2023 ITS Conference Proceedings

American Trails (AT) and the Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA) hosted the International Trails Summit (a collaborative effort of the 25th International Trails Symposium and Training Institute and the Sustainable Trails Conference) in Reno, Nevada during the week of April 17, 2023.


Any presentations shared with us are linked below.

April 17, 2023

General Sessions

Jump to: April 18April 19

Welcome and Land Acknowledgement

1:00 PM-1:20 PM

Herman Fillmore, Washoe Tribe of NV and CA

This session is more than the performative land acknowledgement. Leaders of the Washoe Tribe will welcome our Summit to their ancestral lands and will also explore how trails and trail development are viewed by indigenous cultures. We’ll ask some of the hard questions around trail development and its interaction with historic, culturally significant, and sacred spaces in the outdoors.

Welcome Session

1:20 PM-1:40 PM

Kevin Joell, Sierra Trail Works
Mariluz Garcia, Washoe County Commission District 3

Join us in a full general session to welcome attendees to Northern Nevada to launch the International Trails Summit. We will explore all that is happening in the trails world in Northern Nevada and celebrate the amazing trail and outdoor recreation synergies making this area a model of how trails can transform communities.

Keynote - Ku Stevens - Trails Connect Us to Our Cultural History

1:40 PM-2:10 PM

American Trails and PTBA are excited to announce Ku Stevens as one of our keynote speakers for the International Trails Summit. Ku is a Reno local Citizen of the Year and organizer of the Frank Quinn Remembrance Run every summer. Frank Quinn was Ku’s grandfather who was taken from his Paiute family near Yerington, Nevada and boarded at the Stewart Indian School in Carson City. He escaped several times and ran 50 miles, crossing the Carson River and the Pine Nut Mountains, to get back to his home. The Remembrance Run follows Frank's route, creating a direct connection to his experience. We are excited to launch the conference on Monday, April 17, 2023 with Ku's compelling story and the conversation on the myriad ways that trails connect us all to our shared cultural history. Read Ku's story in the Reno Gazette.

Keynote - Luther Propst – Trails as Rural Economic Drivers

2:30 PM-3:10 PM

Luther Propst, Teton County, Wyoming

As a County Commissioner in the booming recreation mecca of Jackson, WY, and the founder of the Sonoran Institute in Arizona, Luther has seen first-hand the good, the bad, and the ugly of how trails and outdoor recreation can transform small and rural communities. Luther will discuss many of the transformational results of a community investing fully in trails, give real-world examples of the benefits derived including and beyond tourism, and take a hard look at some of the pitfalls many communities experience in this transformational process of embracing trails.

Sustaining the Momentum of the Trails Community

3:10 PM-3:50 PM

Scott Linnenburger, Kay-Linn Enterprises
Elizabeth Burger, Sunflower Foundation
Ryan Chao,Rails to Trails Conservancy
Shari Schaftlein, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Ryan Chao (Rails to Trails Conservancy) will moderate this panel of experts in exploring how the trails world has changed in the last 3 years and discuss the opportunities and challenges that this rapid change has brought to bear on land managers, advocacy organizations, and communities throughout the US.

Introducing the Pan American Trail Network

3:50 PM-4:10 PM

Pedro da Cunha e Menezes, Brazilian Trails Network

The idea for a Pan American Trail and an associated network (PanATN) of trails has arisen a number of times over the last decades. The May 2023 Brazilian Trails Congress in Goiânia picked up the idea again, concluding with the Goyazes Letter and the agreement to form a PanATN steering committee made up of representatives from national and long distance trails organizations.

Advancing Trails Award Ceremony

4:10 PM

Mike Passo, American Trails
Aaryn Kay, Professional TrailBuilders Association

This session will explore what the Professional TrailBuilders Association and American Trails have accomplished and what is in store in the coming years. We will also celebrate the best and brightest of the trails community across the globe with the awarding of the Advancing Trails Awards. This program recognizes the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, and other leaders who are working to create an effective system of trails across the globe.

April 18, 2023

Concurrent Sessions - 8:15 AM-9:15 AM

Jump to: April 17 April 19

Building the Great Trails State – How North Carolina Came Together for BIG Trail Change

Palmer McIntyre, Piedmont Land Conservancy
Iona Thomas, AICP

The NC Great Trails State Coalition will demonstrate the power of collaboration and partnerships in forming one of the newest and most effective advocacy groups in North Carolina.

