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American Trails presented "Building Urban Trails in Difficult Places" on July 17, 2014 as a part of the American Trails "Advancing Trails Webinar Series"

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"Building Urban Trails in Difficult Places"


American Trails presented this webinar July 17, 2014 to help trail planners address the challenges and complexities of building trails in difficult situations. The presenters will review alignment strategies, structural systems, and techniques for solving these problems and building quality trails . Read more and learn about the presenters...


PURCHASE recorded presentation: Purchase this recorded webinar in the American Trails Online Store. Payments accepted are credit cards (Visa and MasterCard), checks, and purchase orders. If paying via purchase order, please select check as your payment method in the online store and in the notes section write in your purchase order number.


OUR WEBINAR PRICES HAVE CHANGED! American Trails Members only pay $35 and Nonmembers pay $55. These prices are the same for our future webinars as well as our past webinars in which you can access recordings to. To receive the member discount, be sure and select “YES” for this question and the $20 will automatically be deducted from your total. If you are a new or renewing member, you can add a membership to your order at the same time. View our membership levels and benefits.



Webinar Sponsors



Zeager produces engineered wood materials for playground & trail surfaces.


Composite Advantage provides Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer (FRP) trail bridges and bridge decks.

Envirosigns provides durable, vibrant, high quality Interpretive Signs and Frames, Recycled Plastic Sign Systems.  





photo of trail under bridges with big retaining walls

Cherry Creek Trail through downtown Denver near
the confluence with the Platte River Greenway

The Webinar will be led by three seasoned greenway experts with a long history of successful urban trail building:

Presenter— Chuck Flink, FASLA, Greenways Incorporated, greenway planner/designer/landscape architect/developer and urban trail specialist, Durham, NC.

Presenter— Bill Neumann, ASLA, DHM Design, greenway planner/designer/landscape architect/developer and urban trail specialist, Denver, CO.

Moderator and Presenter— Bob Searns, greenway planner/designer/developer, Denver, CO



All the easy trails have been built! While this remark is partly in jest, it is evident, as the trail and greenway movement has exploded across North America and worldwide, building multi-use urban greenways and trails has become more challenging. Projects require much more than simply building a path on grade.

Planners, designers and advocates must increasingly address more complex infrastructure challenges in order to find routes and passageways, fit into tight spots and traverse barriers including roads, rivers and streams, restricted floodplains, railroad tracks, swales and other impediments. In addition, tight budgets require innovative solutions.

This session will review alignment strategies, structural systems and techniques for solving these problems and building quality trails case study examples ranging from pre-fabricated products to custom designs. The presentation will benefit all levels of expertise from novice to experts as well providing tools to lay trail advocates in making the case to build a project in their community.





PRESENTERS FOR THE WEBINAR: “Building Urban Trails in Difficult Places”


Chuck Flink is Senior Adviser for Greenways Incorporated, Durham, North Carolina -


Chuck Flink

Charles A. "Chuck" Flink is widely regarded as one of America's leading greenway planners, having completed comprehensive greenway, trail, and open space plans for more than 235 communities within 36 States. He has also been a consultant to clients in Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, and St. Croix, USVI.

Chuck is a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects Council of Fellows, and is the 2006 Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Design at North Carolina State University. Chuck coauthored Greenways. A Guide to Planning, Design and Development, in partnership with Bob Searns. This book received a 1994 Merit Award in Communications from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), and is cited by the American Planning Association as “the best single reference” on greenway development. Chuck also coauthored Trails for the Twenty First Century, also with Bob Searns. Both books have been translated into Chinese and are used as textbooks at Peking University in Beijing and Shenzhen.

He graduated Cum Laude in 1982 from North Carolina State University's College of Design. He served three terms as Chair of the Board of American Trails, and five terms as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the East Coast Greenway Alliance. Some of Chuck's notable projects include: Grand Canyon Greenway, Susquehanna River Greenway, Miami River (FL) Greenway, Charleston County (SC) Greenbelt Plan, American Tobacco Trail, Grand Forks Greenway, North Delaware River Greenway (PA), Raleigh Greenprint, MetroGeen Action Plan, KS/MO, NW Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway, River of Grass Greenway, FL, Las Vegas Open Space and Trails Plan, and North Carolina Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan.


Bill Neumann is the Vice President of DHM Design of Denver, Colorado -

man on camel

Bill Neumann


Bill has a degree in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University. Bill has been with DHM for over 28 years, specializing in the planning and design of parks, trails, and greenways. Bill has worked on dozens of award winning greenway projects across the country including the recently completed Witherspoon Greenway in Anchorage, Kentucky; Sand Creek Regional Greenway in Commerce City, Colorado; and the Blue River Greenway in Silverthorne, Colorado.

He understands the importance of creating spaces that benefit communities, while respecting natural systems, sensitive landscapes, habitats and cultural/historical sites. On every project, Bill considers the construction phase of a project equal in importance to the design process.

Bill has managed and been part of large multi-disciplinary teams, including planners, engineers, surveyors and ecologists. Bill believes in producing high quality designs and illustrative graphics to help clients visualize the design intent.



Bob Searns is owner of The Greenway Team and Chair Emeritus of American Trails Board

photo of smiling woman

Bob Searns

Bob is the founding owner of The Greenway Team, a planning and development firm based in Denver, CO that has specialized for three decades in greenways, trails, and conservation. He was Project Director of Denver's Platte River Greenway, one of the nation's benchmark urban trail projects, and produced 10,000 Trees, an eight-mile river corridor restoration project involving 3,000 volunteers. He has authored a greenways and trails plan for the 43-square-mile area west of Denver International Airport, as well as trail and greenway projects across the nation including Chicago, Dallas, Memphis, Louisville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Portland.

Bob was a development consultant for the Grand Canyon Greenway, a precedent-setting 72-mile system of multi-use trails along the canyon rim. Bob has conducted workshops throughout North America, China and Europe. He co-authored Greenways: A Guide to Planning, Design, and Development (published in the U.S. and. China), Trails for the 21st Century, and contributed to Greenways, The Beginning of an International Movement. He has served as Chair of the American Trails Board of Directors and written numerous articles and editorials for the American Trails Magazine.




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