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On Nature's Trail: A Statewide Strategic Plan for Colorado Trails

Colorado developed a new Strategic Plan to more effectively operate its State Trails Program in January 2000

From Colorado State Parks

Map of Colorado

Executive summary

Coloradans love the outdoors and recreation trails are very important to them because trails let people experience nature firsthand.

This plan paints a picture of a future statewide trail system that provides a wide range of recreational opportunities for experiencing the diverse landscapes of our state. The plan, which has had extensive stakeholder and public input, builds on the partnerships and accomplishments of the past years in presenting strategies for:

Providing leadership in developing an integrated statewide trail system to meet the growing needs of our residents and visitors.
  • Encouraging community, county, state, and federal trail planning of an integrated statewide trail system that preserves critical trail access points, corridors, and links.
  • Promoting environmentally appropriate trail planning, design, construction, and management.
  • Increasing and improving the availability of trails information, education, and technical assistance.
  • Encouraging trail stewardship in the state of Colorado through education, partnerships, volunteerism, and youth programs.
  • Promoting trail ethics and encouraging the proper management of trail activity conflicts by facilitating cooperation among user groups, trail planners, and land management agencies.
  • Providing stable, long-term funding sources for trail planning, design, construction, and maintenance.

As an agency with a major role in implementing the strategic plan, the Colorado State Trails Program is committed to seeing that this plan become a reality. At the same time, the Trails Program invites past and potential partners to join it in accomplishing this ambitious vision, a vision that can only be implemented collaboratively.

Specifically, the State Trails Program has outlined five programmatic and four new trail grant initiatives to help target resources and achieve the goals of this strategic plan. These initiatives are:

Programmatic Initiatives

1 Promote environmentally responsible use of trails.
2 Refine the roles and responsibilities of the State Trails Committee.
3 Establish youth trail crews to maintain and build trails.
4 Administer a more efficient trail grants system.
5 Establish regional trail coordinators to better serve Program constituents.

New Trail Grant Initiatives

1 Reinvestment Initiative-- Major trail improvements and repairs.
2 Future Pathways Initiative-- Preserving trail opportunities in a rapidly growing state.
3 Trail Planning and Capacity Building Grants-- Planning and building partnerships for the future.
4 Small Grants-- Sometimes a little funding can make a big difference.

A. Coloradans have a profound love of the outdoors

Coloradans love spending time in the outdoors. A public survey conducted to guide this plan found that a vast majority (75 percent) of those surveyed said that outdoor activities are important to the quality of life in Colorado.

Trails are the principal means used by people to get into nature and, at the same time, they are an important means for managing people's impacts on the landscapes they visit.

Colorado's diverse trails are used for many types of recreation, from backcountry hiking to strolling an urban greenway, from mountain biking to horseback riding, from snowmobiling to cross-country skiing, and from bird watching to using off-highway vehicles, such as all-terrain vehicles. With all of these forms of recreation Coloradans typically are seeking ways of enjoying nature or spending time outdoors with family and friends.

Colorado trails system is diverse

Colorado has one of the most diverse trail systems in the nation. In large part this is made possible by our state's wide ranging landscapes, from vast, open plains with contrasting wooded river corridors to majestic fourteen-thousand foot peaks with skirts of dense forest.

The richness of trails is also due to the diverse kinds of people who have chosen to make Colorado their home (or vacation destination) and the varied ways they choose to enjoy the outdoors.

Land ownership is another major factor contributing to the diversity of trails. The federal government owns nearly thirty-seven percent of our state. Although there is no comprehensive tally of the number of trails managed by agencies such as the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service, these agencies are very important providers of trails and other recreation facilities.

The State of Colorado is another important trail provider through systems developed in state parks and in conjunction with major highway projects.

In addition to these federal and state agencies, many towns, cities, and counties have developed-- sometimes collaboratively-- lengthy trail systems. Since 1971, Colorado State Parks has had an active state trails program that has helped fund such trails around the state and aided trail providers in other ways.