Community, Collaboration, and Connection: Fostering Regional Trail Community Intermountain West

Jake Powell, Utah State University
Betsy Bryne, National Park Service

Communities are more than networks, they are organized structures of people with shared interests, attitudes, and goals that foster joint ownership of resources, as well as challenges. Where does a statewide or regional “trail community” go to learn, connect, and joint problem solve to grow the collective community as a whole, and the resources it works to improve?

Facilitating Complex Collaboration – Current Challenges in Converting Rails to Trails

Rob Alexander, James Madison University

Dr. Alexander will share the story of three rails to trails projects currently underway in the Commonwealth of Virginia (Shenandoah Valley Rail Trail, Eastern Shore Rail to Trail, Fall Line Trail), and describe the approaches to collaboration and negotiation that have allowed these projects to proceed within the current political and pandemic contexts.

National Guidelines for Classifying Multi-use Trail in Canada

Janice Valant, Trans Canada Trail

Developed by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT), these guidelines are available to all of Canada’s trail ecosystem to help trail operators and partners classify trails, define their trail experiences to improve the user's safety and enjoyment on trails.

Hybrid Contracting

Willie Bittner, Great Lakes Trailbuilders

Combining the efforts of volunteers, youth corps, and/or agency crews with the expertise and "heavy lift" ability of contractors is commonly known as "Hybrid Contacting.” This session will examine the technical side of creating teaming agreements/contractual arrangements, as well as case studies with successful outcomes and lessons learned from less successful projects.

Higher Education + Trails Training

Jay Post, Arkansas Tech University
Martha Becton, Becton Trails
Megan Bolinder, NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Ann Nygard, Northern Vermont University

As the trail industry booms, trail education is being integrated into curricula and programs at many institutions of higher education. This session will explore four programs from Arkansas, North Carolina and Vermont that are implementing different models but with the same goal - to train the next generation of trail professionals.

Outdoors for All

Enock Glidden, Maine Trail Finder

As a person with a disability, I have been working with Maine Trail Finder to further the progress in the accessibility of outdoor spaces. My main focus has been on the accessibility of trails. I am planning to speak about my philosophies toward furthering that goal.

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Trail Planning Technology: Drone Data + 3D Modeling

Jon Altschuld, Chinook Landscape Architecture, LLC
Tony Boone, Timberline TrailCraft, LLC, and Tony Boone Trails, Inc.

Chinook and Tony Boone Trails have integrated a variety of established and emerging technologies to maximize efficiency and available data on outdoor recreation and trail planning projects. These technologies range from inclinometers and rangefinders, to GPS units, to phone data collection apps, to drone data collection and mapping, to software such as GIS, Adobe products, 3D modeling software, and online sharing platforms.

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World Trails Report

Zak Klein, Trails Film

The inaugural World Trails Report addresses key questions on trails from a global perspective. The report reviews the results of a global trails survey conducted by the Trails & Knowledge Task Team of the World Trails Network and includes various articles on emerging topics by various trail experts and academics. This snapshot on the status of trails around the world is insightful and informative, guiding us towards what actions are necessary for the ongoing preservation and perpetuation of trails.

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Concurrent Sessions - 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Creating Impact for Your Project With Authentic Storytelling

Amy Camp, FounderCycle Forward
Amy Kapp, Rails To Trails Magazine

This session will examine effective and impactful strategies for using storytelling to engage decision-makers, funders, partners and the public and build support for trails and active transportation projects.

Download Amy Camp's Presentation >>
Download Amy Kapp's Presentation >>

Implementing the New BLM Inventory, Assessment and Monitoring Process

Carin Farley, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Jeremy Call, Logan Simpson

The BLM’s newly released Inventory, Assessment, and Monitoring (IAM) methodology is gaining momentum as a way to foster interagency data sharing and protect the resources of our NSHTs. There will be a broad overview of IAM methods and a discussion on how this work supports the administration’s priorities. The session will show how important NSHT inventory is for managers to make informed decisions on proposals that may affect National Scenic and Historic Trails with relevant local New Mexico examples.

National Scenic Trails Planning from the Southwest to the Pacific West

Lindsey Steinwachs, USDA Forest Service
Becky Blanchard, USDA Forest Service
Joe David, USDA Forest Service

This session will share the history of national scenic trail planning efforts under the National Trails System Act. Examples from three national scenic trails highlight how planning has evolved to develop and protect these trails and facilitate collaboration across landscapes. The Forest Service is developing comprehensive plans for two of America’s newest national scenic trails, the Arizona Trail and Pacific Northwest Trail

Panama's 1000 KM of Trails Project

Adrian Benedetti, Panama Tourism Authority

Panama is committed to transform itself into an adventure tourism destination. In doing so, the country’s Tourism Authority launched the project “1000 km of Trails” in early 2021 with the goal of rehabilitating or building 1000 kms. These trails will be terrestrial, through protected jungles and mountains or aquatic along coasts, rivers, and between islands. This presentation will discuss how this project is being implemented by taking into account the need to help grow Panama's tourism sector, but also cultivate its nascent national outdoor recreation economy all while ensuring rural communities accrue sustainable economic benefits from both groups.

