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State funding for trail safety, education, and training

Results of a query on how States are spending the 5% allowed for safety/education programs from their apportionments of Recreational Trails Program funds.

Compiled by Stuart Macdonald (National Trails Training Partnership) with assistance from Alex Weiss (FL)
Responses to questions sent to State Trails Program Managers in June 2008

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Background

The RTP authorizes a State to use up to 5 percent of its apportionment each fiscal year for: Development and dissemination of publications and operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection, (as those objectives relate to one or more of the use of recreational trails, supporting non-law enforcement trail safety and trail use monitoring patrol programs, and providing trail-related training).

This figure is 5 percent of the apportionment rounded down to the nearest dollar. This is the maximum allowable: a State may use less than this amount. For more information see guidance from the Federal Highway Administration at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/assess_edu_costs.htm.

The RTP also authorizes Assessment of trail conditions for accessibility and maintenance, authorizes specific projects to assess trails to determine the level of accessibility for people who have disabilities, to develop programs to provide trail access information, and to assess trails for current or future maintenance needs. OMB Circulars allow some employee training costs; therefore, some costs for training in trail assessment techniques may be eligible under Category F, and would not have to be subject to the 5 percent limitation for educational projects under Category G. See:

A State may provide funds for trail assessments through:

Summary of Query of States on use of RTP Safety/Education funds

About one third of the States responded, so these results may not be representative. However, nearly all administrators who responded said their State has used RTP funds for education or training projects. Fewer States do so on a regular basis. A few States indicated they would increase safety/education spending if the permitted amount was raised to 10 percent. Most see trail improvement projects as a greater priority.

Many examples were submitted of expenditures in this category. They were divided into safety/education and training. For safety/education, projects involve Leave No Trace and other environmental education, printed safety materials, and safe riding programs for motorized users. Training for trail planning, construction, and management is being funded primarily through support of workshops and conferences, and some publications. These results are osted below, and we will add additional responses and examples after discussion on this topic at the 2008 State Trail Administrators Meeting.
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1. Has your State ever set aside funds for educational programs as permitted by RTP?
18 - YES
1 - NO
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2. Does your State regularly set aside the 5% for education programs?
12 - YES
6 - NO
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3. Have you specifically funded training from the 5% permitted? (e.g. courses, workshops, conferences, materials)
14 - YES
4 - NO
(See TRAINING examples below)
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4. Please provide examples of education expenditures with dollar amounts and project descriptions.
(See EDUCATION examples below)
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5. Do you plan to create new education and training projects, or fund programs created by other agencies or organizations?
8 - YES
6 - NO

AZ - We are always looking for worthwhile projects to fund. Recently provided funds for a bicycle peer patrol operating in a metropolitan park.
FL - Florida Trails Education Master Plan (research, educational product development, development of evaluation methodology, and possible mini-grants); IMBA for land managers, Outdoor Stewardship Institute training, and SWECO Training for RTP project sponsors.
ID - In 2008 State Off-highway Vehicle Education program expands. Three seasonal positions are hired and stationed within our region offices all funded through the RTP and registration 80/20 blend. The trainers will be the front line point of contact for clubs, agencies, and public for OHV education and will be chief instructors to train new volunteer instructors. They will also be the lead within the region for locating new training sites and working land use agreements. In 2009 plan creation of a State Trail Ambassador Program with Volunteer Ambassador training on State laws and equipment requirements, Riding opportunities and maps, club opportunities, first-aid/CPR.
LA - our advisory board is working on plans now.
MA - We also plan to create a one-day Trail Training workshop for the broader public and Non-profit community.
MI - Plan to assist with the speed/stopping distance study being conducted by the Forest Service.
TN - Would like to get Mike Riter, Trail Design Specialists, to hold three regional Trail Certification Workshops in Tennessee. Will continue to provide materials and support IMBA trail Care Crew workshops. Would like to get Beneficial Designs to do a trail assessment training.
WV - Getting ready to have training classes for volunteers in sustainable trail construction to build a cadre of trained volunteers in the state to help with maintenance/construction.
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6. Do you have any suggestions or concerns about using education funds, or providing training opportunities in your State?

