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.


Oregon: Chuck Frayer

Chuck Frayer is a nationally recognized expert for outdoor recreation design.

I (Georgena Moran Access Recreation Project Coordinator) have known Chuck for 17 years. Our first contact was made in 2005, in my search for a wilderness trail I could hike as a power wheelchair user. I had exhausted all avenues finding there was not adequate information on trails to give me the necessary information I would need for a safe and enjoyable recreation experience.

Chuck readily met with me and though he affirmed that the information was not available due to liability concerns for the agencies involved, he encouraged me not to give up and supplied me with the contacts for other interested parties in various trail agency jurisdictions. He also asked me to stay in touch. Which I did.

From that day on I worked with Chuck and others to help create a means to bring better information to people of all abilities regarding outdoor recreation trails. I am proud to say that we have accomplished this through the development of The Guidelines For Providing Trail Information To People with Disabilities. Chuck’s never ending passion and dedication to this effort was a driving force in the success of this project. He is now assisting in its promotion to agencies that will apply it to their trail websites. When applied this information will greatly increase opportunities for people of all abilities to find the recreation experience of their choice.

This is just one of the many examples of Chuck’s service in providing recreational opportunities to the public. He is a nationally recognized expert for outdoor recreation design. Chuck has spent 45 years working for the US Forest Service. He was first hired as a GS3 Civil Engineer Draftsman. Today he is the Pacific Northwest’s Regional Accessibility Specialist. Prior to his employment with the USFS, at 19 years of age, Chuck was in an accident resulting in his use of a manual wheelchair. From all accounts, he was a physically fit and highly spirited youth. To his admission he doesn't climb trails as fast as he used to, but his high spirit and the incredible energy for his work seems only to increase.

Chuck was the first Accessibility Program Manager for the US Forest Service. He spent two years from 1989 to 1991 developing the position for a National Accessibility Program Manager. He then served as a technical advisor to the Access Board from 1991 to 1992 as the Board began the groundwork for the development of The Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas. This was going to take a while. As of this time it is still in the proposed state. Chuck did not wait however.

In 1993 Chuck co-authored The Universal Access To Outdoor Recreation: Design Guide. This book is used to this day providing agencies across the nation with the tools they need to design accessible outdoor environments including trails. As part of the work in developing this guidebook, Chuck and the other co-authors applied their proposed guidelines to Catherine Creek and other existing recreation sites for use as test models increasing site accessibility.

Consistently through his years with the USFS Chuck has taken a leadership role in program management. He is part of the development team for Meaningful Measures providing the Forest Service with consistent quality data to determine the benefit based management of all its expenditures.

As Region 6 Accessibility Program Manager he is responsible for direct development of US Forest . He is also the Region 6 Data Master for the INFRA data base management team. INFRA data base holds information on all US Forest Service properties across the nation.

Chuck’s latest project may be the most exciting for me personally. It has an immediate impact on providing trail information for people with disabilities. The Accessible Adventures in the Pacific Northwest video series is a collaborative effort with the USFS, Easter Seals and John Williams of Wheelchair Destinations. These videos capture the awesome beauty of the Pacific Northwest. By watching the viewer also learns how accessible a site really is before arriving there.

This is merely a snapshot of what Chuck Frayer has accomplished in meeting the needs and desires for all of us in search of the optimal recreation experience. I am only one of the many with whom he has shared his vast knowledge and experience leading to the creation of innovative projects, programs and recreation development. He is the big picture guy inspiring those like myself not to settle for the status quo but to believe that we can make a difference if we stay the course, follow our passion and work together to get things done. Chuck Frayer leads by example. He is the whole package. In his own words Chuck says “I am extremely fortunate to be allowed to do what I do.” I believe we are the fortunate ones that reap the benefits of his work.

687 views • posted 01/16/2018