Increasingly, nonprofit organizations or clubs, including those made up of off-highway vehicle and snowmobile users, are taking active roles in developing and maintaining trails on their own lands or on lands owned by others.

Private landowners are also an important contributor to the statewide trail system. Some, such as downhill ski area operators, actively promote the use of their areas as summer trail systems, offering ski lift access for hikers and bikers. Others contribute by allowing trail users to cross their land.

The broader network of trails that criss-cross our state includes:

  • Neighborhood and community trails that are close to where many people live and typically receive heavy use. (Examples include Denver's Platte River and Cherry Creek trails, Fort Collins' Poudre River Trail, and El Paso County's Fountain Creek Regional Trail.)
  • "Star attraction" trails, known and sought out by residents and visitors alike. (Example: Glenwood Canyon's Hanging Lake Trail.)
  • Historic trails that were used by early explorers and pioneers and that today typically are either adjacent to or under highways. (Examples: Santa Fe, Old Spanish, Overland, and Smoky Hill Trails.)
  • Continental Divide Trail, a lengthy National Scenic Trail that is commonly used by weekend or short-term hikers, but also by some "through-hikers."
  • Greenways trails that are planned together with the broader conservation corridors they sit within. (Examples: South Platte River and St. Vrain Greenways, and Colorado River State Park.)
  • Wilderness trails within national wilderness areas where mechanized travel is not allowed. (Example: Indian Peaks.)
  • Cross-country ski trails. including public and private groomed trails that sometimes also have ski schools associated with them. (Examples: Frisco, Carbondale, and Chicken Creek.)
  • Snowmobile trails that get re-created after major snowfalls or heavy use. (Examples: Sunlight to Powderhorn Trail.)
  • Mountain bike trails, including extensive systems, some accommodating overnight trips. (Examples: the systems at Crested Butte and Winter Park, and the Kokopelli Trail.)
  • Trails for motorized use, such as motorcycles, snowmobiles, and all-terrain and four-wheel drive vehicles. (Examples: Grand Lake area and the Rampart Range Trail.)
  • "Fourteeners" trails that lead to the tops of most of Colorado's mountains over 14,000 feet and that are increasingly being sought out as "trophy" climbs.
  • Highway Right-of-Way trails that are built adjacent to highways such as I-70 over Vail Pass and through Glenwood Canyon and C-470 in the Metro Denver area.
  • Summer trails that in winter are parts of ski areas and in summer have extensive trail systems, some of which make use of ski lifts to transport hikers and mountain bikers up mountains. (Examples: Winter Park, Aspen, and Snowmass.)
  • Hut-to-hut trails that allow skiers to traverse dramatic winter landscapes and at night stay in huts, lodges, or yurts. (Examples: Tenth Mountain Division and San Juan Hut systems.)
  • Backcountry trails in national parks and forests, or lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, most often used as summer hiking trails and shared by hikers, horses, and mountain bikers (except in designated wilderness areas), but also used by cross-country skiers and snowmobilers when there is enough snow. Some are also open to motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. (Examples: Rainbow Trail in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.)
How trails are funded and built

Creating trails, as with other public facilities, has depended on an erratic supply of funding from a variety of programs and agencies. Cities, towns, counties, and recreation districts have built most trails in populated areas of the state. Increasingly, trails activists are turning to volunteers and businesses for important contributions in getting trails built.

Since the 1980s, revenue from the Colorado Lottery has been the largest single source of funds for trails, both directly to local governments and through state grants administered by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Colorado State Parks. Additional funds come from the snowmobile and off-highway vehicle registration programs.

GOCO provides important funding for trails projects. In 1999 GOCO contributed $1,000,000 to the State Trails program for recreational trails grants. GOCO also makes funding available for trails planning through their "Planning and Capacity Building" grants program.

This program currently funds trail planning as part of larger open space planning efforts. GOCO also funds large trail projects through their "Legacy" grants program. These multi-year, multi-jurisdictional open space projects often contain a trails element.

