National and International Trails Awards

24th International Trails Symposium and Training Institute

American Trails presents the National and International Trails Awards Program to recognize the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, and other leaders who are working for the betterment of trails both nationally and internationally in both rural and urban settings.

Reese Lukei, Jr. was presented the Hulet Hornbeck Lifetime Service Award at the 2017 awards ceremony in Dayton, Ohio

Information You Need To Know Before Submitting a Nomination

  • Categories are open to both national and international nominations (read the individual category descriptions for complete details as some exceptions apply)
  • One nomination per category, per online submission.
  • Except for the Hulet Hornbeck Lifetime Service Award, all efforts eligible for recognition must have occurred between August 1, 2016 to August 31, 2018. The description must show that the nomination falls within this time period.
  • Some awards are intended to recognize an individual, while others may recognize a project, team, or company. Please read the descriptions carefully and nominate accordingly.
  • Self-nominations are accepted.
  • The American Trails Board shall have sole responsibility for determination of award recipients.
  • The Lifetime Service Award winner will be recognized at the Opening Keynote Luncheon on Monday, April 29, 2019. State Award winners will be recognized at the Closing Luncheon on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. All other awards will be recognized at the Main Awards Ceremony on Monday morning, April 29, 2019.

The deadline for nominations has passed.

All award winners will be announced at the 24th International Trails Symposium.

Award Categories

Hulet Hornbeck Lifetime Service

This award recognizes and honors an individual demonstrating longstanding, significant, and exemplary service to the trails movement. Their contribution should be national in scope and submissions should describe accomplishments which have achieved lasting impact for trails. Supporting documentation and affirmations are encouraged.

See past winners of this award (2013-17 and earlier).

Trails and the Arts

This award recognizes the integration of art with the trail experience including outstanding public art works, interpretive signs, or other creative structures, sounds or even smells associated with trail related enhancement. See past winners of this award.

2017 Trail Accessibility Award Winner, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

2017 Trail Accessibility Award Winner, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Trail Accessibility

This award recognizes a trail or trail system that demonstrates excellent integration of accessibility characteristics into its design and construction. Trails must comply with the new Federal guidelines for recreation trails and provide universal design for people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities. See past winners of this award.

Trail Partnership

The partnership must consist of two or more entities and must have benefited agencies or services within the field of trail planning, design, or implementation. The partnership must have contributed toward positive public exposure for trails. The partnership can be between organizations, agencies, corporations, or public and private interests. See past winners of this award.

International Partnership

This award recognizes unique and outstanding collaboration between trail partners spanning international borders. It can be focused on a specific trail project or can reflect a broader joint approach that contributed to or catalyzed a positive outcome in trail planning, design, implementation, or promotion. The partnership can be between or among private organizations, regional and local agencies, national governments, or any mixture of participating parties. See past winners of this award.

Trail Planning/Design (Two Levels)

This award recognizes an extraordinary trail project which demonstrates innovative planning and design techniques while making a positive contribution to the community it serves. Submissions should describe special features of the trail(s), greenway(s), or blueway(s), with an emphasis on unique solutions to design challenges as well as explain the trail’s positive impact.

(Your application should indicate which level applies to your project.)

2017 Trail Planning & Design Award, Level One Winner, City of San Jose and Callander Associates

2017 Trail Planning & Design Award, Level One Winner, City of San Jose and Callander Associates

Trail Promotion and Education

This award recognizes innovative and successful strategies for promoting and increasing trail use and understanding. Unique signage, fun trail events, outreach to schools/elders/veterans/etc., creative use of media, modal training, storyboards, specialized apps, etc. are but a few of the imaginative ways being used to engage and broaden the community of trail users. See past winners of this award.

Trails for Health

This award recognizes a community’s commitment to incorporating trails into their overall public-health-improvement plans by facilitating access, promoting use, and broadly communicating the importance of physical activity to good health. The award highlights the effectiveness of including trails in community design as a strategy for increasing citizen activity level and consequent good health. See past winners of this award.

State Awards: Outstanding Trail Leaders

These awards will recognize individuals who have made compelling and significant contributions to the trails movement in their home states. Any area of trail excellence or achievement – advocating, designing, building, using, maintaining, promoting, decorating, adapting technologies for trail use, etc. – could be grounds for receiving this honor. Open to US nominations only. Only one award per State will be made. See past winners of this award.

Contact Kayla Robinson, Awards Coordinator, at or (530) 605-4395 with any award questions.

Also See

Browse the National and International Trails award winners since 2000.