Trail Advocacy

This award is given in recognition of successful efforts to influence public policy relating to trail planning, trail protection, trail development, or maintenance.


Kentucky: Steve Barbour

A longtime advocate of outdoor activities and recreational hiking, Steve Barbour founded "The Sheltowee Trace Association" in September 2009, and was voted in by Board Members as its first Executive Director.

Barbour's motivation has been to increase awareness of and accessibility to this National Recreational Trail for its varied user groups. As a "multi-use" trail, The Sheltowee Trace traverses approximately 269+ miles of contiguous trails and roads in Kentucky, hosting hikers, horseback riders, and cyclists in pursuit of outdoor adventures.

Barbour has focused skills previously refined during his 20+ years of service in the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division, radio broadcasting for the Armed Forces Radio (AFRTS), and as a Public Affairs Officer in Washington D.C. to garner support for the STA cause: identifying and resolving trail recovery and maintenance issues by consulting with and helping to network local and state officials, volunteers, and users of this neglected National Recreational Trail.

Largely due to Barbour's donated hours of conversation by phone, email, and while attending conferences, a network of volunteers coordinated with local and regional forest service personnel, has resulted in sections of the Sheltowee Trace being identified, blazed, and refurbished. Users from various groups have been made aware of a need to identify problem sections and share their experiences along the STA thru a website started by Barbour: with a link to a social network site on FACEBOOK (The Sheltowee Trace Association).

This past February, Barbour was invited to speak at The Kentucky Trails Summit, sponsored by the Kentucky Horse Council and other groups supportive of horseback riding across the nation. He also traveled to Monteagle, TN in the spring to meet and discuss trail group successes and challenges at the Southeast Foot Trails Coalition Conference (SFTCC). In order to recognize and promote these efforts, Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky signed a proclamation designating March 2010 as "Sheltowee Trace Month". Radio broadcasts and newspaper articles in regional publications also gave credibility and visibility to the cause.

Steve Barbour hopes, in years to come, to join forces with those sharing a vision to interconnect trails nationwide. He considers our national trails to be a unique resource for citizens and tourists alike, capable of improving health and enhancing the enjoyment of those who use them.

679 views • posted 01/16/2018