & Equestrian Trail System Development - Lexington, KY
  • September 27 - October 1, 2010 — Leave No Trace Stock Master Course - Hoosier National Forest, Bloomington, Indiana
  • September 28-29, 2010 — Fundraising for Small Nonprofits - Indianapolis, IN
  • September 29, 2010 — Stronger Together on the Trails: Organizing Horsemen & Partnering with Others - Lexington, KY
  • September 30 - October 1, 2010 — Lehigh Valley Trails Summit - Center Valley, PA
  • September 30 - October 3, 2010  — Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School - York, PA
  • September 30 - October 3, 2010  — Subaru/IMBA Trailbuilders School - Portland, OR
  • October 1-3, 2010 — Tahoe Trails Conference - South Lake Tahoe, NV
  • October 5, 2010 — Leave No Trace for Equestrians Seminar - Lexington, KY
  • October 5-9, 2010 — Tri-State Parks, Recreation, and Trails Conference - West Yellowstone, MT

Photo gallery: treatments of trails crossing roads without traffic signals

Potential hazards exist every time a trail crosses a street or roadway. Trail and bikeway crossings may use the same warnings and crosswalks as standard pedestrian crossings. Others use creative signs to warn trail users to stop and be alert to motorized traffic. Standard red stop signs are generally used on trails where they cross roadways. Painted crosswalks are another typical feature. Nationwide examples are shown. Read more and see photo gallery…

Power of the line: striping trails for conflict reduction

A before-and-after study of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River Trail looked at areas of blind curves caused by hedges, rock outcrops, and bridge piers. Many people were traveling on the wrong side around sharp blind curves. Counts were taken and video tapes made in order to determine the percentage of bicyclists, pedestrians, in-line skaters, and runners on the proper side, on the wrong side, and passing on the wrong side. Then a solid-yellow center line and directional arrows were neatly spray painted at the blind curves, and after counts were taken. Read more…

Trail operation and maintenance requirements for rail trail corridors

The maintenance implications of trail improvements should be reviewed carefully when considering capital improvements. One particular area of concern is the problem of drainage and flooding that can quickly undermine pavement structures. Money saved during the trail development process may be spent many times over if inadequate design and development creates a greater than normal maintenance burden. Trail maintenance is a major program that is related to trail safety, attractiveness, and image. The trail operator risks liability for accidents, if maintenance is ignored or negligently executed. Read more and download the full report…

Studying the condition of natural resources along the Appalachian Trail

Planning for ecological monitoring on the AT is the most important step in laying a strong foundation for an AT ecological monitoring program. AT staff have initiated the process of developing a resource management plan, and the ATC recently started an Appalachian Trail Environmental Monitoring Initiative. The Appalachian Trail environmental monitoring program provides an unprecedented opportunity to track the condition of priority natural resources along 2,100 miles of green space. Read more…

Principles of Ecologically Sustainable Trails

Trails are our most important tool for linking conservation and recreation. As such, they must be developed and maintained in ways that avoid negative impacts to our ecological resources. These “guiding principles” when developing and maintaining trail systems are from Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation "Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual" and adapted from the Minnesota DNR Trails and Waterways "Trails Planning, Design, and Development Guidelines.” 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:
Heritage Rail Trail County Park
York County, Pennsylvania
Photo by Carl R. Knoch

2010 symposium

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

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Trail Tracks e-Newsletter
September 2010