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Partnerships and Tools for Collaboration: Managing Trails Through Public-Private Partnership in NYC

Josh Otero, Natural Areas Conservancy
Gabriel Cummings, Natural Areas Conservancy

Founded in 2012, the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC) is the non-profit partner to NYC Parks that exists to restore and conserve over 10,000 acres of the forests, wetlands, and grasslands located in NYC Parks’ properties in order to enhance the lives of all New Yorkers. The Citywide Trails Team is a partnership between the NAC and NYC Parks that supports the management of over 300 miles of nature trails in all five boroughs.

Reach your audience: How Partnering with Private Apps Can Improve Visitor Experience

Anna Sprout, Grand County Active Transportation & Trail
Madeline Logowitz, Grand County Active Transportation and Trails
Pitt Grewe, AllTrails

Grand County Active Transportation & Trails (GCATT, aka Moab Trail Mix) is collaborating with AllTrails to manage trail content through the AllTrails Public Lands Portal. GCATT partners with land managers in the Moab area to design, build, and maintain over 180 miles of non-motorized trails. GCATT will present land management challenges in the Moab area and the need for collaboration between land managers and private industry leaders.

The Economic and Tourism Potential of Long-Distance Multi-Use Trails in North America

Kevin Belle, Rails to Trails Conservancy
Mathieu Roy, Trans Canada Trail
Robert Barto, East Coast Greenway Alliance

This presentation will explore the economic and tourism benefits of three long-distance trails in North America: the Great American Rail-Trail®, a project of Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC); Trans Canada Trail/Sentier Transcanadien; and the East Coast Greenway, a project of the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

Trail Sign Information + Trail Usability

Quinn Brett, US Fish and Wildlife

Trail sign information is key for all users to make informed decisions about what trail works best for them, including people with disabilities. This session will cover accessibility laws and regulations (ABA/ADA), mobility device technology on trail, as well as, some discussion how building quality sustainable trails naturally lend themselves to more usable trails for a variety of mobility devices users.

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What is a Corps and How to Start One

Lauren Edwards Johnson, The Corps Network

The Service and Conservation Corps model brings young adult leaders to the forefront of addressing local conservation and environmental needs. Corps engage young adults, generally ages 16-25, and veterans up to age 35, in 6-month to year-long terms of service where they assist in designing, planning, and completing important environmental projects in areas including, but not limited to, green infrastructure, urban forestry, and environmental education/outreach.

Concurrent Sessions - 1:15 PM-2:15 PM

Developing Sustainable Trails and Partnerships on the Island of Greenland

DC Carr, U.S. Department of the Interior

In 2022, the first of a series of technical trail teams visited with Greenlandic counterparts to work on the Arctic Circle Trail, between Sisimuit and Kangerlussuaq, in the Qeqqata region of Greenland. Part of a three-year partnership between the United States and Greenland, the project aims to build community connections and sustainable trails to support ecotourism on the island. Representatives from the technical teams will present their findings and recommendations as a new trail system opens up international adventure tourists.

Living Life Off Pavement - Adaptive Equipment for Trail Exploration

April Wolfe, City of Reno
Tish Scolnik, GRIT

Adaptive Equipment provides equitable and just access to trails. Learn about the various types of adaptive recreation equipment from adaptive mountain bikes to off-road wheelchairs that allow persons with disabilities the opportunity to explore life off pavement! This session will explore various types of equipment, rental programs, and funding sources to provide access.

Making the Most of Current Funding Opportunities to Build Out Trail Networks

Elle Segal, Rails to Trails Conservancy
Laura Cohen, State of California

This presentation focuses on federal funding opportunities. Elle Segal, Rails to Trails Advocacy Outreach Director, goes through a quick overview of various new and existing federal funding sources, including updates, increases and changes to existing programs. Then three speakers, including Laura Cohen, RTC’s West Coast Director, outline how they have maximized funding while also focusing on equity, safety and sustainability.

Risk Management During Trail Construction

Kevin Joell, Sierra Trail Works

There are many potential hazards that may be encountered during trail building. Without proper mitigation, some of these hazards may result in injury, death, or financial impacts to those involved in the project. We will discuss best practices to reduce risk to your trail crew, company, agency or organization during trail construction activities.

