21st Century Way to Attract Trail Users: On-Line Trail Finder

Learn about the new Trail Finder online database!

by Lelia Mellen, National Park Service


We will share a new online trail database: Trail Finder - a cooperative, web-based database showing publicly accessible trails throughout New Hampshire and Vermont (with a separate, similar program in Maine). The project aims to connect people to publicly accessible trails, increasing the public’s access to healthy, outdoor recreational opportunities in their own communities.

Unlike other open source databases where any public information can be added, Trail Finder uses only information that is approved by the landowner and trail manager. Collaboration among conservation landowners, trail groups, and towns are contributing trails’ data, including landownership and allowable uses, in a single, GIS web-based platform. The project works with organizations, towns, and willing landowners to digitally map existing trails and record public access and allowable trail uses. Trail encourages people to get outside, be active, and connect with amazing conserved lands. We will explore the extra incentives and fun features in Trail Finder.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand how Trail Finder works and its uniqueness
  • See how volunteers can be involved by entering new trails and information into the system
  • Learn how you can access Trail Finder or create your own

About the Author

Lelia Mellen works for the National Park Service Rivers & Trails Program as the National Water Trail Leader and the Director of New Hampshire Projects. This is a position she has held for over 20 years and as such she works with national water-oriented groups, community groups, local and state agencies, and nonprofits to help them with their conservation initiatives. These groups ask for assistance on river recreation and protection, open space protection and trail work.

Lelia has helped with organizational development, fundraising, river and water trail management, trail building, event planning, and open space protection. In essence, she grasps the conservation needs and desires of the group and tries to help them meet their goals. Lelia received her Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and her Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Dartmouth College.

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