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NTTP Partnership meeting:
April 17 2013

Notes from National Trails Training Partnership meeting, with State Trail Administrators at International Trails Symposium- Fort McDowell, Arizona

Notes by Steve Elkinton, National Park Service



ATTENDING - Name - Agency or organization - E-mail

Marguerite Austin - WA State Recr. & Conservation Office -
Robert Baldwin - Arizona State Parks, RTP -
David Bartoo - Delaware DNR -
Bill Bastress - AR Highway & Transportation Dept. -
Bob Bronson - Indiana DNR -
Brigit Brown - Wisconsin DNR -
Ryan Burns - West Virginia Dept. of Transportation -
Ian Caldwell - Oregon State Parks -
Yvonne Diller - Iowa DNR -
Christopher Douwes - FHWA, RTP -
Steve Elkinton - National Park Service -
Kevin Farrell - WA Dept. of Ecology, WCC Program -
John Favro - American Trails Chair, TrailsGuy, Inc. -
Kim Frederick - Chinook Associates -
John Flynn - New Jersey DEP -
Laurie Giannotti - Connecticut State Parks, RTP -
Bill Gibson - BLM Arizona State Office -
J. Scott Groenier - Forest Service Missoula T+D Center -
D’Juan Hammonds - Ohio DNR -
Jan Hancock - American Trails Board -
Darcy Harris - Alaska DNR, State Parks -
Jim Keeler - Land Use Planning Support Cntr’g -
Jason Ketterick - Tread Lightly! -
Randy Kittle - South Dakota State Parks -
Dan Kleen - NOHVCC -
Leon LaVigne - USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region -
Jon LeClere - FHWA Contractor
Alex MacDonald - Pennsylvania DCNR -
Stuart Macdonald - American Trails -
Sandi McFarland - US Forest Service, Nez Perce NHT -
Ron McKinney - Wyoming State Parks & Trails -
Kevin Meyer - NPS retired -
Susan Moerschel - Delaware State Parks -
Steve Neel - Alaska DNR, State Parks -
Maureen Neighbors - AL Dept. Econ. & Comm. Affairs -
Denise Y. O’Meara - Equine Land Conservation Resource -
Eric Oberg - Rails-to-Trails Conservancy -
Ronda Pratt - SC Dept. of Parks, Recr., and Tourism -
Jim Radabaugh - MI Parks & Recr. Dept., MDNR -
Robert “Bob” Richards - TN Greenways and Trails Program -
Mick Rogers - Maine Parks and Lands -
Brenda Rowell - Arkansas State Parks -
Moana Rowland - Hawaii Div. of Forestry -
Jennifer Scanland - Nevada RTP -
Jamie Schwartz - USDA Forest Service -
Helen Scully - National Park Service -
Jaime Schmidt - USDA Forest Service -
Beth R. Shumate - Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks -
Kevin Stankiewicz - North Dakota Parks & Recreation -
Jonathan Stephens - USDA Forest Service -
Jason Stinchfield - US Forest Service, Trails Unlimited -
Drew Stoll - Great Outdoors Consultants -
Karen Umphress - NOHVCC -
Traci Vibo - Minnesota DNR -
Bruce Weidenhamer - VOAZ/ATA -
Gerry Wilbour - Professional Trailbuilders Assoc. -
Elizabeth Williams - West Virginia Dept. of Transportation -
Tracy Williams - Wyoming State Parks -




Introductions and Discussion on Training

Stuart Macdonald welcomed everyone and introduced NTTP, an “amazing cross-section” of trails training. Every two years we have a meeting of NTTP supporters and partners as part of the International Trails Symposium. This meeting is sponsored by American Trails and the Recreational Trails Program of the FHWA. Everyone briefly introduced themselves. Then Stuart showed a short powerpoint about NTTP. It includes a comprehensive library for best practices for trails of all types, the new series of skills webinars, and a business directory. Further details can be found at

Christopher Douwes then gave an update on the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), including discretionary funds for trail-related education (up to 5% can be used for safety and resource impact training). The RTP is not assured forever. The FHWA discretionary programs were eliminated, and other programs were consolidated. The RTP is now a set-aside of the Transportation Alternatives Program, and has a provision for States to opt out of the program. In the next authorization, the RTP may or may not be included as part of a suite of Livability programs; the future is not certain. At the local level, trail needs should be incorporated into community planning projects.


Reports on State Training Funding

Stuart said that this year we invited the State Trails Program Administrators to make the NTTP session part of their annual training meeting, and we want to make this an opportunity for organizations and agencies to hear what kinds of funding for training is available through the States, and what kinds of programs they are sponsoring (or paying for).