The Cross-Continental Trail: A Proposal For A Coast-to-Coast Scenic Trail Across the Country

Mike Sprague, Trail Connections

This session explores a proposal for a scenic trail that would link existing trails and public lands from Cape Hatteras on the Atlantic Coast to Point Conception on the Pacific Coast. This would result in a wildland trail on par with the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails. The presentation includes a map of the proposed trail, as well as extensive, detailed original photography of the 12-state route.

The Economic Impact of Non-Motorized Winter Trails in Rural Communities

John Morton, Morton Trails

The economic impact of winter trail networks in rural communities can be both obvious and subtle. Through case studies of Nordic skiing and biathlon competition facilities built in rural communities in Maine, Wyoming, Michigan, and New York, this session will explore the economic impacts broken into 5 main categories: 1) events; 2) tourism; 3) social capital; 4) human capital; 5) new residents.

The National Digital Trails Project: Collaborative Tools & Trail Data

Elizabeth McCartney, U.S. Geological Survey
Tatyana DiMascio, US Geological Survey

Our Nation is home to thousands of miles of trails maintained by many different land management agencies and organizations. Since January 2019, the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Digital Trails project has been supporting the U.S. Department of the Interior’s priority of improving access to our nation’s public lands.

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US Forest Service and National Park Service Partnerships: The Trail Partnership Research Project

James Freeman, Virginia Tech

There is a growing and compelling base of evidence for the health-related benefits of nature for people across multiple populations. Historically, though, trail organizations have not actively sought the support of health philanthropy for their efforts - nor has health philanthropy, with some exceptions, seen trails as a vital component of a healthy life and sought to actively partner with trail organizations.

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Will the Future be Electrification? E-Bike/eMTB Panel Discussion

Claire Miller, City of Phoenix
Duane Taylor, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC)

2:30 PM-3:30 PM

Big Data and Big Trail Investments- Utilizing Collaborative Tools to Inform Trail Investments

Gabe Perkins, Inland Woods + Trails
Kathryn Grond, University of Maine

Maine, like many states, lacks detailed and consistent trail usage data. Trail usage data are critical to making informed decisions about investments in new trails and the maintenance and management of existing trail infrastructure. New platforms for transportation data are creating opportunities for Maine to improve its knowledge of recreational trail use.

Health Philanthropy and Trails

Elizabeth Burger, Sunflower Foundation

There is a growing and compelling base of evidence for the health-related benefits of nature for people across multiple populations. Historically, though, trail organizations have not actively sought the support of health philanthropy for their efforts - nor has health philanthropy, with some exceptions, seen trails as a vital component of a healthy life and sought to actively partner with trail organizations.

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Parks, Trails and Rural Communities: Building local Economies and Community Connections

Mike Sutherland, Department of Natural Resources

The 144 mile Rock Island Corridor will add to the almost 270 mile Katy Trail. Once complete it will create the longest connected rail-to-trail network in the world. The system connects rural and urban communities across Missouri. Local economies as well as the state benefit from the trail network, through connections within communities and with other communities.

River Town Reviews - Connecting Communities and Promoting Outdoor Recreation

Andrea Irland, National Park Service RTCA

River Town Reviews were a significant piece of the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance project for the Ohio River Recreation Trail. Learn how the process and tools can help your trail communities to connect with each other and their riverfronts through outdoor recreation resources.

She Saws: Why Representation Matters in Technical Trail Skills

Martha Becton, Becton Trails

Layers of barriers and bias go unseen by many in the trails industry making training program decisions, hiring decisions, leading crews, or providing training. This matters because there are not enough people today trained and educated in sustainable trail building, maintenance, and management to meet the needs of our expanding trail systems. Yet, as technical trail skill workshops and programs grow to meet these needs, trailbuilding’s traditional lack of diversity risks perpetuating outdated stereotypes of who belongs in this field — and who doesn’t.

The Nexus of Trails, Climbing and Conservation

Ty Tyler, Access Fund

Access Fund (AF) is the national US non-profit dedicated to keeping climbing areas conserved and protected and is the national leader in climbing area infrastructure and stewardship. AF Stewardship Program staff will provide valuable insight into the realm of climbing’s increasing impacts and subsequent solutions. Leveraging a wealth of experience across the US, we will use two "case studies" to showcase successful technical trail and infrastructure projects in two unique landscapes and communities.

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Trail Design in Google Earth: “Designing a Trail Worth Traveling To”

Randy Martin, Trailscape inc.

