Fundamentals of National Recreation Trails

Learn about the benefits to designating your trail(s) as a National Recreation Trail (NRT), the history of NRTs, the process for trails to become NRTs, and more.

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Event Details

** This event has passed **

June 30, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
Learning Credits
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Webinar Outline

This webinar is an introduction to National Recreation Trails* (NRTs), including National Water Trails (a subset of the NRTs). You will learn the benefits to designating your trail(s) as an NRT, the history of the NRTs, the process for trails to become NRTs, hear from a current designated NRT volunteer, and more.

The deadline for applications each year is November 1.

*The National Trails System Act of 1968 authorized creation of a national system of trails comprised of National Recreation Trails, National Scenic Trails, and National Historic Trails.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how to navigate the NRT application process
  • Understand the benefits to being a designated NRT
  • Understand the roles of the partners involved


This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).

Webinar Resources

  • NRT PowerPoint Presentation (pdf)
  • About the NRT program
  • How to apply for NRT designation (deadline November 1 every year)
  • Benefits of NRT designation
  • Find your State Trail Administrator (STA)
  • NRT program contacts
  • Find current designated NRTs (NRT database)
  • Explore featured NRTs
  • Become an NRT Ambassador
  • NRT photo contest (deadline December 15 every year)
  • NRT Signs (free plastic and low cost metal)
  • Plum Island Outdoors, Inc. Website
  • Designated NRTs

    Trail Signage Program for NRTs (Smart Outdoor partnership with American Trails)

  • July 7, 2022 Webinar: National Water Trails: The Why and How of Designating Your Water Trail

    Webinar Partners


    Peter Bonsall, National Trails Program Specialist, National Park Service
    Lakewood, Colorado

    Peter Bonsall is the National Trails Program Specialist for the National Park Service. He provides technical assistance to the National Scenic and Historic Trails and coordinates the National Recreation Trail program for the Department of the Interior.


    Matt Able, Assistant National Trail Program Manager, USDA Forest Service
    Winchester, KY

    Matt Able is the acting Assistant National Trail Program Manager for the Washington office. He has been the Trails and Dispersed Recreation Program Manager for the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky since 2015. He’s also represented Region 8 for the Trails Advisory Group (TAG) since it was formed and is currently the TAG Chair. Matt has broad trail experience starting as a seasonal trail crew member for municipalities in Indiana and Oregon before spending a season with the Bureau of Land Management in Prineville, OR. Matt started his Forest Service career on the Deschutes National Forest in 2010 working on both OHV and non-motorized trails. Matt has specialized experience in sustainable trail layout and design, griphoist, rigging, and rock work.


    Mike Passo, Executive Director, American Trails
    Marshfield, Wisconsin

    Mike Passo is the Executive Director of American Trails. Mike has also served as the Executive Director of the Professional Trailbuilders Association and the owner and operator of a sea kayak outfitter called Elakah Expeditions. Mike has led groups of all backgrounds, ages and abilities on sea kayak expeditions in the San Juan Islands of Washington, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, and in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Mike has conducted an extensive study of outdoor developed areas nationwide to determine the cost implications of construction according to proposed Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and a Congressional study on improving access to outdoor recreational activities on federal land. He has a B.S. in Recreation Resource Management from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, including three years’ coursework in Landscape Architecture and Civil Engineering. He has presented on Universal Design and Programming at several national conferences and served on the Board of Directors of American Trails since 2000. His love of the outdoors and his own paraplegia has given him a great interest in the creation of an accessible outdoor environment that does not ruin the characteristics and value of that environment.


    Andy Griffith, Founder, Plum Island Outdoors, Inc.
    Plum Outdoors

    Andy Griffith is the founder of Plum Island Outdoors. He is a volunteer at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge which manages the Hellcat Boardwalk Trail, a National Recreation Trail. Andy is a lifetime member of the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. He was a board member of the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge from 2011 until 2015, serving as Secretary (Clerk), Treasurer, Vice President, Webmaster, and Social Media Director. Basically, he kept the organization going. Andy graduated from Friends Academy 8, a week-long residential course run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for selected board members of Friends of National Wildlife Refuges. Topics covered forming 501(c)(3) Certified Nonprofit Organizations, Board Development, working with a Government Organization, and Fundraising strategies. Mr. Griffith implements Websites for several nonprofits in addition to running their Social Media.


    Closed Captioning

    We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

    Learning Credits and CEUs

    American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

    • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
    • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) (most HSW approved)
    • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
    • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

    Learning credits are free for attendees for American Trails webinars and the International Trails Summit, as well as for other trail and outdoor recreation-related conferences, webinars, and workshops we offer credits for. Learn more here.



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    4,798 views • posted 06/10/2022