The newsletter of AMERICAN TRAILS -- SPRING 1999

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New trails web site will provide Universal Access information

Although many people with disabilities enjoy visiting outdoor parks and recreational areas, there is currently no easy means for them to obtain information on trails around the country. American Trails Board member Peter Axelson is working on this problem with a grant from the U. S. Dept. of Education. Peter's company, Beneficial Designs, Inc., is working in partnership with American Trails and BusinessWare, Inc., to develop a prototype searchable web site database which will convey trail access information across North America. The goal is to have every trail in the nation in the database one day.

During web site development in collaboration with federal, state, and local trail managers, this project will standardize trail information, and enter data on at least 500 trails that will allow users to search for trails based on a choice of characteristics. The web site development phase is scheduled for completion by June of 2000.

This web site, called Trail Explorer, will provide information on public lands with accessibility data for individual trails and a search engine for a large trail access information database. Product information, advertisements, and links to other related web sites will also be provided. The American Trails home page will be the internet portal to the Trail Explorer site.

The web site is expected to increase recreation by persons with mobility limitations, and improve trail information for people of all abilities. This information will enable trail users to make more informed decisions about which public lands to visit and which trails better meet their interests and abilities.

Get involved with the single most useful trails project in the country! Access trail information anywhere in the country via a computer at an agency visitor center, an outdoor retail store, or from the comfort of your own home! Agencies benefit as American Trails will manage the system.

American Trails needs website reviewers during the research phase of this project and agencies willing to enter their trail data in to the prototype database. Contact the American Trails office if you are interested in either of these opportunities: (520) 632-1140 or AmTrails@lankaster.com.

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