This session will begin with a short philosophy of trail design appropriate to user groups by blending commodity, firmness, and delight (Vitruvius quote). We will then roll into a practical session of how to perform preliminary trail design in Google Earth with the support of CalTopo for property lines and then how to “Truth the design” in the field using Gaia GPS on a smartphone. Next, we will show you how to transfer field data back to a PC in Google Earth.

Trail Restoration in NPA La Primavera Forest. Guadalajara, Mexico

Sotirios Lambros, MTB Pro Bosque

Guadalajara is a metropolitan area with 5.2 million inhabitants and it’s contiguous to La Primavera Forest which is a natural protected area established in 2000. The forest provides a lots of ecological services; one of them is recreation which is a very important concept for the city. The trails at La Primavera forest has been used for centuries by humans, in which you can find pre-Colombian tombs and a lot of trails that were built by wood-coal collectors. In the last 4 decades, those trails have been used by mountain bikers and runners, without any regulation or maintenance.

Trails as Resilient Infrastructure: Key themes from FHWA Guidebooks on Climate Change Resilience

Jeffrey Ciabotti, Toole Design Group
Michael Hintze, Toole Design Group
Gregg Berggren, Carson City, Nevada

Communities face many challenges as they work to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, including how to manage infrastructure of all scales. Trails, which have become increasingly critical for recreation, health, and transportation, are often built in areas prone to wildfire, extreme heat, or flooding from sea level rise and “extreme” rain events. FHWA’s new guidebooks on Trails as Resilient Infrastructure explore how trail corridors can also be part of the climate solution

April 19, 2023

Concurrent Sessions - 8:15 AM-9:15 AM

Jump to: April 17 April 18

Accounting for Trail User Comfort in a Changing Climate

Emily Duchon, Alta Planning + Design
Maria Wardoku, Alta Planning + Design

In the age of the climate crisis, how can we plan and design trails for maximum user comfort and safety?People use trails more often when they feel safe and comfortable. That’s the basis behind Alta’s Shared Use Path Level of Comfort (LOC) analysis tool which considers factors like vehicle stress, personal safety, path level of service, noise, odors, slopes, and directness.

Complete Networks with Trails: Federal Transportation Funds

Christopher Douwes, Federal Highway Administration

This presentation will describe how Federal surface transportation funding programs and research help States and communities integrate transportation and recreation infrastructure to develop safe, accessible, equitable, and comfortable complete networks to promote US Department of Transportation goals for safety, economic strength, equity, and climate sustainability. The presentation will focus on significant updates in legislation, policy, and new research since the May 2019 symposium.

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Connected Communities

Greg Williams, Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship

The Connected Communities Project is a visionary effort led in partnership with the US Forest Service, Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, and community partners to connect 15 mountain towns for economic prosperity through outdoor recreation. It will create a vision for a recreation-focused lifestyle through community investment, shared stewardship, economic opportunity, and important new local jobs.

Data-driven Trails - Eco-Counter

In this session we will outline different methods for counting users on trails, discuss best practices for collecting and analyzing trail count data, and share examples of how count data can be leveraged to better manage trails and outdoor areas.

Encouraging Indigenous Participation in Trail Management & Interpretation

Matthew Nelson, Arizona Trail Association

Learn how one trail organization has been engaging indigenous communities in the interpretation of trails and public lands to help all visitors connect on a deeper level. From the inclusion of land acknowledgments and indigenous place names on trailhead signs to involving tribes in trail design, construction, and exploration, this presentation will offer a suite of successful strategies for engaging indigenous people in trail management.

Higher Education + Trails Training

Jay Post, Arkansas Tech University - Recreation and Parks Program
Martha Becton, Becton Trails
Megan Bolinder, Trails Trade School, NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Ann Nygard, Northern Vermont University - Center for Professional Studies

As the trail industry booms, trail education is being integrated into curricula and programs at many institutions of higher education. This session will explore four programs from Arkansas, North Carolina and Vermont that are implementing different models but with the same goal - to train the next generation of trail professionals. The session will also include discussion of how the Trail Competency Framework is being integrated into curriculum development. Join the discussion and bring your ideas and questions!

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Israel Bike Trail: Desert Trail Sustainable Approach

Hillel Sussman, Israel Bike Trail

Israel bike trail is a 1200 km long mountain bike trail that is planned and built by the Israel Nature Reserve Authority and sponsored by the Israel Tourist office. As a project run by the Israel Nature Reserve Authority, we kept a strict traditional sustainable approach in a 460 km off desert trail that was built in the last years. Opposed to the growth of use of mechanical building tools like mini Dozers and the much bigger Backhoe Loader that is in use on single tracks, tools that definitely make it easier, quicker, and cheaper to deal with the harsh terrain, we kept the hand tolls buckets and the hoe as working tools The presentation will describe the art of desert trail building in Israel Negev.

