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NTTP Partnership meeting:
June 4, 2012

Notes from National Trails Training Partnership meeting, June 4, 2012, Washington, DC - National Park Service Office




Stuart Macdonald, National Assoc. of State Trail Administrators and NTTP project manager for American Trails
Christopher Douwes, Federal Highway Administration
Pam Gluck, American Trails
Steve Elkinton, National Park Service
Jack Terrell, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
Karen Umphress, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
Jim Miller, Equine Land Conservation Resource
Dianne Olson, Tread Lightly!
Sheila Franklin, American Hiking Society
Jamie Schwartz, US Forest Service


Gary Werner, Partnership for the National Trail System
Sherril York, Indiana University
Denise O'Meara, Equine Land Conservation Resource
Kit Keller, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
Royce Wood, American Motorcyclist Association
Jamie Mierau, American Rivers
Jonathan LeClere, FHWA contractor




Welcome and Introductions

Stuart Macdonald -
Training is why we're here, building better trails. People realizing that training is important, that they need training.


Roundtable Discussion on Current Training Issues and Oportunities

Jamie Schwartz, USFS
- Still tracking the agencies signing MOU for trails training. NPS has signed. Still USACE, FWS, FHWA, and BLM to sign and then back to USFS. Legally the MOU is all taken care of and input from legal people, approved. Then becomes active for five years on last signature. Original one with NGOs was also five. All 24 of the organizations have already signed.

Jack Terrell and Karen Umphress, NOHVCC
- NOHVCC has given out over 8,000 trail advocacy DVDs.
- National conference coming up in August 2012.
- Three workshops in CO, WI, and PA. 25 state people involved with OHV recreation are participating.
- Creating a new webinar on getting started with physical activity and riding.
- Newsletter: had a series last year on getting kids involved in the outdoors.
- National OHV management courses through Marshall University (sections three and four) are now online.
- Working with “School Media” which does posters and graphics to promote health, education, nutrition, and safety; for high schools, ethics; starting with 23 schools reaching over 20,000 students.

Sheila Franklin, American Hiking Society
- National Trails Day embraces all kinds of trail activities
- Worked with Boy Scouts on National Trails Day and created a new patch. They did a good job of promoting NTD.

Steve Elkinton, NPS
- Has served as chair of the Federal Interagency Council on Trails for several years.
- Recent National Historic Trails course on making the trails more visible and connected with the public.
- Best management practices is another key issues; with water trails it's very important and the river people are especially picking up on it.

Royce Wood, AMA
- Redeveloping a new initiative on “Great Trails” and will have some exciting things on trail building and maintenance to report on later.

Jamie Mireau, American Rivers
- Working nationwide to help local people develop new trails and work on conservation of rivers.
- Blue trails workshops
- Working on designation of blueways initiative
- NPS and river conservation groups have launched "River Stories" with National Grographic to highlight some of the best river recreation and conservation efforts across the country.

Kit Keller, APBP
- Webinar series has been very successful; third wednesday of each month offer webinar on planning and design, technology, land use, intersection design, safety, liability, wayfinding for bikes and peds, transportation issues on bicycle and pedestrian facilities
- Archived webinars are online; older ones are free online.
- Travel budget problems mean webinars have been more popular.
- Encourage people to meet together and discuss issues.
- Probike/Prowalk is big nationwide conference.
- APBP has about 1,100 members now.

Diane Olson, Tread Lightly!
- Providing educational programs of one or two days.
- Promote responsible outdoor recreation with programs for all activities, fishing, hunting, bicycling, hiking, equestrians, etc.
- Publishing brochures.
- Working with Boy Scouts of America to include Tread Lightly in their programs; great opportunities with their huge network.

