How to Create an Instant Urban Trail

Hear the story of how a trail was created by a small group in a year-and-a-half for $600 and learn the trail components incorporated to make the trail so popular.

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Event Details

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July 09, 2020

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
are available for this webinar.

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Webinar Outline

The California Trails and Greenways webinar series is offered in coordination with California State Parks and the California Trails Conference Foundation, with content selected from the California Trails and Greenways 2020 program.

The webinar series is offered FREE to the trails community THANKS TO the generous support of:

About this webinar:

A small group of San Francisco trail activists and naturalists gathered together in the Fall of 2018; a year-and-a-half and $600 later, the San Francisco Crosstown Trail (SFCT) was born. Connecting a variety of neighborhoods with nearby local, state and federal open spaces, the SFCT, with its seventeen-mile tread of both dirt and pavement, stretches across San Francisco from the SF Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Since its inception on National Trails Day in 2019, the trail has attracted a vast number of enthusiastic users.

In this webinar, members of the San Francisco Crosstown Trail Coalition will tell the story of how they accomplished such a feat and the trail components they incorporated to make the trail so popular. In doing so, they hope that other trail activists and naturalists across the country will be inspired to do something similar in their own cities.

CEUs are FREE for this webinar.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how a small group of trail activists was able to quickly and inexpensively establish a new trail across a major American city.
  • Become knowledgeable of the high-quality components necessary to create a successful urban trail.
  • Be inspired to consider creating a similar trial in your urban community.


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


Webinar Partners


Bob Siegel, Chair, San Francisco Crosstown Trail Coalition

An avid hiker, backpacker, and bicyclist since his teenage years, Bob, after retiring in 2003 from a teaching career at City College of San Francisco, has been volunteering in citizen science and trail building activities. In 2018, he formed the committee which led to the creation of the SF Crosstown Trail. Bob serves as a board member of both the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and Sutro Stewards, performs scientific surveys for Beach Watch, monitors harbor seals for the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, and leads hikes for several organizations.


Matthew Blain, Chair, SF Urban Riders

Matthew Blain grew up hiking and riding bikes in Philadelphia and has been interested in bicycle and trail issues in the decades and cities since then. In 2008 he moved to San Francisco and became more involved both in Mountain Biking and bike advocacy, becoming chair of the local MTB group SF Urban Riders in 2015. In addition, he is part of the SF Crosstown Trail Coalition, the Bay Area Ridge Trail SF Trail Advocacy Group, and the board of the new California Mountain Biking Coalition.


Ben Pease, Cartographer, Pease Press Cartography

Ben Pease is a freelance cartographer who specializes in maps for authors, park agencies and hiking guidebooks. His Pease Press maps show San Francisco Bay Area parks, neighborhoods, and transit connections in detail. He drew the downloadable maps and elevation profiles for the Crosstown Trail website. Originally from Boston, he’s lived in San Francisco since 1976. An avid hiker, he helped plan the Bay Area Ridge Trail route through San Francisco in the 1990s, he’s co-led the annual San Francisco Coastwalk since 1988, and volunteers building trails with Sutro Stewards.


Amber Hasselbring, Executive Director, Nature in the City

Amber is the Executive Director of the San Francisco based nonprofit, Nature in the City, and provides leadership and guidance for its projects, staff, advisory council, and strategy. Amber has served Nature in the City as an advisory council member since 2006, and she has helped to shepherd projects such as the Green Hairstreak Corridor, the Green Connections Plan, and Tigers on Market Street.

Amber is an artist, naturalist, educator, and garden designer. As founder of Wild SF Gardening, she designs and maintains gardens for private Bay Area clients. Her artwork includes Art on BART, the Angel Island Art & Ecology Festival, the Mission Greenbelt Project, Tigers on Market Street, and she has exhibited her work in San Francisco, Chicago, and Kansas City. In 2017, Sierra Club’s The People’s Power List featured Amber and other activists across the US.


Amy Kaeser, Conservation Project Manager, San Mateo Resource Conservation District

Amy Kaeser grew up exploring her backyard in the Pacific Northwest, eventually graduating to hiking and backpacking in the Cascades and Olympic Mountains. In the Bay Area, Amy has worked on efforts to restore fish migration, create pollinator and wildlife habitat, build trails, and connect people to nature through stewardship. As a hiker and naturalist living in San Francisco, Amy enjoys finding new routes, escapes, and unlikely nature right in the city, a perfect connection to the Crosstown Trail.


Zahra Kelly, Advisory Council Member, Nature in the City

Zahra is a Zero Waste Specialist at Recology, San Francisco working towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by implementing the best waste reduction practices. She loves all aspects of composting and the resulting multi-layer benefits that create healthy soil. As former Advocacy and Project Manager and now Advisory Council member with Nature in the City, Zahra is fully committed to conserving our natural resources and enhancing native habitats. Zahra has a diverse and broad background in environmental management, economics, policy, and public community advocacy. As a member of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority Advisory Committee, she works to spark and facilitate in-depth conversations about open space preservation and improving accessibility to the wild lands and watersheds of San Francisco. Zahra lives in San Francisco and loves to share the magic of nature in the city with everyone, in all walks of life.


Thomas Namara, Southeast Area Manager, Parks & Place, San Francisco Parks Alliance

As a San Francisco native, Thomas is passionate about city and regional planning, including transportation, economic and community development, design, and environmental planning. He believes we should reinvest in our public institutions, and our foundational urban systems — housing, transport, public space, health care, food, water, etc. These systems, and how to expand, maintain, and deliver them across socioeconomic boundaries are imperative to the long-range success and sustainability of our communities here in San Francisco, and across the country.


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 PDH) (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 Symposium, as well as for other conferences, webinars, and workshops we offer credits for. Learn more here.


While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff. Unless specific situations are noted by presenters, nothing in American Trails webinars should be considered to be interpreted as a standard.

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3,386 views • posted 05/20/2020