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Old Fort Trails Project - Building Community through Trails

Lisa Jennings, USDA Forest Service
Stephanie Swepson Twitty
Jason McDougald, Camp Grier

The Old Fort Trails Project is born of the idea that change is possible when citizens come together to collaborate for meaningful and lasting change. The project will add 42 miles of purpose-built multi-user trail connecting to the town of Old Fort. But this is not your typical trail project. Our vision is to encourage investment from individuals and groups from multiple sectors in order to drive this initiative from the community outward

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Planning to be a Trail Town - Strategies and Pitfalls

Tony Boone, Timberline TrailCraft, LLC, and Tony Boone Trails, Inc.
Amy Camp, Cycle Forward

From economic benefits to quality of life to community health, it is undeniable that trails can transform communities. This roundtable discussion will explore strategies to use trails as a tool for community development as well as pitfalls and lessons learned from existing ‘trail towns’ including housing (affordability and rental growth), business development, stakeholder engagement, and related facilities needed.

Download Tony Boone's Presentation >>
Download Amy Camp's Presentation >>

UX Design for Trails

Jérôme Pelland, Sentiers Boréals
Roxanne Tétreault, Sentiers Boréals

This session will present the concept of UX design for trails, from the planning stage all the way to the field experience for the user. User experience is widely used in technology and product design to assess how users think and feel. Design with empathy engages the context of use, environment, and land manager realities. This session will present the general concept specifically applied for trails.

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Concurrent Sessions - 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Bridging the Divide: How Trails and Public Lands-Built Community & Fostered More Constructive Dialog

Drew Pollak-Bruce, SE Group

This session will explore how an inclusive multi-agency MOU and planning process increased management capacity, empowered the local community to have more control over their public lands, and created a venue for everyone to practice more constructive community conversations.

Data-Driven Recreational Trail Management Planning in Marin County, CA

Cole Peiffer, Alta Planning + Design
Brian Burchfield, Alta Planning + Design

This presentation will cover the Recreation Management Plan for the Marin Municipal Water District in Marin County, CA. This project focuses on developing an Adaptive Management Framework through public engagement and analysis of multiple data sources including Strava, Streetlight Data, in-person surveys, and trail counters. Additionally, the project will incorporate long-term biological monitoring data sets and leverage an existing Wildlife Picture Index data set.

Investing with Intention: Trails That Connect People of all Backgrounds, Cultivate Trust and Create

Dan Rice, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition
Brandi Peacher, City of Lexington, KY
Josh Rogers, NewTown Macon

The global pandemic has underscored the importance of face-to-face human connection to our daily lives and well-being. But well before COVID-19, the U.S. was in the grips of increased economic segregation, social isolation, and distrust. These trends are detrimental to our communities and our society.

Patagonia - Investing in Trails and Community

Jed Talbot, OBP Trailworks
Willie Bittner, Great Lakes Trailbuilders

Patagonia is a region that represents the epitome of adventure travel. Paradoxically, few sustainably designed trail systems exist there. Since 2017, PTBA members have been coordinating efforts for the development of two major recreational trail systems along with the infrastructure needed to promote responsible public use.

Six Steps to Building a TrailNation

Andrea Irland, National Park Service RTC
Mary Ellen Koontz, Rails to Trails Conservancy
Eric Oberg, Rails to Trails Conservancy
AJ Schwartz, Environmental Planning & Design
Jessica Wineberg, Milwaukee County Parks

In this session, participants will join staff and partners working on Rails to Trails Conservancy’s TrailNation projects to work through top challenges for developing trail networks from creating a project vision and building a coalition to engaging the community and addressing equity concerns. This session will center around the six pillars of RTC’s TrailNation Playbook, a new resource to leverage the lessons we’ve learned in over 10 years of trail network building around the country for trail planners to accelerate their own regional trail network projects.

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State Money for Trails: Advocacy Tactics and Policies

Andrew Dupuy, Rails to Trails Conservancy

In addition to federal and private funds, state legislatures and agencies can be sources of public funding for trails and active transportation networks. In this session, national and state advocacy organizations will present a variety of organizing and advocacy tactics and different sources of funding to help you decide what would be most applicable to your area or trail.