Tennessee – The State Trails Council sponsors a series of courses (4 in 2 years funded through RTP).
Wyoming – Avalanche awareness training and several applicant training courses. Also use some of the 7% administrative allowance for the state trails conference.
Wisconsin – Training for law enforcement (and related educational services) for bike-mounted rangers. The benefit has been more public awareness of bike safety issues – especially use of helmets.
West Virginia – RTP funds are used for skills training at state conference. Also hope to use some of these funds for skill building with non-profit partners.
Washington – Through FS and DNR put on courses for volunteer crews, most done by nonprofit partner organizations.
Arizona – They have produced a series of training videos, especially on trail building, trail ambassadors, and managing volunteers – now on-line as 7-minute YouTube clips.
South Carolina – They offer a variety of skill-building conferences, especially the pending 2013 National Equestrian Conference, scheduled for July 18-20 in Rock Hill, SC
Oregon – ATV courses.
Ohio – a variety of courses, especially for school kids.
Pennsylvania – An in-state grant program (not using RTP funds) offers a variety of courses, both statewide and at well-attended regional conferences. Organized by a statewide nonprofit group.
North Dakota – Just beginning to build a training capacity. Soon an annual state trails conference.
Nevada – Use the full 5% for training, distributing $800,000 this year for education projects – especially for ATVers. OHVs are now included in outdoor ethics training (5,000 kids just in 2012).
Minnesota – The Coalition of Recreation Trail Users (CRTU, which does only motorized education courses) and the Minnesota DNR now have a roving education trailer which reaches 300,000 people annually. NOVACC, CRTU, and MDNR also have a popular school poster program.
Pennsylvania – A county OHV park is supported by a local hospital that provides free helmets and training to low injury rates.
New Jersey – They haven’t used the RTP education funds recently. They are working with a local group on training on invasive species affecting trails.
Maine – Chain saw training, “life landings,” waterway safety, and Appalachian Trail Ridgerunners. They are also conducting an assessment inventory to be ready for powered mobility devices as recently allowed by the US Department of Justice.
Iowa – Annual bike and trails summits. Americorps staff provide some of the training.
Indiana – Skills are offered at the 6-state Mid-America Trails and Greenways Conference (“Maytag”) especially on safety and sustainable trail design and construction. Also Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly!
Michigan – Don’t use RTP funds for training— funded elsewhere.
Hawaii – All education focused n safety in the face of natural hazards (11 drownings already this year). Hope to produce videos for use on airlines coming to the islands and at the hotels where people stay. “We suffer from ‘stupid guidebooks’ that understate the hazards.”
Delaware – We offer mountain biking camps for kids. Also trailside interpretive panels in sensitive resource areas (not proving very effective). Also use RTP funds for trail courtesy sign and trailhead maps as educational services.
Connecticut – “We put the ‘no’ in innovation.” They don’t provide training sessions, but have educational content websites, etc.
Arkansas – Three times the applications come in that can be funded. Preference is given to those with educational services embedded in them
Alaska – Skills were offered at the 2012 state trails conference – and will be again in 2014. Emphasis on avalanche and snowmobile safety.
Montana – Lots of safety courses.


Observations and Discussion

Are water trails eligible for RTP funding? – Yes.

Do states give priority to projects with training embedded in them? – Often; varies from state to state.

Can RTP education funds be used for law enforcement training? Not directly, but education patrols are OK. Trail ambassadors have become certified trainers.

What is our strategy to save RTP in the future? – Tell Congress about its successes, work through nonprofits who can lobby effectively. Lean on the states that indicate they may want to opt out of the program.

Are states contracting all education services competitively? – Not necessarily. Some offer training through long-standing non-competitive partners.

Often nonprofit partners can be more effective and efficient in offering training than can agencies with their various restrictions and arbitrary funding deadlines. For example, several states have funded Audubon Society educational projects with RTP funds.

How about funding health benefits of trails with RTP funds? — RTP is limited to safety and environmental protection only. Such subtle decisions are up to the state DOTs to decide. Maybe these projects are better funded by health agencies.

Jamie Schwartz offered to create a linkage between trails folks and shooting sports enthusiasts. [Contact him for details.]


Forest Service’s Standard Trail Plans

Scott Groenier explained the updated and revised “Standard Trail Plans” manual now in production by the Missoula Technology and Development Center. The goal is to promote consistency and comprehensiveness in contracts and trail details. They are adding missing details and linking numbering and inventorying to TRACS. The 10 sections include standard boiler plate language, cross sections, and sheet formats. Trail cross sections and geometries vary by user type of trail. It includes signs and many types of bridges. Scott hopes it will be available by fall on the FS website. He expressed deep appreciation for FHWA’s support and help in distribution.

The T+D Center is also offering two bridge inspection courses this fall.


Kim Frederick and Chinook Associates

Kim endorses these new specs and details. Chinook specializes in training and is active throughout Colorado. He enjoys crafting projects where educational services are embedded in the project, such as a recent 3-day crew leader training he conducted at Red Rocks Park near Denver (curriculum available from him). He is also involved with Colorado Youth Corps (9 to 10 types of training) producing 100-120 leaders each year skilled in both “hard” and “soft” skills.

At the University of Southern Utah in Cedar City, he participates in the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative where shared funding produces trail crew leaders. It is a flexible program responding to specific skill needs and taps various re-training and labor agency funding sources under the Workforce Investment Act. These funds are also used for the Colorado State Parks job skills training program. This would be a good model for many states.

Kim envisions training “program development” to grow volunteers and leaders, friends and funds. He would like to see the national scenic trails (like the Continental Divide NST) become “poster children” for regional, multi-state training programs, involving many partners and communities.


Tread Lightly!

TL! offers a suite of trainings. Since time is short, ask Jason for details.


Great Outdoors Consulting

Creating for NOHVCC an online book to be called something like “Creating Great OHV Trails.” It was inspired by IMBA’s recent books on sustainable trail design and is due out in 2014.


Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

RTC offers a good library online. They are updating the “Rails With Trails” booklet. See their website for materials on urban pathways and the new booklet, “Beyond Urban Centers.”


About 5:20 pm the group adjourned for supper.

Notes by Stuart Macdonald, American Trails and Steve Elkinton, National Park Service


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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