National Recreation Trails: Designating Your Trail for NRT Status

Discover the benefits to designating your trail(s) as an NRT, the history of the National Recreation Trails (NRT) program, the process for trails to become NRTs, and more.

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Event Details

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June 15, 2023

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

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


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
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Webinar Outline

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

Attendees will also hear from a current designated NRT manager who has five NRTs including a recent designation managed by Moab BLM:

  • Slickrock Trail-originally designed and marked by motorcyclists, it became adopted by mountain bikers and helped fuel the mountain bike boom that hit Moab in the mid-1990's (approximately 100K users per year)
  • Fisher Towers Trail-a 2.5-mile hiking only trail accessing the base of its namesake, one of the most photographed venues in North America; also utilized by climbers (approximately 25K users per year)
  • Corona Arch Trail-2-mile hike only trail accessing one of the largest arches in North America (approximately 80K users per year)
  • Grandstaff Canyon Trail-2.25-mile hike only trail along a perennial stream and terminating at Morning Glory Natural Bridge, one of the longest spans in North American (approximately 60K visitors per year)
  • Bar M Trail System-a 32-mile stacked loop system primarily for mountain biking, but open to and used by hikers as well; Moab's first (of many) large scale mountain bike trail systems resulting from decisions in Moab BLM's 2008 management plan revision (approximately 40K visitors per year)

The NRT manager will provide a brief overview of their office's recreation program, the five trails outlined above, and a more detailed discussion of their newest NRT, Bar M.

Check out the webinar on designating your water trail that will dive in deeper on the process for trails to become National Water Trails (NWT), which are a subset of the National Recreation Trails.

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).

Questions & Answers

Webinar Resources

  • National Recreation Trails: Designating Your Trail for NRT Status (pdf)
  • About the NRT program
  • How to apply for NRT designation (deadline November 1 every year)
  • NRT Application
  • Find your State Trail Administrator (STA)
  • NRT program contacts
  • Find current designated NRTs (NRT database)
  • Explore featured NRTs
  • NRT photo contest (deadline December 15 every year)
  • NRT Signs (free plastic and low cost metal)
  • Moab Field Office
  • Moab Utah's Office Vacation Planning Website
  • BLM Utah Klonzo and Moab Brands Map (Avenza Map)
  • July 6, 2023 Webinar: National Water Trails: Designating Your Trail for NWT Status

    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.


    Andy Welsh, Assistant National Trail Program Manager, USDA Forest Service
    Pinecrest, CA

    Andy is on a temporary assignment to the USFS Washington Office as the Assistant National Trail Program Manager. Andy normally serves as a Deputy District Ranger for the Stanislaus National Forest in California on the Mi-Wok/Summit Ranger District. He previously held recreation positions with the BLM and USFS working as a crew lead, IDT lead, project planner, and project manager on trail and wilderness projects in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Alaska. Andy has a B.S. in Outdoor Education from the University of New Hampshire and a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Systems from Penn State.


    Bill Stevens, Outdoor Recreation Planner/Economist, Bureau of Land Management
    Moab, Utah

    Bill is an Outdoor Recreation Planner with the BLM's Moab Field Office, where he has worked for approximately 25 years. Prior to that, he was a Professor of Accounting at DePaul University in Chicago for two decades before his wife and him decided to move out West and try something new.

    Because of Bill’s academic background, he also assists the BLM with economic analysis projects and has done so over the past 15+ years.


    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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    2,399 views • posted 05/19/2023