The U.S Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are two federal agencies with lands in Colorado that have shared trail construction costs with local communities. These and other agencies also provide technical assistance related to trail building.

Each year the State Recreational Trails Committee, assisted by State Parks and GOCO staff, award grants for building trails around the state. (The use of snowmobile and Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) funds is restricted to projects that benefit those uses.) The state also administers funds from the Federal Recreational Trail Program (RTP, formerly known as "Symms Money").

As indicated in the table below, the resources for funding all types of Colorado trails have increased dramatically during the past 10 years. In 1999, the State Trails Program awarded nearly $2.4 million from this range of funding sources to trail projects around the state, as compared with just $171,000 in FY 1990-91. With this increase comes the responsibility for the State Trails Program to make the wisest and most efficient uses of these moneys available to Colorado's trail managers and recreationists.

>
Table 1: Levels of funding for trails have increased 14-fold over the last ten years.
Fiscal YearState Parks Lottery State Parks GOCO* ShareGOCO Local Govts.RTP**OHV*** RegistrationSnowmobileAnnual total

99-00

100,000

500,000

500,000

363,689

700,000

342,000

2,395,689

98-99

100,000

468,000

513,400

327,294

350,000

312,063

1,988,597

97-98

100,000

355,000

402,100

234,000

195,250

312,063

1,598,413

96-97

100,000

360,000

400,000

233,942

300,000

196,000

1,589,942

95-96

100,000

350,000

750,000

-

218,660

196,000

1,614,660

94-95

150,000

-

1,000,000

-

216,780

183,000

1,549,780

93-94

175,000

-

-

113,480

158,392

96,300

527,872

92-93

100,000

-

-

-

135,475

81,000

316,475

91-92

100,000

-

-

-

49,744

81,000

230,744

90-91

100,000

-

-

-

-

71,000

171,000

* GOCO: Great Outdoors Colorado
** RTP: Recreational Trails Program (federal funds)
*** OHV: Off-highway vehicles

B. How this strategic plan was developed

Late in 1998, the State Trails Program initiated a planning process to develop a strategic framework for making decisions about what trail priorities to pursue and how best to fund them. That process resulted in the plan you are now reading.

A citizen Steering Committee was appointed and experts in strategic planning and public input from the University of Colorado's Center for Public-Private Sector Cooperation were asked to assist State Trails Program staff in crafting the plan.

Broad input was sought in developing the plan. To understand public views, two surveys were completed. First, a statewide scientific telephone survey was conducted with a representative sample of 602 registered voters to determine patterns of trail use, values regarding trails, and priorities for allocating resources.

A separate mail survey was sent to a sample of registered off-highway vehicle owners; 787 surveys were completed and returned. The mail survey examined use patterns, attributes of preferred riding areas, and priorities for allocating resources from the perspective of off-highway vehicle users.

In addition, other surveys recently conducted by Colorado State Parks, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and Great Outdoors Colorado were also reviewed for content relevant to trails.

Stakeholder, land managers, trail developers, and organized trail user groups, as well as members of environmental groups, contributed to the process in several ways. First, a special session was held at the biennial Colorado State Trails Symposium to invite comment.

Second, 160 stakeholders responded to a comprehensive questionnaire addressing trends in trail management and use, trail needs, State Trail Program role and management, as well as priorities for resource allocation.

Third, 72 stakeholders attended focus group meetings held in Pueblo, Glenwood Springs, Thornton, and Durango, to discuss at length a number of trail-related issues and strategic options.

Key points of public input are summarized in the next section.

