Managing Winter Trails: Increasing Opportunities and Adapting to Climate Change

This webinar is in partnership with the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP).

The webinar will be centered around groomed winter trails for XC skiers, but will also address the importance of providing opportunities for snowshoeing, fatbiking, winter hiking, and winter trail running.

Presented by:

Event Details

November 15, 2018

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)

** This event has passed **


$19 for members (Trail Professional level or higher)
$39 for nonmembers

Purchase a recording


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
Learning Credits
are available for this webinar.

Webinar Partners


Webinar Outline

At the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, the US brought home its first-ever gold medal in cross country skiing. A huge milestone in the sport, and now with a new inspired generation of cross country skiers, how can we get them and keep them on the snow? How do we create equity in opportunity for those with barriers to access winter trails? Non-motorized winter trail networks exist throughout the US, and we will take the opportunity to gather the tribe of winter trail specialists for this particular webinar, feature a few expert panelists from different parts of the US, and invite a robust discussion. The content will touch on the universal issues of adapting to climate change and building resiliency in operations, but also consider specific geographic factors such as snow type and regional winter recreation culture. Underlying all of the tactical discussion, we will frame the discussion in the bigger picture of land conservation and stewardship. This webinar is designed for the entire tribe of winter trails professionals, stewards, and program providers of all levels of expertise from novice to expert. The discussion will be centered around groomed winter trails for XC skiers, but will also address the importance of providing opportunities for snowshoeing, fatbiking, winter hiking, and winter trail running.

Learning Objectives

  • Apply various adaptations for climate change in management of non-motorized winter trails, and access resources specific to these adaptations
  • Identify challenges and create solutions to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion for winter trails
  • Better plan for and manage non-motorized winter multi-use trails, inclusive of XC skiing, snowshoeing, fatbiking, winter hiking, winter trail running
  • Understand the array of partnerships in place across the country in support of winter trail systems
  • Diversify programs to add resiliency to operating plans for winter trail systems
  • Explore best practices and unique case studies in winter trail stewardship and land conservation
  • Access additional networking opportunities for peer-to-peer learning post webinar


Laurel Harkness, Executive Director, Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals

As the Executive Director of the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP), Laurel works to further their mission to promote, advance, and serve outdoor recreation professionals in research, planning, management, and policy development.

Laurel has spent the last 25 years working in the field of outdoor recreation, as a guide, advocate, appointed leader, and nonprofit professional. Prior to joining SORP, Laurel was the California Region Director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), working to cultivate strong stewardship partnerships and policies to provide more trails access throughout the state. Before that, Laurel was the first Executive Director for Mt. Shasta Nordic and held the same role with winter backcountry advocacy organization, Snowlands Network.

She holds a degree in Soil & Water Science from UC Davis. Laurel has spent the last 15 years in Mt. Shasta, California, where she and her two teenage kids enjoy access to a network of groomed community winter trails, a locally owned ski area, and world class winter backcountry.



Hansi Johnson, Director of Recreational Lands, Minnesota Land Trust

As Director of Recreational Lands, Hansi Johnson focuses on assisting the City of Duluth in identifying, securing and promoting its nature-based recreational assets. In addition, he works with other Land Trust staff to develop strategies to expand this work to other communities in Minnesota.

Prior to joining the Land Trust, Hansi was the Regional Director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), helping volunteer clubs such as the Duluth-based Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) work within their communities to create destination quality, sustainable, off road cycling trail experiences. He also spent 12 years in sales and marketing for such companies as Patagonia, Wenonah Canoe and Garmont USA.



Lori Hauswirth, Executive Director, Noquemanon Trail Network

Lori Hauswirth serves as the Executive Director of the Noquemanon Trail Network in her hometown of Marquette, Michigan that boast over 75 miles of singletrack connecting to the City and one of the best destinations for winter fat biking in the country. Her background includes over 20 years of experience in trail advocacy, nonprofit, and community development work. She previously served 6 years as Executive Director of the Copper Harbor Trails Club/Associate Region Director with the International Mountain Bicycling Association and 17 years as a planner for the Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region. Lori holds a bachelor’s degree in Land Use Planning & Management from Northern Michigan University, is a Level 2 BICP Mountain Bike Instructor and has served her local trail organizations in every capacity from digging trail as a volunteer to directing multi-day events.



Gabe Perkins, Executive Director

Gabriel Perkins is at least a fifth-generation resident of Bethel, ME. Since 2014, he has served as the Executive Director of Mahoosuc Pathways, a trail building and conservation organization. Gabe holds a degree in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Maine at Farmington and is a member of the American Association of Geographers. He is a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program and on the steering committee for the Maine Outdoor Coalition. Gabe has received a Special Recognition Award and the Bethel Area Nonprofit Leadership Award from the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce for his work with Mahoosuc Pathways projects, including the revival of a cross-country ski center called Bethel Village Trails. He lives in Bethel, with his wife Jessie, where they patiently renovate his grandparents home with a little assistance from their pets, Champ, and Indiana Jones.



Webinar Resources

Winter Wildlands Alliance - SnowSchool

Headwaters Economics: Socioeconomic Data

This Winter in Journals, Part One: Climate Change Adaptation and the Ski Industry

Adaptation of cross-country skiing behavior to changing climate

The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Recreation in Vermont

Climate Change sensitivity and adaptation of cross-country skiing in Northern Europe

501(c)(3) Hospitals - Community Health Needs Assessment


Matt Kriese asks: Can you discuss shared use winter trails on the same groomed deck (i.e. fat bike and XC ski)? The good, bad and ugly.

Answer: Yes, compatible. In fact, snowshoe use is encouraged as it helps maintain the quality of the trail.

Charles Fothergill asks: Is snowshoeing compatible with groomed fat tire biking?

Answer: Yes, compatible. in fact, snowshoe use is encouraged as it helps maintain the quality of the trail.

Charles Fothergill asks: Are you grooming dirt trails for fat tire biking or are they just snow trails?

Answer: Some dirt trails are being maintained to accommodate a 4' wide snowbike groomer. Some trails on not used in both seasons.

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:

  • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES)
  • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
  • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition

Learning credits are included in the registration fee. Free webinars require a $15 fee for learning credits.

Our webinars earn the following credits: AICP (1.5 CM), LA CES (1.5 PDH), and NRPA CEU equivalency petition (0.10).