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NTTP meeting notes: June 7, 2010

Minutes of National Trails Training Partnership meeting:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arlington, VA


June 7, 2010 - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Introductions and NTTP History

Memorandum of Understanding for NTTP

Jamie Schwartz has been the lead on getting an updated MOU written and signed by agencies and organizations. "Its the little things: corrections and federal concerns," he said. Christopher noted as one example that the original version seemed to give authority to nonprofits over agencies. But have moved forward with discussions on how to accomplish goals for training. Thanss to Christopher and Steve Elkinton for reviewing the drafts, and to Pam and Stuart for getting the organizations up to speed and providing neccessary information to be included. All the groups that were included in the past are in the new version, but now there is just one MOU for all instead of separate MOUs for nonprofits and agencies. American Trails is listed a s the liason or point of contact. All "in agreement to agree," Jamie concluded. Discussion about all the good things we can accomplish by working together.

Training Opportunities, Concerns, and Ideas

Interagency Trails 101 Course

Deb Salt recounted history of the course. Trail Needs Assessment brought to Federal Interagency Council on Trails, with the suggestion of "lets do it across all the agencies with our variety of needs. Developed the course around 2000 with BLM out of National Training Center in Phoenix taking the lead in coordinating the course for several years. Recently the lead came over to US Fish and Wildlife Service. Nathan said that FWS took on the course as part of their training division. Has been able to schedule a fall course in 2010, and is looking for agency to host the spring 2011 course. Rob Perrin of BLM is interested in working with FWS and Mike Brown, BLM training staff. Lot of agency people have expressed interest in the course. Jamie says the course fills up each time. The challenge is getting staff help in coordinating and hosting each session of the course. Have also approached Carhart Center, but they say they can't host it. Second best choice is BLM training facility in Phoenix. Nathan says the course is so popular, but it's "homeless."

John Favor, retired USFS and on American Trails board, has expressed hopes to take on one of the courses a year. Would be nice if other agencies could help more, or even set up a position to make more transportation funding available for training. This course would be part of their responsibility, as well as developing other land management, conservation, and transportation related training. Would need $120 to 150,000 for a position in West Virginia (including travel and benefits) at NCTC. Possibly some funding could be available from Dept of Interior, as well as Park Roads, Refuge Roads, and Recreational Trails funding. AHS wants to support this idea. Gary Werner notes that management of the setting of the trail, the corridor, resource management, are the issues that National Scenic and Historic trail managers are most interested in.

Every federal agenciy gets six slots, 24 total, and six more for nonprofits or states. Ends up being 2/3 feds and 1/3 nonprofits and states. The MOU enables different agencies to fund atendance by their staff. The training instructors are in place. Issues are coordination, handling the money, and doing the outreach. Need both classroom and field training space. FHWA interest is to support the states, so has made slots available for state program people. Out of state travel has, however, been a problem for some states. Rob will coordinate to see about putting on a session at Shepardstown, WV. American Trails Board is discussing doing the coordination as long as the agencies continue their financial support.

Training initiatives by agencies and organizations

Training delivery: Webinars

Discussion on how well online "webinars" are working. The work well with three people hosting: one is presenting while two people are watching the comments and questions. Challenge is keeping people's attention. The technology is changing constantly. Different age groups have diffetrent expectations, and the speed of communication is faster. People's expectations are so different, delivering electornically and instantly. Instead of doing a four-day class, you focus on a narrow area and doing a much shorter presentation.

Instead of costing hundreds of dollars, you can present a webinar for very little cost. No geographic boundaries. Point of webinar, like face to face training, is to interact, to ask questions ane share ideas. It's a way to get people involved. Training in general is hard for people so you have to make it easy, and to engage them. You can pre-load questions to ask the participants at various time during the presentation.

Christopher asked if you have this kind of meeting (NTTP or state trail administrators) as a webinar? It's certainly possible but you would have to prepare materials to show participants, rather than a blank computer screen.

Presentations can be recorded and made available online for anyone to access at a later date.

NCA is using Adobe Connect for webinars. Ability to do real-time captioning to improve accessibility is an issue.


NTTP Partnership and Promotion

Stuart discussed aspects of the online clearinghouse for training, the website. Cool Trail Solutions and many other resources.

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


Next meeting: November 17-18, 2010 in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the American Trails National Symposium.

Meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.

Notes submitted by Stuart Macdonald

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

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