C. What the public thinks about trails

The issues and concerns that the strategic plan responds to were identified through a broad range of public input. The broader, recurring themes were:

  • People value and use trails. The vast majority of Coloradans use the state's trail system. Only 4 percent of the public says they don't use the trail system at all. Trails within towns or cities close to people's homes receive the most use, with over half the households in the state reporting use of these trails at least 20 times in a typical year. About one third report using backcountry trails with similar frequency. From the survey data, it is estimated that the typical Colorado household uses trails of all types about 78 times a year. Favorite trail activities are walking and hiking, camping, and biking.
  • Use of trails is purposeful. The most common reasons people (75 percent or more) give for valuing trails are to see or enjoy nature and to have fun with family and friends. Sixty percent or more also say they value trails for getting exercise and maintaining health or seeing wildlife.
  • Trail user conflicts are growing. While most members of the public may not personally see many conflicts in their use of trails, trail managers say such conflicts are increasing with higher levels and more diverse uses of trails.
  • Trails can accommodate diverse uses. Colorado's trails system is diverse and, with coordination and education, it can accommodate diverse uses.
  • There is some concern over how specific funds are directed. Motorized trail users pay a registration fee that goes to help create and maintain trails for their use, but some believe (incorrectly) that their funds go to support trails for non-motorized use.
  • The State Trails Program has important roles to play. The State Trails Program can play important roles in providing leadership, funding, and technical assistance to the trails community.
  • The current trail system needs care. The current trail system is aging and needs better maintenance. Maintaining or rebuilding existing trails is a high priority for over 70 percent of the public.
  • People want to be better stewards of nature. Over three-quarters of the public believes "better protection of natural features and wildlife habitat" should be a high priority in allocating resources. They want to protect open space and build trails in places where nature won't be harmed.
  • Trails opportunities may be disappearing. Rapid rates of development in Colorado mean that some potential trail corridors and access points may be lost if steps are not taken now to preserve these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
  • Youth, volunteers, and those with disabilities deserve greater opportunities. The public wants better access for people with disabilities and greater opportunities for youth and other volunteers.
  • People want to be educated about the places they experience through trails. They want more information about nature and history.

Other issues identified through the various means of involving the public are listed in documents described at the end of this plan.

D. Other current trends and observations

Additional insights needed in planning strategies for a statewide trail system were obtained from discussions with state agency personnel. These insights included:

  • The state's population is growing rapidly and there is increasing demand for trails.
  • Trails are an important management tool. When carefully planned, managed, and used, trails help reduce the impact of people on nature.
  • Even trails have impacts. There is an increasing awareness that trails themselves have environmental impacts and that not all areas are appropriate for trails.
  • Declining federal resources for managing trails has ramifications throughout the state trails system. Increasing numbers of people are using trails on federal lands, but federal resources for managing these trails have not kept pace. To fill the gap, Colorado's resources (both public and private) have had to be devoted to some of these projects. Clearly, members of the trails community need to work with federal trail planners on travel management plans on federal lands because these plans affect the whole trail system.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may have a great impact on Colorado trails. ADA standards and guidelines for trail accessibility are only now being developed and they may have great financial ramifications for Colorado trails, if sweeping changes are required for greater accessibility of new and rebuilt trails.
  • The current State Trails grants program could be tailored to the wider range of situations encountered by trail builders. Making small, large, and multi-year grants available for trail projects might better reflect the needs and challenges of those seeking funding.
  • E. Vision Statement for State Trails and Mission Statement for State Trails Program

Based on the public and stakeholder input described above, the planning team developed a vision for Colorado trails and a new mission statement for the State Trails Program.

Key elements of the vision for a statewide trail system for Colorado include:

  • Colorado's trail system will allow Coloradans to experience the state's diverse landscapes in a range of ways.
  • Trails are developed with sensitivity to the environment and in ways that complement other land uses (e.g., people can use trails to commute to work or school or get other places they want to go.)
  • Trails are well maintained.
  • Conflict among users and impacts to trails settings are minimized through design, management, and education.
  • The public has access to maps and other information they need to find the trail experiences they seek.
  • The system is a collaborative effort among public and private entities, with the State Trails Program providing leadership in accomplishing this vision.
Mission for the State Trails Program

The new mission of the State Trails Program is to be the major facilitator in accomplishing this vision through promoting understanding and stewardship of Colorado's outdoors by providing opportunities for the public to use and support Colorado's diverse system of trails.