The OpenStreetMap US Trails Stewardship Initiative

Maggie Cawley, OpenStreetMap US
Joe O'Brien, OpenStreetMap US

Sparked by concerns about OpenStreetMap’s role in how the public accesses and recreates on protected lands, OpenStreetMap US volunteers, navigation app developers, national agencies and public land managers formed the OpenStreetMap US Trails Working Group in 2021.

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Trail Planning Processes: Strategies For Efficiency

Scott Linnenburger, Kay-Linn Enterprises
Jeremy Wimpey Ph.D., Applied Trails Research

Getting from TRAIL IDEA to COMPLETED TRAIL never takes a direct path. Often time-consuming and nearly always frustrating, the process of getting to implementation is daunting and can derail great projects. This session will focus on identifying the milestones that have to be met, charting the path, and building efficiencies into the process from the outset.

US Forest Service 10 Year Trail Shared Stewardship Challenge

Brenda Yankoviak, US Forest Service
Andy Welsh - SpeakersAssistant National Trail Program ManagerUSDA Forest Service

Join the Washington Office Trails Team to hear about specific actions the agency is taking to support the trails workforce and improve trail conditions on the ground. During this session, participants will learn about the 10 Year Trail Shared Stewardship Challenge- what it is, why we have it, and what to expect from it. This presentation will include a deep dive into several topics of interest to trail practitioners related to training, analyzing trail program workforce capacity, and data efforts.

Concurrent Sessions - 1:15 PM-2:15 PM

Bear Creek Greenway – Planning for Resiliency

Mike Rose, Alta Planning + Design
Steve Lambert, Jackson County

On September 8th, 2020 the Almeda Fire swept through the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon destroying more than 2,600 homes. The following afternoon a second fire added to the destruction. What can a community do to respond to a disaster like this? How does the community recover, how does the greenway recover and what is the plan to prevent this from happening again? We will share some history of the Bear Creek Greenway and the Envision Bear Creek Plan.

How to Use the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Trail Projects

Janice Keillor, Nevada Division of State Parks
Fletcher Jacobs, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Mickey Rogers, Arizona State Parks

Learn how the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program can fund the development of land or water-based trails for outdoor recreation activities. Presenters will describe how the program works, project eligibility, matching opportunities with the Recreational Trails Program, project boundary maps, and provide project examples.

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Inspiring Community Through Inclusive Trail Practices

Mary Ellen Koontz, Rails to Trails Conservancy

In this session, participants will explore findings from Rails to Trails Conservancy’s study of common barriers that prevent people from using trails as well as strategies and funding mechanisms for fostering inclusion and community. Communities, especially those that are underrepresented or have limited capacity, need resources to utilize new federal funding opportunities and this presentation showcases resources for that purpose.

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Jamaica Blue Mountains Trail Project: First 30 Months and Vision of the Future

David Walters, Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust
Conliffe Simpson, National Park Volunteer Corps, Jamaica
Peter Dolan, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

This presentation will showcase trail development and planning efforts in the rugged Cloud Forests of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains National Park and its buffer zone communities, aimed at increasing Jamaican and international eco-tourism in this beautiful region.

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MN Trail Development Guide - Successfully Managing the MTB Trail Development Process

Mike Repyak, International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA)
Aaron Rogers, Rock Solid Trail

Through their work across Minnesota, the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) identified the need for a new trail development resource for communities across the state. The guide has been created via a collaboration between GMRPTC, IMBA Trail Solutions, and Rock Solid Trail Contracting. During its development, this resource has become a book that will be the go-to guide for advocates, land managers, and professional consultants (within MN and beyond) learning about best practices throughout the trail development lifecycle.

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Nevada Trail Finder

Elisabeth Johnson, Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation
Jasmina Sekanovich, Great Basin Institut

The Nevada Trail Finder is a free, interactive mapping site designed to help Nevada residents and visitors find motorized and non-motorized trails across the state. Detailed trail description pages allow users to view the trails, get essential information, submit trip comments and photos, and a whole lot more. This session will cover the development of the site, what existing needs it fills and how NDOR plans to continue to leverage the platform to increase sustainable trail access across Nevada.

OHV Skills Development Areas: Utilizing Available Space to Provide Opportunities for Fun and Training

Duane Taylor, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC)
Tasha Nielsen, Webster County Conservation

The State of Iowa has eight OHV parks which are managed and maintained by off-highway vehicle (OHV) club members and local jurisdictions. Learn how NOHVCC created skills development courses and obstacles that can be used to bolster riding and training opportunities at recreation areas across the country.

