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The American Trails Magazine continues to meet your needs for timely, state-of-the-art information on all aspects of trails and greenways. We cover news, legislation, action items, trainings, success stories, events, people making a difference, creative funding ideas, the latest resources, information on products and services you need, and much more!
Please join American Trails to help us continue to provide our informative magazine as a service at no charge to the trails community and to continue to be an extensive resource for you.
American Trails Trail Tracks eNewsletter
The electronic newsletter from American Trails provides updates on legislation, funding, new resources, events, and people and trails in the news. To subscribe to the free e-newsletter send your email address to trailhead@AmericanTrails.org. Also see the American Trails Magazine.
Trail Tracks Newsletter
Trail Tracks (ISSN 1082-8303) is the nationwide newsletter of American Trails, published until 2005 when it was replaced by the American Trails Magazine.
Look through back issues of Trail Tracks for articles on projects, people, events, funding ideas, trail construction, greenway planning, tools for advocacy, trail benefits and economic impacts, accessible trails, environmental issues, training opportunities, news from the federal agencies, state trail programs, publications and resources, events, and conferences.
Download current American Trails advertising opportunities, rates, and submission instructions (pdf 496 kb)
We all have our own story about why trails are important. But it’s up to all of us to share that story with the people in power, at every level of government. Celebrations are one vital way that we get that important message to business and community leaders. Our eyes should also be on Congress. There are so many issues being debated this year we need to be sure that trails, greenways, bikeways, parks, and outdoor recreation are not forgotten. It is critical this year to bring attention to our trails and to the important roles they play in our communities. It’s time to celebrate!
With trails, the news is all good. Bikeways and walkways are an important aspect of our transportation system. Trails are a tremendous resource for improving health through physical activity. Trails are becoming familiar to developers and planners as they work to create new communities. And, as we seek to revitalize our cities and suburbs, greenways are key ingredients in both the economy and quality of life.
At the same time, our trails and riding routes in state and federal lands, from deserts to wetlands, need attention, too. There is an amazing diversity of organizations that are dedicated to every kind of trail. These volunteers are the backbone of our trails system. They are also making possible the great outdoor resource work of small businesses as well as youth and conservation corps.
American Trails is seeking every opportunity to celebrate our nationwide trails system. Please join our efforts to document the value of trails and bicycle/pedestrian facilities as transportation infrastructure. Be an active and positive voice in the reauthorization process. Keep up to date at www.AmericanTrails.org— just click on the button that says “Advocacy” on any page.
Finally, don’t forget that one way to celebrate your trail is to host a National Trails Day event. Be sure to ask your Members of Congress to join you on the trail. Sign up on the American Hiking Society’s website at www.americanhiking.org. — Stuart Macdonald, Editor
OUR THEME FOR THIS ISSUE is perhaps not very original. If there are chemists and cartographers without borders, there may well be taxidermists without borders. But it’s a theme that is at the heart of trails. The whole point of trails is to break down barriers, to cut through boundaries, and to seek what is beyond the familiar.
The most obvious border to leap is our own American shoreline. We learn, thanks to the internet and citizens of other countries attending the National Trails Symposium, that lots of trail activity is going on overseas. In this issue you’ll find several interesting examples, from Tibet, the Philippines, and Taiwan. As greenways, rail trails, and long-distance trails have flourished in this country, it is intriguing to see how others are reinterpreting the concepts in their own countries, and what we can learn from them.
Trails help us transcend other borders and barriers. American Trails has made a point of bringing accessibility to the attention of trail managers and advocates. It’s a difficult issue, but it helps us see outside the box: there are other potential trail users besides the young and fit. A graying generation of baby boomers, a growing Hispanic population, and more immigrants from Somalia, Iraq, and Russia give us new challenges and opportunities. Helping these folks try out trails, and learn to love them, is a vital mission for the future.
What about the barriers between different trail interests? The mission of American Trails is to help find that common ground we all share, even as we pursue our own activities. See the article on working together by Karen Umphress on page 32.
And finally, the problems that face most trail planners are the borders between jurisdictions, agencies, even cities. These are the linkages we talk about so often— bringing people and communities together, helping kids get from subdivision to schools, creating paths to transit and to open space. See Janet Phillips’ article on page 14 for the story of dealing with an Indian reservation— another border to leap in our quest for Trails for all Americans.
— Stuart Macdonald, Editor
OKAY, I’VE ALWAYS BEEN ONE OF THOSE curmudgeons who resists change. By the time I started using a fax machine (remember those), email had already taken hold. And IM-ing, forget it! I could never figure out how to punch in the letters on my phone. So when the proposal came to take American Trails Magazine digital I was, of course, resistant.
But then I saw the samples and the technology and was amazed at what could be done. And think of the paper, ink, and fossil fuel needed to distribute the magazine the traditional way. All of these convinced me this is the way to go. BTW and FWIW— my two kids are proud of me to be a part of this change and so will U2!
In addition to the environmental benefits and the storing and sharability of the new format, going digital also allows us to vastly expand our readership and participation by trails experts and advisers. This became very evident on a visit to Beijing, China in late March where former American Trails Chair Chuck Flink and I met with eager graduate students and trail/greenway advocates at Peking University. We learned that there is a wealth of knowledge, solutions, and motivation out there!
Going online will allow American Trails to facilitate this information exchange globally— literally at the speed of light. In fact, to that end we are already talking with experts in China about a series of articles on planning and implementation of long distance trails in both nations.
This would not be feasible in the printed format. And, you can still always hit the “print” button for reading over morning coffee and other venues.
To all of our members, readers, and advertisers, welcome to American Trails Magazine online! To our new website visitors in China and around the world, we welcome you to the American Trails family and look forward to sharing a planets-worth of ideas and creativity in the growing arena of trails, greenways, and green infrastructure!
Sent from my Blackberry (just kidding).
— Robert Searns, Chair, American Trails