Jamie Schwatrz, USFS
- Girl Scouts also involved in promoting trails with their Centennial coming up
- Working with Boy Scouts as well, and their next round of manuals will include Tread Lightly messages using their big shooting sports programs as an example; many hunters use ATVs so ethics are a big issue.
- “Ride on Designated Trails” promotion and posters.
- One example is “Ride on Utah” and working with Wyoming and other states; will also follow up with a research project to see how these efforts help change behavior.
- Leave No Trace – “Frontcountry” masters course for equestrians focused on heavy use and resource issues in IN and IL; looking to get a chapter in each state.
- Working with San Dimas research office on developing a higher level curriculum building on the “Trails 101” broad scale design; more like landscape architecture and trail system and recreation planning.

Jim Miller, representing ELCR
- Working with public land managers on better trail management.
- Training on conservation easements for variety of trail activities as well as equestrians.
- Our many types of outdoor activities have more in common that people might think, and we are encouraging more cooperation.

Denise O'Meara, ELCR
- Trails planning, encouraging public input and understanding implications for equine interests; goal is better connections in trail systems, providing more access on private and public land.

Christopher Douwes, FHWA, TE and Recreational Trails programs
- FHWA has a lot of training that trails people can benefit from.
- GSA conference scandal has had a big negative impact on federal travel; agencies apparently are being told to cut travel to a minimum.
- This also affects organizations that are sponsoring conferences and training that federal people normally participate in.

Gary Werner, PNTS
- Workshops for National Scenic Trails; recently held workshop for National Historic Trails; first time we focused on how put historic trails on the ground for visitors to experience the landscape; how a historic trail can relate to a community; new emphasis in addition to telling stories and recounting the histories; included National Wildlife Refuge large landscape initiative; learning about friends organizations for some of the Refuges and how historic trails people can create similar groups

Sherril York, IU, National Center for Accessibility
- Offering several courses on accessibility issues including trails.
- Also do contract training for agencies.
- Will be doing webinars as well.
- Did a survey on accessible surfaces that managers are using for trails around the country; still compiling information.

Pam Gluck, American Trails
- Update on big bi-annual conference, now called American Trails International Trails Symposium. Invited NTTP supporters to submit proposals for presentations and to help publicize this great training opportunity. Will be held east of Phoenix, Arizona, April 14-17, 2013. For details see

Stuart Macdonald
- Showed PowerPoint on NTTP and training issues, goals, accompishments, online training clearinghouse.


National Trails Training Survey

Stuart Macdonald

FICT initiated the request, and FHWA had an opportunity for permission to do a voluntary survey. This was done as part of American Trails’ agreement with FHWA. Sent out to wide trails community rather than to a targeted list. Received 1,051 responses. See full report and summaries by respondent type at:

Overall, most respondents did not feel that lack of training is a serious problem.

A likely conclusion is that for most people, training is not a major issue, but the quality and availability could be improved.
While we didn’t ask about satisfaction with specific types of training, it appears that people are quite satisfied with some skill areas, like basic volunteer trail skills.
However, training may not be as widely available or taught as often as some would like. For instance, chain saw training is a clear-cut skill with a specific curriculum, but we often hear there is either a shortage of instructors or classes.

We also found that over half of respondents are already hosting their own training, presumably to meet a local or agency need.
Half also said they plan to host or sponsor training in the next two years.
For NTTP the challenge is to get in the information channels so that we can publicize these efforts and encourage cooperation among groups and agencies who need the training.

Diane - survey brings up more questions:
- What did people see as the consequences of inadequate training?
- How many people have heard of NTTP before this?
- Is NTTP becoming more synonymous with training?

Steve - A good effort; surveys help shape attitudes as well as answer questions. Can these priorities help set the scene for future conferences?

Pam - We had 583 responses on survey about programs for the next Symposium. People identified 12 top interests. They want to see more networking opportunities, more in-depth information, and lower overall cost of attending. This all depends on sponsorships for support and keeping costs down.


"Trails 101" Interagency Trails Course

Course will not be held at all in 2012.
FWS apparently did not send out requests to line up instructors in time.