F. Strategies for implementing the vision

Public comment to date has revealed strong support for the elements of the vision described above. The vision, however, is very ambitious and will require strategic actions and considerable cooperation.

To focus efforts, the vision has been translated into seven strategic goals (not in any priority order):

  • LEADERSHIP: Provide leadership in developing an integrated statewide trail system to meet the growing needs of our residents and visitors.
  • PLANNING: Encourage community, county, state, and federal trail planning of an integrated statewide trail system that preserves critical trail access points, corridors, and system links.
  • ENVIRONMENT: Promote environmentally appropriate trail planning, design, construction, and management.
  • COMMUNICATIONS: Increase and improve the availability of trail information, education, and technical assistance.
  • STEWARDSHIP: Encourage trail stewardship in the state of Colorado through education, partnerships, volunteerism, and youth programs.
  • ETHICS AND COOPERATION: Promote trail ethics and encourage the proper management of trail activity conflicts by facilitating communication among user groups, trail planners, and land management agencies.
  • FUNDING: Provide stable, long-term funding sources for trail planning, design, construction, and maintenance.

The role of the State Trails Program

The Colorado State Trails Program is committed to playing a major role in achieving the vision and implementing these strategic goals. They invite collaborators. Program staff members have identified the steps that are best taken by the Trails Program. These are outlined in the following tables. Other agencies and organizations are invited to help implement these steps, as well as develop their own strategies.

LEADERSHIP GOALs and possible actions.
ObjectivePossible Action Strategies

1. Provide leadership in the trails community and advise the State Parks Board on trail related issues to support implementation of the strategic plan.

  • Develop a Parks Board policy on Trails Committee responsibilities.
  • Implement the Statewide Strategic Trails Plan.
  • Report annually on progress to Parks Board.
  • Develop a subcommittee structure for grants selection to reflect new grants programs.

2. Balance trail development priorities among urban, rural, and backcountry areas while taking into account user preferences for a variety of trail activities and trail types so a diverse, integrated trail system develops.

  • Review grants application criteria and adopt new criteria as needed.
  • Develop a small grants program that meets the needs of small communities and organizations.
  • Develop a Future Pathways Initiative grants program to assist in funding larger trail projects that may disappear if not funded in a timely fashion.
  • Identify gaps in trails systems and grant applications for trail projects in counties with few or no trails.
  • Encourage trails that meet the needs of a diverse population, including those who are physically challenged.
  • See Objective 1 under the Planning goal.

3. Provide local, regional, and statewide leadership to help coordinate and enhance diverse trails efforts.

  • Establish Regional Trail Coordinator positions in each of the four State Park Regions.
  • Adopt an annual work program for the Trail Committee that highlights leadership activities for each year.
  • Support the dedication of trail easements on appropriate open space projects, including those funded by GOCO.

4. Encourage public input on trail plans and projects in response to the desires of the broader citizenry.

  • Ensure grant selection process is a fair, public process.
  • Have the trails committee review and approve the grant process and schedule each year.
  • Ensure public input in grant selection process and standardize application packets.
  • The Trails Committee will recommend grants for approval to the Parks Board. Input from the general public also will be solicited at this public Board meeting.
  • Continue surveys and other public preference investigations.
  • Encourage participation in local, county, state, and federal trail planning.

PLANNING GOAL. Encourage community, county, state, and federal trail planning of an integrated statewide trail system that preserves critical trail access points, corridors, and system links.
ObjectivePossible Action Strategies

1. Create a trail planning and capacity building grants program to foster sound trail planning.

  • Create a Planning and Capacity Grants Subcommittee.
  • Determine the application criteria for the grants program.
  • Support local and community planning as part of an integrated statewide trail system.
  • Work with GOCO staff to ensure integration with GOCO-funded trail planning projects.

2. Encourage local communities, counties, and federal agencies to complete trail plans, especially in cooperation with conservation or general land-use planning, so trails are built within a broader planning framework and options are preserved as development occurs.

