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NTTP meeting: March 17-18, 2011

Minutes of National Trails Training Partnership meeting:
Asheville, NC at Professional Trailbuilders "Sustainable Trails Conference," Crowne Plaza Hotel




Thursday, March 17, 5 PM to 7 PM - Reception (Overlook Room)

• Welcome and Introduction to National Trails Training Partnership
• Roundtable on training opportunities, new resources, ideas, and concerns

Friday, March 18, 9 AM to 12:30 PM - (Mt. Pisgah Room)

9:00 - Brief Introductions

9:15 - Memorandum of Understanding for National Trails Training

9:30 - Accessible Trails training
- Responding to DOJ rule on "other power-driven mobility devices"
- webinars, future workshops, other training

10:00 - Nationwide survey on Trails Training

12:00 - Improving communications on training - discussion
- Pros and cons of listserv and similar email lists
- Facebook account as a better option?




Stuart Macdonald welcomed participants and gave an introduction to National Trails Training Partnership.

• Memorandum of Understanding for National Trails Training Partnership

Jamie Schwartz gave an update on progress in getting this agreement signed to replace the 2004 MOU. He expressed thanks to Christopher Douwes for fine tuning the language.

This current version is based on a MOU Jamie wrote for shooting sports. For the federal side it includes a liaison for each agency. Similar to most MOUs, overview of what we do. All signatories have a paragraph about their organization. Ultimately the goal is formalize the agreement and get everyone working together. Goal is more quality training and more sustainable trails, increasing communication. The MOU is kept open and as broad as possible so it can be expanded as needed. Create a work plan annually to include more nuts and bolts or the priorities items for each year. Opportunity to fine tune it annually.

There has been a programmatic review but still have to go through legal counsel. Have to make sure if any issues have come up since we started the process. So partner agencies will review once more. Different departments have their own review processes. USFS legal staff have approved it. American Trails will be contacting the 23 nonprofits and asking them to sign it.

Stuart: glad to see more groups added, such as water trails. Great breadth of interests, all across the outdoor recreation spectrum. Will be a good time to publicize NTTP as well as the cooperation of motorized and nonmotorized, including every federal agency. Not many initiatives have such wide support.

Jamie: Will be able to have a signing ceremony at some point. Christopher suggested National Trails Day if possible. Jamie thinks Great Outdoors Week, June 12-18, might be more likely. Get as many people there to sign as possible.

• PlayCore "Pathways for Play" program

See Pathways for Play program and guidebook

Pam Gluck described this effort to get kids in the outdoors. Coming out of the Outdoor Learning Initiative from University of North Carolina. They felt children need more sustained physical activity besides just playgrounds. They have reached out to the trails community. At that point Pam and American Trails got together to brainstorm. Out of that came the Pathways for Play program, new ways to encourage kids to enjoy trails, to want to take their families out on trails. PlayCore came up with new product line. Both fun and educational programming. They developed a website, which American Trails just gave an award to. AT will continue work promoting.

Christopher: not all of the stuff is eligible for funding, but some of the interpretation is. Federal people can't endorse this manufacturer to the exclusion of other manufacturer.

• Accessibility: "Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices" on trails

See OPDMD Questions & Answers, Webinar, and examples of Policies:

Stuart discussed the issue as an example of a need to provide new training, help trail managers understand how to write new policies. American Trails will add new index page for policies from local land managers. See

Randy asked about application to national forests. While the DOJ rule doesn't actually apply to federal lands, Janet Zeller (USFS) is putting on training for USFS people specifically. Also sending info through Forest accessibility coordinators.

Christopher cited a situation where adjoining state and local lands do allow other devices. Jamie noted it is just like a bike trail going up to designated wilderness.

Christopher - say transportation funds used for a rail trail, which is plenty side, smooth, and level enough to accommodate. Does disability office very much in favor of alternative accessibility. Can't see how a Segway (or similar electric device) could be rejected on any shared use facility. Will need to determine what is consistent with FHWA.

Technically they are illegal but people do use them even without a disability. Person WITH a disability shall be permitted, to apply to any USDOT funded facility. But doesn't deal with golf carts or internal combustion. Also doesn't give permission to Segway tours on the Mall etc.

• Improving communications on training - Facebook and other social media

Tom Umphress - Boy Scouts organization is going to all of these including LinkedIn as well as Twitter, Face Book, and blogs. The advantage is the ability to easily post and get your word out quickly, especially when appealing to younger community and teenagers. Haven't seen local trail partners, or "older" groups using these as much.

Jamie - See Leave No Trace and what they are doing. See their home page where they have some photos and video clips showing people out on trails. It's more interactive, engaged, and shows some of the principles like picking up trash in an entertaining way. Enables visitors to see different activities to give a flavor visually.

Scott - Have been thinking about this, but haven't a conclusion on how it might help NTTP. Great way for social groups or friends to connect and keep in touch, or follow celebrities as fans. But when folks are looking for information or news, they are more likely to just go to a website. You don't need the constant updates. It's an electronic way to identify with organizations, like a sticker on your car, showing your friends what you like.

For local trail groups social media is an easy way to get a lot of information out. More socially entertained. No point in wasting a lot of time on electronic outreach if it doesn't meet the specific needs of the group.

Stuart - Would it be more effective than monthly or bimonthly enews on training. Timely news or sort of timely? run down on new trails training opportunities. Scott - it all comes down to news and how timely is it.

