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Training and education

NATIONAL TRAILS TRAINING PARTNERSHIP MEETING

Reno, Nevada -- March 11, 2005 -- M I N U T E S

PARTICIPANTS:

  • Craig Bailes, Trail Project Coordinator, Catalina Island Conservancy
  • Roger Bell, Professional Trailbuilders Assoc. and American Trails
  • Monica Clay, Tread Lightly! communications
  • Christopher Douwes, FHWA Recreational Trails Program
  • Steve Elkinton, NPS National Trails System
  • Pam Gluck, Executive Director, American Trails
  • Kim Frederick, COTI and Jefferson Co. Open Space
  • Jan Hancock, AZ, rep for Back Country Horsemen of America
  • Ann Hill, BLM National Training Center
  • Woody Keen, Trail Dynamics, NC, PTBA, and IMBA board
  • Cam Lockwood, Trails Unlimited
  • Jonathan LeClere, FHWA RTP contractor
  • Stuart Macdonald, American Trails and NTTP
  • Troy Scott Parker, NatureShape/PTBA
  • Jamie Schwartz, USFS DC
  • Jerry Wilbour, president PTBA and Northwest Trails, Inc, WA

2005 Co-Conveners: USDA Forest Service and Tread Lightly!

<<TO DO items are in bold italics.>>

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Training Content and Competencies Committee

Steve: NPS web based training catalog now includes link to NTTP. He also showed a copy of Arrowhead, the NPS employees newsletter, with an article on NTTP titled "Federal Agencies Support Trails Training."

<<Steve: provide electronic copy to give to other Partners as an example of using the MOU for publicizing NTTP.>>

Jamie: has list of construction skills and Program skills, a vision to get together the skills needed and then see how to provide the instruction. Four series, 100 through 400 based on basic to advanced skills. Some like mountain bike trail design, are already being done effectively by IMBA and other groups. Focus on which skills can be done by private experts or organizations, and which should be developed by USFS and other agencies.

Roger: should NTTP develop and promote a trails competencies program to develop a curriculum for trails? Would help identify NTTP with nationally significant training.

<<Pam: Have Competencies Committee develop the idea and pursue it with leadership from PTBA members.>>

Outreach Committee

Discussion on IMBA marketing efforts

-- updated website

-- IMBA contracted with consultants to produce

-- "speak-respect-work-ride" keywords are effective

-- long live long rides slogan

-- "what would we do without trails" is part of new campaign with print ads

-- contest with photos: bagpipers, shuffleboard, bowling, bodybuilding

-- Stuart: could we come up with keywords for NTTP: "share-teach-learn"

Marketing Plan

[Copies of Draft NTTP Marketing Plan distributed]

-- strategies should be realistic, low cost, and actually get things done

-- list the main objective

-- one thing this plan doesn't do is to nail down a message, e.g. IMBA message, slogans, and key words. One suggestion: "TrailsTraining.net: your link to trail training"

NTTP should develop stickers, giveaways, help people associate NTTP with training and education. Let people know there are more opportunities available.

Troy: agree with marketing plan. If NTTP was really a link between people who need training and those who provide it, we'd be accomplishing our goals.

Tread Lightly! and IMBA have both been successful at getting corporate sponsorship to put on training.

Troy has a new logo idea for NTTP for us to consider: simple, one color, and easy to reproduce.

College-Level Curriculum

-- trails aren't included in college-level outdoor programs.

-- promote sample trails curriculum to university programs to include in parks and rec, in facilities management, landscape architecture, etc.

-- goal is to get universities and agencies to work more closely together.

Stuart: NTTP should collect materials, curricula, etc that could be made available on a variety of trails-related topics for people to add into their training courses or other educational programs. Archives

Marshall University, Guelph in Ontario, used to have a trails program

USDA has a USDA Graduate School with all kinds of courses in Washington, DC (Jamie doesn't have connections there).

Roger: suggest we commission academics to produce a college-level curriculum on trails and greenways. Internet related course

<<What does it cost to produce a course or curriculum?>>

<<identify existing courses or professors who have taught trail-related programs>>

Jan: getting a curriculum universally approved is the big issue. Talking to Don Sharpio who will be coming to BLM training center as director.

Kim: there is a lot of training out there, but not a competent conduit for making it available. Not a lot of new stuff in the works, however. Not well managed to make it available. One area in NTTP strategy, working with higher education, it is difficult to get it established. Have established a ranger program in a Colorado community college for recreation management that includes a trails component.

Colorado State University in Fort Collins has Pingree Park, a fairly remote facility with outdoor space suitable for teaching trail construction, etc.

<<Roger: will talk to John Collins and Roger Moore to see whether a trails curriculum could be developed. Will report back to NTTP. >>

<<Stuart: will meet with Raymond Busbee at Marshall University to discuss how he developed college-level OHV curriculum.>>

Ann: The trails course that BLM offers grew out of NTTP discussions. The need that BLM has is similar to need in other agencies, states, and communities for trails education. But didn't want to duplicate efforts of others already in business. Identified the gap was in trails crew members on the ground doing work and the planning/big picture of recreation on public lands.

Ann: On funding issue, we don't pay the trainers since they are generally agency people. Have wondered if they should look at having outside or private people do the actual training from the course content.

Stuart: can we use the curriculum that they have already developed, and provide it to other agencies, States, or organizations, or universities that want to put together a similar course.

Ann: yes, but want to be sure the quality is maintained, and that the interagency developers would be included in how it might be used in the future.

Steve: would like to link this to what's already on the NTTP website and make comments.