  • Identify and adopt criteria in the trail planning grants program that supports the completion of trail plans developed in conjunction with conservation or general land-use planning.
  • Complete a federal lands trail needs assessment.
  • Adopt criteria in all trail grant applications giving credit for good trail planning.
  • Work with transportation planners.
  • Encourage trail connectivity and linkages.

3. Integrate the needs of all trail users in recognition of a "family of uses," each of which deserves appropriate places to enjoy our state's trails.

  • Integrate the needs of non-motorized, OHV, snowmobile, and other trail users into overall program goals.
  • Be general trails advocates, not spokepersons for specific trail uses.
  • Use subcommittee structure to encourage user group input.
  • Inventory and map trails statewide.
  • Develop a long-range Snowmobile Program plan.
  • Develop a long-range OHV plan.

4. Plan and design trails to be sustainable.

  • Fund sustainable trail projects.
  • Encourage the use of up-to-date trail design standards.
  • Encourage the use of sustainable construction materials.
  • Identify which factors improve and promote trail sustainability.
  • Monitor and evaluate trail projects to determine level of sustainability.
  • Fund major improvements and repairs in an effort to bring aging trails up to standard.
  • Fund research on trail sustainability.

5. Address user-conflicts through appropriate trail planning, design, and management.

  • Encourage trail planning and design which takes into account the specific needs of each mode of travel.
  • Encourage trail monitoring to determine potential user conflicts before incidents occur.
  • Encourage the use of consistent trail signing.
  • Help provide adequate trail opportunities for all enthusiasts.

6. Evaluate the usability of the 1992 State Recreational Trails Master Plan and determine if the trail master plan concept is still valid.

  • Evaluate Master Plan concept.
  • Review Trail Corridor Maps.
  • Bring recommendations to Trails Committee.
  • Determine format for new Master Plan if applicable.
  • Appoint subcommittee to oversee Master Plan process if applicable.
  • Encourage federal/state trail planning.

ENVIRONMENT GOAL. Promote environmentally appropriate trail planning, design, construction, and management.
ObjectivePossible Action Strategies

1. Fund only environmentally appropriate trail projects to ensure trails do not degrade our public lands.

  • Review the trail grant selection criteria each year.
  • Have all grants reviewed by an environmental review panel.
  • Verify NEPA compliance on all trail grants where it is legally required.
  • Provide information and case studies on environmentally sensitive trail development.

2. Support trail planning and management activities that view trails in a broader landscape perspective, and thereby help ensure trail alignments that are well suited to their natural settings.

  • Work with land managers to encourage trail planning that is sensitive to broader ecological concerns.
  • Seek input from scientists and environmental professionals.
  • Regional Trail Coordinators will take a lead in this area.
  • Monitor and evaluate completed trail projects.
  • See objective 2 under the Leadership goal.

3. Support research efforts that lead to broader understanding of how trails impact our environment.

  • Fund research projects through the planning grant process.
  • Compile information on trail related impacts.
  • Work with the Division of Wildlife in an effort to understand better how trails impact wildlife.
  • Encourage the identification of sensitive habitat areas that may not be suitable for future trails.

COMMUNICATIONS GOAL. Increase the availability of and improve trails information, education, and technical assistance.
ObjectivePossible Action Strategies

1. Create and maintain a statewide trails information clearinghouse.

  • Determine what trails information and maps are most useful to the public.
  • Maintain and update a "Trails Resource List" of helpful publications and information.
  • Provide trail information and maps over the Internet as a convenient and cost-effective means of reaching a large audience.

2. Provide technical assistance concerning trail planning, design, construction, maintenance and management to enhance the quality of such efforts.

 
  • Produce a guide on "How to Develop Trails" for local governments, land trusts, and other organizations.
  • Provide specialized training for program staff.
  • Provide expertise concerning ADA trail issues.
  • Continue to sponsor the biennial trails symposium.