Stuart - Would people be willing to provide info regularly for training? American Trails can brand a large-exposure email newsletter with NTTP.

The goal is to increase exposure to training, and provide a portal to link into the NTTP website. Especially for younger people, to increase their interest in trails training. Maybe a way for people using FB to find trail training opportunities.

Christopher - Secretary of Transportation uses FaceBook.

Pam - We have been looking for ways to reach out to youth. Especially training, skills, jobs. Recent survey shows that American Trails is not reaching youth the way we would like.

Scott - Taking what AT and NTTP can do, facilitate smaller group more socially connected with corps members. Facilitating more social networking with groups that are more connected to youth.

Jack - We need commitment to get accurate information out there, show the real benefit to spreading the word. Yesterday we realized how many people were unaware of the training opportunities and funding through states. But it would take someone to moderate. That's the idea with FaceBook, where you don't need a moderator.

Scott - A lot of people try to use FB for information sharing rather than networking.

• National Survey on Trails Training

Christopher has a request for applications for funding to do trails training. Open to all potential applicants, university, private companies, etc. Currently the contract is with American Trails, who is s,pondering the NTTP meeting today. The proposal includes a user satisfaction survey as a desired, not required task to be accomplished. Have Office of Management and Budget approval to do a survey, which is really difficult. Discussed with Federal Interagency Committee on Trails. There is a separate permission for a survey for national scenic and historic trails, but that is a different project.

Survey has to be done before November 2011. Getting the survey done, not the analysis. Goal is allowing the survey to be available, but not required, and not a burden on the public. Not sure how many responses could be generated, but have set a goal of 2,000 responding. And up to 200 phone surveys as well. So whoever gets this cooperative agreement might decide to target certain groups like PTBA members.

This survey is allowing the applicant to propose what they want to do and how this information would be useful.

Stuart - Survey Monkey is easy and would be cost effective. Phone survey would be more challenging and costly. The real question is regardless of what people tell us, what would we find out that we could act on? What should we ask? What kinds of information would be most useful to us in promoting training?

Pam - For instance people may tell us that it is hard to travel, and what delivery systems like webinars would enable to learn more without traveling. Of course the on-the-ground skills need to be taught in appropriate ways.

Christopher - The Request for Applications requires the recipient of the agreement to continue to work with all of the land management agencies and organizations. What kind of information would they want and how would they use it?

Christopher suggested making this a discussion topic for the June NTTP meeting and the cooperative agreement would be signed by then. It would be good to include more people on the discussion.

Stuart - Will write up some ideas on what could be in a survey so attendees could have something to respond to. The survey needs to get out to the public quickly to get done by November.

Earlier 1999 survey that BLM did might be worth looking at. We will do some research on what people have learned from surveys.

Jack - Goal of survey: to be more effective, get responses from people on the ground level. Not for example, federal offices, but the people who actually work on trails and might actually need the training.

Other ideas:
- youth and conservation corps participants
- volunteers with trail organizations
- youth work programs like Jefferson County Open Space

Jeremy Wimpey - Would be willing to review survey questions.

Agencies and organizations could put a link to the survey on their websites (rather than forwarding links by email, which can trigger spam filters).


• Next NTTP meeting in Washington, DC - June 17, 2010 (9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday June 15 is the day for CRT-RTP awards
Saturday the 11th is Great Outdoor Day, a lot of events in the DC area.

We'll be putting together an agenda and welcome any discussion items or suggestions.

Our host again is Nathan Caldwell of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Location: U.S. FWS offices, 200 A&B (second floor of main building)
4401 N. Fairfax Dr. (at Ballston Metro Station), Arlington, VA 22203

• Meeting Adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Notes submitted by Stuart Macdonald.



Fred Bannan, DLNR Hawaii
Randy Burgess, Pisgah National Forest, NC
Nathan Burrell, Richmond, VA
Paul Cremer, Weaverville, NC
Christopher Douwes, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC
Pam Gluck, Executive Director, American Trails
Edward Goodell, Mahwah, NJ
Richard Goulding, Port Hope, ON
Bill Goulding, Port Perry, ON
Ellen Jensen, Dover, NH
Peter Jensen, Trail contractor, Great Barrington, MA
Woody Keen, Professional Trailbuilders Association
Scott Linnenburger, Kay-Linn Enterprises
Stuart Macdonald, NTTP Program Manager, American Trails
Kathryn Moore, Asheville, NC
Alan Polk, Gainesville, GA
Ellen Jensen, Dover, NH
Larry Knutson, Newville, PA
Josh Minalga
Charles W Schaefer, Waynesville, NC
Jamie Schwartz, USFS, Washington, DC (by telephone)
Patrick Scott, Pisgah National Forest, NC
Austin Steo, Silver Spring, MD
Jack Terrell, Auburndale, FL

Tom Umphress, NOHVCC
Edward Walsh, Accord, NY
Robin Wilcox, Portland, OR
Jeremy Wimpey, State College, PA
Hans xxx,


National Trails Training Partnership:

American Trails workshops:

Featured Training Providers:

download free on-demand webinar on DOJ power-mobility device rule:

Accessible Trails and ADA issues index:

Pathways for Play program and guidebook:


See the list of NTTP Steering Committee members and a comprehensive list of agencies and organizations supporting the National Trails Training Partnership.

NTTP Home Page:
About NTTP:
Calendar of Trainings:
Resources and Library:

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