Christopher notes that federal agencies can’t “sole source” fees for this training. There needs to be an agency to be in charge.

Steve would like to see it coordinated through a nonprofit.
If the course is still needed-- and others say it is-- we should figure out how to keep it going.

Jamie - USFS had filled 11 slots one year and 13 the last year it was offered.
- There has been confusion over which agency should pay for what.
- Lack of planning for coming year meant that costs of the instructors were needlessly high.
- Lack of commitment on putting on the course, which has been cancelled two years in a row.

Sheila - If a nonprofit took it over, would they be able to send students? Would there be any funding support?
- Taking the show on the road, could it be brought to local regions to reduce travel for attendees.
- Cross state travel can be difficult for some.
- Is there any certification involved? Various organizations provide their own versions of training, but Trails 101 provides a broader curriculum that is considered credible by all of the agencies. Agency “approval” is the issue.
- CEUs are attractive to many people.
- Curriculum is built and there is a cadre of instructors that have experience teaching the course.

Pam - Symposium: looking for ideas. Call for presentations will be going out in about a month. Will appreciate help in getting the word out on opportunities to submit ideas for workshops and programs.
- International emphasis: trailbuilders around the world, many people are interested in what Americans are doing with trails and greenways. Other countries have some inspriational projects such as Trans Canada Trail and new trail systems in Australia and New Zealand.
- Bring in speakers to be part of panels, not a separate track for international presenters.
- There is an International Award as part of the American Trails Awards program.
- We would appreciate promoting the Symposium among other organizations' international contacts.

Pam – American Trails has been organizing and hosting webinars after trying one out in 2011 on accessibility issues. Current planned webinars are at:
- Attendance has been very good; people seem willing to set aside an hour and a half for in-depth learning on specific topics.
- Suggest a task force to promote the whole variety of webinars which different organizations are hosting. Any ideas for cross promoting?

Gary would like to see some coordination among different webinar sponsors on marketing.
- Idea for American Trails: promote webinars under different categories, e.g. transportation, bike/ped facilities, trails, motorized, etc.

Kit suggests identifying what kinds of continuing education credits are available


Wrap up

Stuart - We need your information on new resources and publications as well as training. Be sure we are on your mailing list.
- We have had good articles on different training providers and projects. We always need more articles on training topics for monthly eNewsletter.
- We want to encourage people to add links to NTTP resources and calendar on their websites.

Pam - What ideas do partners have for efforts they can make? what information could we provide to help partners promote training?

Gary - There is a lot of hands-on training that can't be done online or by webinars.

Christopher - none of the federal agencies have trails as a top priority, so the issue never rises to the attention of top management. How can trail programs and training become self-sustaining? Trails are a tiny fraction of FHWA funding and programs.

Sheila - Efforts have to be from the local level up, citing example of working with BLM, whether motorized or nonmotorized.

Jack - crucial to show the benefits to local trail efforts; helping volunteers become effective advocates for better trails; how you interact with the agencies.

Royce - building training modules for online education, instead of just holding a meeting somewhere

Jamie – We need more discussion to resolve the Trails 101 issue and how to keep the class going.

Christopher - Is there a way to have friendly, noncompetitive corporate support of training and education? training needs to be seen as non-political

Steve: leadership training - for many projects, who is the expert or the spark plug?


Meeting Adjourned 2:00 p.m.



*** Write up a reminder about NTTP and resources to encourage people to link to calendar and promote training opportunities (Steve's suggestion)

*** Send your URLs or web sites to Stuart with any programs and training you'd like to share

*** Provide Jamie with good examples of articles relevant to his agency (e.g. NRTs, equestrian packing, volunteers, conservation corps, etc.); success stories: benefits to agency, to the public, promoting trail activities.



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

NTTP Home Page:

Featured Training Providers:

About NTTP:

Calendar of Trainings:

Resources and Library:

Accessible Trails and ADA issues index:

American Trails workshops:

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

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