Ann: compare with BLM training needs survey from several years ago which is posted on the website (link in list of bullets on NTTP home page).

Jonathan: a lot of expertise among NTTP partners here. Let's focus on what we do know and include on the NTTP website top information sources like grant writing. Develop several free online courses on key topics such as improving your website and grant writing.

NTTP Workplan from American Trails

Pam also provided American Trails workplan which includes NTTP. New Trail Tracks newsletter has article on NTTP, which is something we do in every issue. Involved in research, such as working with Roger Moore to update trails research needs. Universal Trails Accessibility Process project is training people around the country, and we hired Mike Passo to survey all the States on how they are using UTAP and how we can more effectively deliver UTAP training.

We'll also be doing a full color professional brochure on NTTP this year, which we've added to the marketing plan. Expanding networks of contacts and reaching more people. Using the website more effectively and getting more people to use the training calendar as well as sending us their training opportunity announcements.

We also did research on university contacts and trail-related programs, and will provide that information to Roger Bell and others who are working on curriculum project with Competencies Committee.

Stuart discussed TrailsTraining.net website improvements, and branding pages with the NTTP identity like the Calendar, the Resources index page, and the various resource topic pages (click on the "Resources & Archives" logo at the top any page). Have created a new feedback form which is available on the website. On several pages we will invite comments or suggestions, and ask things like "did you find what you are looking for?" and "did you find this website useful?" We will be adding counters to key pages like the Calendar to better track how the website is used. An additional project is to create an online database of training providers and events that will be searchable by state, by topic, and by keyword. It should help people find training as well as connect with experts who can create training with a local or state sponsor.

Craig suggested a bulletin board for comments and for connecting people with training. We could provide email updates periodically. We are also gathering new contacts and comments from visitors via the website feedback form.

Working with Contractors and Trails Experts

Gerry: People need project management skills, contract management skills. Agencies throughout US are hiring people who don't have skills in working with contractors in trails work. So much new interest in trails, we need to raise sills level.

<<USFS Region 6 used to put on a course: where is documentation on it?>>

Ann Hill: on project management skills: BLM is trying to work on similar skills based on NPS materials. Identified as a need.

Woody: Trails are dynamic, new issues like accessibility come along all the time. Even backpacking has changed with technology. Ways that trails are being used are changing.

Private contractors can't keep doing training for free. People are prepared to provide more education. But you need to get outdoors to teach effectively. Need to partner with agencies that have the land. Need buy-in from public agencies to raise their level of skills, since trails advocates are constantly raising new ideas and activities.

Stuart: Could we work closer to take advantage of expertise in the private sector and make it available, while helping promote trail-related services. How can we raise the awareness of what private people are doing for trails education and make experts available to the people and organizations who need training.

Gerry: Want to bring this issue to PTBA membership on ways to work with NTTP and market expertise.

Christopher: reviews papers for Transportation Research Board. One was a health focus paper on where is the best place to locate trails.

<<Send contact for Transportation Research Board to Rich Dolesh at NRPA>>

Accessible trails training

American Trails is going to provide a one-day training session on accessible trails at the State Trail Administrators meeting in Delaware next September. We hope to offer this one-day course under the NTTP brand name to individual states and other local hosts. Goal is to find a corporate or foundation sponsor to provide funding to bring in speakers and make the training less expensive. It is part of our marketing goal to build awareness of NTTP as the national clearinghouse on trails training.

Christopher: FHWA is going to make a major effort to ensure that State transportation agencies are bringing access up to standard in new and rebuilt pedestrian facilities. It will be important to provide good information on accessibility. USFS is in the process of adopting accessible trail requirements based on the Regulatory Negotiation Committee report.

Steve: concerns about how NTTP may be seen to favor one training provider over another. We need to be careful about how we state the role of NTTP as sponsor, facilitator, or provider. Branding or co-branding is the word we want to use, not certification.

Jamie: even though NTTP may not be actually putting on the training or producing courses, we should be making info and sources available.

Pam: We know that accessibility is crucially important to FHWA and other agencies. We will bring the accessible training course to your state, and you can use your RTP funds to support it. We will be providing the course ready to go and the State will provide the meeting venue and hosting. We'll help put it on and market it.

Everyone agrees that accessibility is a key issue that will be a national, multi-year effort.

Stuart: we want NTTP to be a leader in providing or facilitating training on the issue.

Colorado Outdoor Training Initiative (COTI)

Kim Frederick presented new COTI materials and the trails crew leader training manual. It was developed by cooperative work among several Colorado training providers. The manual includes a complete curriculum for teaching crew leader skills.

Pam discussed the potential for NTTP to work with COTI on making the training usable by agencies and organizations around the country. We want to look for potential funding sources and State sponsors for training programs based on the curriculum.

Steve: concerned about sole source and NTTP endorsing a commercial product.

Kim: this is a multi-agency project that many have contributed to. Not really selling it but using it as a way to get funding

Other Items of Note

Pam: Recreational Trails Awards program is seeking nominations for awards (see www.AmericanTrails.org and select "Awards" from the "Select a topic" pull-down menu.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

Next NTTP Meeting: Friday, June 10, 2005 at US Fish & Wildlife Service building at Ballston, Virginia, Metro stop, same place we met last June. This will be at the end of the June 6-10 Great Outdoors Week in Washington, DC.

Adjourned 11:55 a.m.

Minutes taken by Stuart Macdonald.

The National Trails Training Partnership
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 (530) 547-2060 Fax: (530) 547-2035 nttp@americantrails.org www.AmericanTrails.org

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