Trails are not just an American concept.
by Stuart Macdonald, Trail Consultant, American Trails
We usually think of trails as an American concept, an outgrowth of our vast landscape, mountains, and public lands. However, greenways and trail systems are a growing interest in many countries: from mountain bike trail systems to urban river corridors to long-distance pathways. Just as technology is shared around the world, we are exporting our trail concepts as well as learning from other countries.
As we have learned from the European tradition of footpaths and dedicated bikeways, other countries are learning from our explosion of community trails and rail trails. England has served as our example for public rights of way, and how canal towpaths could serve walkers and cyclists. Other countries have learned from the American experience with rail corridor preservation.
Asian and Pacific countries are also finding that trails benefit both tourism and transportation. In the upcoming Spring (Spring 2012) edition of American Trails Magazine, readers will find articles and photos of a remarkable new bicycle touring trail system in New Zealand, as well as a new and expansive greenway system for southeast China.
Americans should be proud of our contributions to world health, recreation, and conservation through our ambitious development of many concepts of trails. But we should also be eager to learn from the many ways trails are being re-invented and re-created throughout the world.
We welcome your suggestions for trails and resources to add to our international collection.
— Stuart Macdonald, Editor
Published March 19, 2012
This document is a best practices manual intended to give guidance and direction on minimizing risk and liability for persons with an interest in operating and maintaining trails. Specifically, it seeks to help trail operators, managers and owners, mitigate risk and reduce liability, that can arise from trail design, trail use and maintenance operations. The techniques discussed here are intended to be applied with prudence and due consideration of the particular circumstances of each trail.
The State of Victoria’s Guidelines for Trail Planning, Design and Management aims at “development of exceptional trail experiences. A useful feature is a trail planning and design checklist. The book also covers management models, marketing and brand- ing, community and stakeholder engagement, and monitoring and review.
Here you’ll find a menu of advocacy ideas, design concepts and walkability tools, each with links to numerous other resources. You’ll discover interesting destinations and group efforts that make walking in Edmonton interesting and fun. You’ll learn about civic initiatives that may dovetail with your interests. You’ll read success stories that prove you and your community can make a difference.
The Shannon Region Trails Programme is a Shannon Development-led initiative which aims to establish the Shannon Region as a world-class destination for walking, cycling, water-based and other outdoor activity pursuits during the period 2007-2010.