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The SET Test for Legacy Trails Water Management Features

Robert Fina, Fina Trails, LLC

The SET Test for Legacy Trails Water Management Features. This session teaches the SET test for trail water management features with a focus on specific skills development in trail maintenance and management.The SET (Sustainable, Effective, Traversable) test is designed to assist maintainers and land managers in evaluating existing features, as well as providing design parameters for rehabilitating existing features and/or building new, more sustainable features.

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Concurrent Sessions - 2:30 PM-3:30 PM

Arizona National Scenic Trail Response to Climate Change

Matthew Nelson, Arizona Trail Association
Zach MacDonald, Arizona Trail Association

This presentation will be a collaborative and interactive round table discussion with multiple break-out sessions with each of our program leaders, about the impacts of climate change to the trail. Our quest is to share how various programs within the Arizona Trail Association respond to the way climate change through drought, fire, flooding, and either shorter or longer season, is impacting the trail.

Challenges and Successes of a State-Wide, Grant Funded Trail Program

Tara Nasvik, Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Friends of Nevada Wilderness maintains Wilderness trails across the entire state of Nevada. Our professional trail crews are recruited from across the nation, introducing a unique experience for urban and rural backgrounds to collaborate around a common cause. The crews build relationships with local outfitters and Backcountry Horsemen volunteers, where reciprocity is key.

Developing a Program to Reduce Trail Conflicts

Curt Kruger, Trail Partners Foundation

The session will describe the highly successful "Slow & Say Hello" trail safety and resource protection program. We’ll share what we've learned over 10 years, and what works and what doesn't in modifying behavior among different user groups.

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Land Acquisition for Trails

J.T. Horn, Trust for Public Land

Is your trail on private land leaving it vulnerable to trail closure? Or are you trying to expand your trails, but need a new parcel of land to build the system? Join the Trust for Public Land for a discussion of how to partner with the land trust community to conserve vulnerable trail segments or create new conservation lands that are focused on recreational uses.

Mechanized Trail Building Options: To Pave or Not to Pave

Dave Coyner, Quality Asphalt Services

Paving trails is one strategy to ensure durability, and it can be applied in many scenarios. This session will explore the benefits of paving trails, the paving equipment used for trailwork in natural areas and narrow trails, other options for hardening trail surfaces, and utilizing paving equipment for non paved trails.

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She Saws: Why Representation Matters in Technical Trail Skills

Martha Becton, Becton Trails

Layers of barriers and bias go unseen by many in the trails industry making training program decisions, hiring decisions, leading crews, or providing training. This matters because there are not enough people today trained and educated in sustainable trail building, maintenance, and management to meet the needs of our expanding trail systems. Yet, as technical trail skill workshops and programs grow to meet these needs, trailbuilding’s traditional lack of diversity risks perpetuating outdated stereotypes of who belongs in this field — and who doesn’t.

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The Value of Professional Dirt Bags

Drew Pollak-Bruce, SE Group
Greg Mazu, Singletrack Trails

Anyone can plan, design, and build a trail, right? As we all know the answer is no, and it takes not only technical skills but also the right combination of grit, humility, and endurance to be a professional "dirt bag". This session will explore the culture, training, and professional development needed to have a career that your mom and dad approve of and why it's important to have professional trail jobs.

Trail Skills Project

Mike Passo, American Trails
Aaryn Kay, Professional TrailBuilders Association

The Trail Skills Project is a collaboration of trail nonprofits, federal agencies and universities launched to serve as the workforce hub for the trails community providing connections to trails education, trail expertise, professional development, and job opportunities (trailskills.org). The project was launched in an effort to create shared language defining trail competencies through the Trail Competency Framework, the foundation on which the website is organized. Learn more and find out how to get involved!

Understanding the National Recreation Trails (NRT) Program

Peter Bonsall, National Park Service

This session is an introduction to the National Recreation Trails (NRT) Program (trails that are a part of the National Trails System*), including the National Water Trails (a subset of the NRT program). You will learn the benefits to designating your trail(s) as an NRT (deadline for applications is November 1 of each year), the history of the NRT program, the process for trails to become NRTs, the benefits of becoming an NRT, and more.

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Using Film Festival Events to Fundraise & Build Community

Zak Klein, Trails Film
Jay Simpson, Trails Film

From large multi-day events to single-night fundraising events, film screenings can be impactful events that bring together community members, business leaders, sponsors, and partnering organizations. In this session, learn about the World Trails Film Festival’s unique program approach to organizing their advocacy film festival and how community screening events can benefit host organizations.


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2,968 views • posted 05/14/2023