3. Use the Internet and computer technology to provide up-to-date information relating to the State Trails Program.

  • Publish important on-going Trail Program documents over the Internet.
  • Experiment with Internet survey tools to provide up-to-date information.
  • Populate the Trails Program web site with useful tips and information.
  • Develop a marketing plan.
  • Develop a process for Internet site administration including updates.
  • Investigate public-private partnership to compile a statewide trail database.

STEWARDSHIP GOAL. Encourage trail stewardship in the state of Colorado through education, partnerships, volunteerism, and youth programs.
ObjectivePossible Action Strategies

1. Promote trail volunteerism, youth programming, and educational programming which fosters stewardship of our trails and public lands.

  • Use capacity building grants to support volunteer trail organizations and projects.
  • Encourage and support volunteer organizations that promote trail stewardship.
  • Provide funding support for youth corps and youth crews.

2. Help coordinate and promote volunteer trail activities, youth programming and trail education.

  • Promote volunteerism on the State Trails Web Site.
  • Network with volunteers organizations and coordinate trail activities.
  • Regional Trail Coordinators will coordinate youth trail crews.
  • Support efforts that help educate the public concerning appropriate trail use .

3. Use volunteers and youth crews to provide much needed maintenance on our state's trails.

  • Use capacity building grants to support youth crews and volunteer maintenance projects.
  • Encourage and support volunteer organizations that provide maintenance services through capacity building grants.

ETHICS AND COOPERATION GOAL. Promote trail ethics and encourage the proper management of trail activity conflicts by facilitating communication among user groups, trail planners, and land management agencies.
ObjectivePossible Action Strategies

1. Work with clubs and trail related organizations of all kinds to better understand the needs of the public at large and those of specific user groups.

  • Attend club and trail organization meetings.
  • Continue survey activities.
  • Subscribe to user publications.
  • Monitor future trends and changes in activity preferences.
  • Monitor demographic changes.

2. Promote inclusion and respect of all trail users as part of the State Trails Program.

  • Respect the needs and differences of different trail enthusiasts.
  • Work with enthusiasts and organizations to promote trail ethics.
  • Create opportunities for diverse trails groups to work together on trail projects to help resolve conflicts by increasing awareness of other users' needs.
  • Design the State Trails newsletter for and distribute it to a wider audience.

3. Develop a State Trail Ambassador or other user support programs.

  • Develop contacts in each county of the state who are familiar with the purpose and the goals of the State Trail Program.
  • Develop a constituency of support for the Trails Program.
  • Sponsor outreach efforts.
  • Implement Trail Ambassador Program at high-use trailheads.

FUNDING GOAL. Provide stable, long-term funding sources for trail planning, design, construction, and maintenance.
ObjectivePossible Action Strategies

1. Administer a customer friendly Grants Program to ensure the fair, efficient, and timely distribution of trail program funds.

  • Hire a grants administrator.
  • Develop a grant tracking system and work for more timely distribution of funds.
  • Develop a yearly work schedule and work program for grants approval and administration
  • Work to eliminate all customer complaints.
  • Standardize grants application packet.
  • Review application criteria to ensure equitable fund distributions.
  • Develop a policy for dealing with unspent (over-due) grants.

2. Examine and pursue additional funding sources so that more, worthy projects can be supported in a timely manner.

  • Create targeted funding initiatives for the purpose of implementing the strategic plan.
  • Pursue additional GOCO funding for the State Trails Program.
  • Pursue innovative funding sources such as private funding and industry sponsorships
  • Investigate a "Friends of State Trails" program.
  • Investigate a "State Trails Foundation" concept.
  • Pursue additional Federal matching funds for projects on Federal lands.

3. Develop partnerships with trail supporters, wildlife groups, open space advocates, land trusts, local governments, and private industry to pursue mutually beneficial projects.

  • Work cooperatively with Federal land management agencies.
  • Encourage the integration of trails and trail planning in open space and land-use planning projects.
  • Attend organizational meetings of potential partners and solicit cooperation.
  • Secure long-range funding for Snowmobile capital program.

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