Trail Innovations in the Desert Southwest

Next-Generation” Urban Trails in Tucson, and Restoration of one of America’s “Most Endangered” Rivers in Santa Fe

This session discusses community expectations and public involvement in trail development.


Speakers: Rory Renfro, Associate, Alta Planning and Design; Robert Oberdorfer, Senior Landscape Architect, Weston Solutions Inc.

In Tucson, the Pima Association of Governments, in partnership with the University of Arizona and other organizations/agencies, recently completed a pedestrian, bicycle, and trails master plan for the U of A campus. Extremely high community expectations demanded that this effort be results-driven, have an effective community and stakeholder engagement strategy, include policies to clearly guide on-the-ground implementation, and provide a clearly-defined roadmap for putting the plan into action. The resulting effort includes robust infrastructure and programmatic elements, several of which are now under construction.

In Santa Fe, public desire for a trail along the Santa Fe River led to a concurrent restoration project of the river itself. The river seemed a logical location for development of a trail to meet that desire. Due to the sensitive nature of the corridor, the environmental bent of the mayor, and the strong opinions of many of the neighbors, an extensive public involvement process drove the design work. Special features of the trail included a “greenwall” reinforced, vegetated, earthen retaining wall system to support the trail, as well as stabilization of the adjacent river bed using bioengineering techniques that were essentially untried on a project of this magnitude.

View Tucson Presentation Online

View Santa Fe Presentation Online

More Articles in this Category

The Path Forward

Columbia, Maryland's 94 mile pathway network.

Sand Creek Greenway: Trail User Survey Report

A survey on the urban trail through Denver, Commerce City, and Aurora, Colorado, indicated a lot of satisfaction among greenway users as well as suggestions for improvement.

Regional Trails – Connecting Rural and Urban Communities

Planning and implementation of three complex regional trail systems in three western states.

Dogs Gone Wild

Dogs, trails & open space are the topic of discussion.

Economic Benefits of Trails

This fact sheet provides researched facts about trail development in Canada including trail use, the money spent by trail users, statistics on job creation related to trail development, adjacent land values and the economic impact of new money to a community when trails are developed.

The Long Trail Back: The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, Three Years On

In this presentation the panelists discuss how the U.S. Forest Service is mandated to increase the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance activities.