Closing Stubborn Gaps East and West

Learn how trail leaders are generating support through techniques like outings and events, hikes with landowners, improved mapping and compelling visual images and engage in a sharing of lessons learned.

by Bill Long, Board Chair Emeritus, Bay Area Ridge Trail, Frank Maguire, Program Director of Trails and Recreation, Pennsylvania Environmental Council (Harrisburg Office), Diane Kripas, Division Chief

Both Pennsylvania and its regional networks and California’s Bay Area Ridge Trail are striving to build long distance trails that connect parks and open spaces for the benefit of residents and visitors. Pennsylvania has over 250 gaps challenging its progress and the Ridge Trail has 156 gaps impacting its ability to complete a planned 550-mile system. Easy trail sections were completed years ago. Progress is slowing in both states and requiring more dynamic and creative approaches to closing stubborn gaps that are often expensive, may lack public support and can require creative engineering solutions.

About the Authors

Bill Long, Board Chair Emeritus, Bay Area Ridge Trail Council was born and raised in RI, graduated from MIT and has been a resident of the SF Bay Area since 1969. He has been on the Ridge Trail board since 1994 and served as chair from 2001 to 2016. Bill was also a Scouting leader and a board member of the San Francisco Bay Trail as well as a long time member of the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission. His hobbies include hiking (of course), sailing, and the promotion of reclaimed water.

Frank Maguire is the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Program Director of Trails and Recreation. Frank has over a decade of trail work experience across the Mid Atlantic having served as the Regional Director for IMBA and founding a trail consulting firm that focused on trail training and development. Since joining PEC in 2015, Frank’s efforts have focused on several large trail initiatives, including the Industrial Heartlands Trails Coalition and the Circuit Trails Coalition.

Diane Kripas is the Division Chief of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Conservation's Partnerships Division. She leads a division dedicated to fostering partnerships between nonpublic and public agencies to encourage the protection of Pennsylvania’s outstanding natural resources, developing a statewide network of greenways and trails, and expanding community recreation opportunities. She is currently leading the implementation of Pennsylvania's nationally award winning Outdoor Recreation Plan: Natural Connections and PA's Trail Strategic Plan. For over 20 years, she has provided trail related technical and grant assistance and manages over $8 million in annual funding for Pennsylvania's trails.

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