DE - Searchable trail database for web access (destateparks.com): can we use educational funds to cover project costs? Web-based information is a way to educate trail users where to hike, bike, and ride.
ID - Using a mobile education trailer is a very cost effective way to reach both OHV recreationists and non-OHV recreationists to educate both groups on ethics, shared use, and safety.
IL - Has been hard because the funds are reimbursement and most nonprofits can't front the project funding; plus, we've been able to fund workshops & conferences from other pots.
MO - In 2008, we modified RTP Guidelines and Application to include an educational category for organizations that are interested. However, concern that a large demand in applying for educational projects might reduce or eliminate funds to continue educational training at annual Missouri Trails Summit.
MT - Our approach is that many of our RTP projects have an education component included, so we didn't allocate any monies directly for that purpose. The trail rangers are an example. They patrol, but they also provide education to trail users.
TN - Put a maximum dollar limit on any one project.
TX - Broaden eligibility to include state trail inventory websites and publications, to educate public on existing trail opportunities.
WV - Would like the definition of what is eligible either better worded, or slightly expanded.
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7. If the RTP legislation raised the limit on education funding from 5 to 10 percent, how much would you spend?

AZ - We would not spend any more than the 5% we are currently receiving.
DE - Having the option to increase the educational percentage could be helpful, but of course this would come at the expense of construction, etc. There is a much greater demand for using RTP assistance for development and restoration.
FL - We would probably continue with the 5%. Once the Trails Ed Master Plan is in place AND research shows additional funding is necessary, we would consider using 10%.
ID - 10%: Idaho Parks and Recreation’s education program is still relatively new and continues to grow.
IL - The demand for project funds (trail acquisition and development) is so great in IL that getting work done on-the-ground has been the priority; changing the rules wouldn't change this fact/priority.
IN - 5 percent or less: we probably would still concentrate our monies to put trails on the ground.
KS - 5-10 percent: it really depends upon programs being requested or needed on an annual basis. We often currently use part of Admin allocation as needed for T and E or to sponsor.
LA - We would still not spend more than 5%, since our main focus is on building recreational trails.
MA - We would look to spend up to the 10% limit.
ME - It would depend on the year. There is a much greater demand for development/restoration trail projects then safety/education grants with demand getting greater every year.
MO - Could easily spend the 10 percent of RTP educational funding available each year for our educational projects and to continue our educational training at the Missouri Trail Summit.
MT - If the rate was changed from 5 to 10% we probably would continue as we have been.
TN - Would love to have 10 percent.
TX - Too much demand for construction funding, we need more trails. Most years we exclusively fund construction projects.
WA - Unknown, but we have always allocated up to the maximum five percent limit.
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Examples of safety/education programs:

AZ - Funded a program to take OHV education to classrooms for 8-12 year olds. OHV Ambassadors program is a partnership of BLM, USFS, State Game & Fish, and county sheriffs to provide on-the-ground presence in high use area. The Ambassadors hand out appropriate materials, patrol trails, and do maintenance projects. Ambassadors are provided with ASI and/or MSF certified trainings, first aid/first responder training (to fed agency standards), and required agency volunteer trainings.

DE - Training for state park rangers in Intern Mountain Bike Patrol;
- Safe mountain bike camp targeted to teens.
- Newsletter - $6000 – statewide news of trail projects, trail openings, articles on Leave No Trace
- Environmental education wayside exhibits - $15,000 – Waysides are geared to educate about natural and cultural resources and to develop resource stewardship .

FL - TEAM Green activity book ($20,000), Tread Lightly! and Leave No Trace training.

ID - OHV sfaety education materials including banners, certificates, student workbooks, instructor range cards
- Working with the National Off-highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) the education program has developed situational environmental education flip cards for volunteer instructors as they teach the responsible riding practices lesson within the course curriculum.
- three mobile education trailer with NOHVCC Adventure Trail messages
- Working with the Wyoming Off-highway Vehicle Safety Educator the education program has purchased a train simulator that can accommodate an ATV, motorbike or snowmobile.

IL - General trails etiquette brochure, trail signage. We also have a grant to do OHV safety training ($5,000).

IN - We have a grant to do OHV safety training ($5,000). We have had a couple requests from equestrian and OHV users.

KS - KS Recreational Trail Planning Guide $10,000;
- Various Trail Safety guide for specific trails, $5,000 ea;
- Various Trail Guides, $5,000 ea. Statewide Trail Maps and descriptions, $20,000;
- Bee A KS Explorer program targeting 4&5 grades through schools, $5,000 annually.

ME - Leave no Trace Master Training projects: Maine Island Trail Association, $5,000; Acadia Partners, $5,000
- Interns for Environmental Education: Lake Environmental Association, $4200; Maine Appalachian Trail club, $5,000
- Design/install information kiosks or brochures: Saco Spirit, $2,000; LA Trails, $4,000; ATV Maine, $1,440
- Lyme Disease education signs and posters—Maine Medical Center, $4,352

ND - All funds go to ATV and snowmobile safety training courses.

TN - $10,000 grant to NOHVCC for the publication of the Adventure Trails workbook and Interactive CD.
- $10,000 grant for the development and production of Tennessee Greenways and Trails: Building Healthy Communities.
- $11,500 grant to the Alliance for the Cumberlands for the Cumberland Plateau Nature Viewing Trail Phase 1 project.

WA - Backcountry Horsemen, Leave No Trace, $12.500: For purchase of projection and classroom materials, signs and a trailer awning, and travel expenses and booth space for educational program that teaches people how to take care of the environment when they are in the wild.
- Sullivan Lake Ranger District, Pend Oreille Valley Snowmobiles, $15,225: Purchase a snowmobile to support the Winter Recreation program and monitor the 650 miles of designated, groomed snowmobile trails on the forest.
- Mt. Baker Ranger District, Mountain Steward Volunteers, $22,800: Provide a volunteer to coordinate volunteers educating visitors on 3 of the busiest trail systems on the district. The program includes wilderness ethics, Leave No Trace, forest regulations, and safety.

Examples of training projects:

AZ - We have conducted statewide trail workshops and conferences, and continually provide OHV safety/responsibility materials.

CO - We provide funds to OSI to host trail workshops, and develop trails training curriculum. We also use the funds to host other trainings.

FL - Funding state and regional conferences, and workshops including UTAP & Building Better Trails (since 2006 = $168,000), OHV Management Workshop ($5,000 plus purchase of OHV Park Guidelines books, Southeast Equestrian Conference, and Grant Implementation Workshops.

IL - We cosponsored the Mid America Trails and Greenways conference in Chicago last winter ($5,000).

IN - We cosponsored the Mid America Trails and Greenways conference in Chicago last winter ($5,000).

KS - Funds annual trails conference that focuses on training and education (many partners are also involved); $3,000 annually.
- Trail Assessment Training, $4,000 annually.

MA - For two years we have funded a three-day State Parks Staff construction and maintenance "Trail School." We believe that good training is critical to successful sustainable trail development and maintenance.

ME - Bureau of Parks and Lands: Snowmobile Groomer Training, $5,000.00

MO - We have funded training for trail consultants to insure safe and environmentally sound trails for the last three years at our annual Missouri Trail Summit. In 2006, we provided $2,500 for training; in 2007, $3,000; in 2008, $3,000.

TN - Workshops, conferences, materials for technical resources:
- $10,000 to IMBA for production of the Managing Mountain Bikes book.
- $2,000 to provide IMBA Trail Solutions and Managing Mountain Bikes books for four IMBA Trail Care Crew workshops.
- $10,000 to Backcountry Horseman of East Tennessee for 2007 Southeast Equestrian Trail Conference (SETC) in Knoxville.
- $5,000 for Tennessee Greenways and Trails Workshop in 2007.

TX - The bulk of our funded education projects have been for state trail conferences and workshops. E.g. statewide trails conference: $12,000.

 


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The National Trails Training Partnership is an alliance of Federal agencies, training providers, nationwide supporters, and providers of products and services. Visit the online calendar of training opportunities, access hundreds of trail-related resources, read the news, learn how you can help, and see training resources in your state.

This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Highway Administration under Cooperative Agreement DTFH61-06-H-00023. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Federal Highway Administration.

 

 

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