Trail Ambassador Programs: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices (Part 2 of 2)

Best practices from some of the best trail ambassador programs across the nation, representing a variety of trail user types, to offer sage advice for starting programs for your trail.

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Event Details

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January 27, 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


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Webinar Outline

Trail ambassador programs can be a boon to any trail or trail system. They build local engagement, help identify and solve deferred maintenance issues, and turn casual users into lifelong advocates. We've gathered together leaders of some of the best ambassador programs across the nation, representing a variety of trail user types, to share best practices and offer sage advice for starting programs for your trail. We have made this a two-part webinar series to showcase great examples and resources that will focus on providing ample time for answering your most burning questions.

Join us for Part 1 in October 2021 (or view the recording). Don't miss this opportunity to engage your most ardent supporters in meaningful ways.

Below are prime examples of the ambassador programs you will learn more about on the webinar:

Trailkeepers of Oregon Trail Ambassador Program (Oregon)

Trailkeepers of Oregon's Trail Ambassador program currently serves hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge, the Mt. Hood National Forest and is growing to serve the Oregon coast as well. Started in 2018 in response to a need for up-to-date public information after the Eagle Creek Fire closed hundreds of miles of trails in the Gorge, the program has grown and widened its focus to make trails in Oregon a welcoming and safe place for all people to connect with nature. The program has worked with over 150 volunteers over the last 4 years and is building an innovative network approach to share the love by being a hub for resources that help other organizations in Oregon meet their need for similar programming.

NOHVIS Group Trail Ambassador Program (Wisconsin)

The NOHVIS Group trail ambassador program is a proven success in Wisconsin as it increases participation in off-highway motorized vehicle clubs, establishes a presence of volunteers on the trails, helps increase safety for other users and engages a positive image in community events. Trail ambassadors undergo online classroom training with hands-on field day training. We work closely with local, state and federal land managers and law enforcement agencies to provide a positive image for our sport.

Back Country Horsemen of America Trail Ambassadors/Trail Adopters (National)

The Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA) was formed in 1973 and is now a nationwide service organization with 11,000 members in 32 states including 205 chapters. The primary reason for forming BCHA was the possibility of losing our traditional right to use recreational stock in the back country. One key mission is on “Keeping Trails Open For All” — with a focus on non-motorized trails. The sustainment of our access to the National Trail System is a related co-mission. We are advocates for “Maintaining Public Lands in Public Hands.” Over the last 47 years, BCHA has done maintenance, preservation and construction on trails, trailheads, and other projects — in the forests, parks, and wilderness — valued at over $150 million. BCHA tries to be an effective, helpful volunteer group to assist and support land managers as well as public officials, lawmakers, and legislators. Back Country Horsemen of Arizona has an interesting partnership with the Tonto National Forest wherein they maintain and monitor 16 hiker/horse trails on the forest. The presenter will speak briefly on their trail adopters/ambassadors on lessons learned and where that partnership has gone.

DC Trail Ranger Program

Funded by the local transportation department (DDOT), the DC Trail Ranger program is part of the District’s effort to have a world-class trails network to support current and future trail users. DC Trail Rangers is a professional outreach and maintenance trails team that works on the 30+ miles of paved, multi-use trails in the District of Columbia. From 2013 to 2021, the program was seasonal with primarily one-season employees, and 2022 is the first year of full-time, living wage, year-round funding for eight staff members. The program aims to make District trails welcoming and inclusive to all residents, frequently used and in a state of good repair. The program operates from the principle that identity, neighborhoods, lived experience and other factors shape everyone’s experience with trails. Field staff remove trails debris, run events, talk to trail users, report maintenance issues and coordinate with many agencies and community partners.

American Trails National Recreation Trails Ambassador Program (National)

The National Recreation Trail (NRT) Ambassador Program is a nationwide effort, led by American Trails, to enlist volunteers for stewardship, collaboration, and information gathering on the over 1,300 NRTs across America. The NRT program was created in 1968 and over the years many previously designated NRTs have stopped being active in the program. Our volunteer ambassadors are helping to get updated information on these trails for the NRT database, including updated photos, centerline data, and signage for each trail.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn successful strategies for creating your own ambassador program
  • Understand processes for individual ambassador programs in small and large settings
  • Understand processes for individual ambassador programs of different trail types


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

Webinar Resources

Trailkeepers or Oregon (TKO)

NOHVIS Group, Inc.

Washington Area Bicycle Coalition

Back Country Horsemen

American Trails


Webinar Partners


Natalie Ferraro, Engagement Manager, Trailkeepers of Oregon
Portland, Oregon

A lifelong Cascadian, Natalie grew up hiking, camping, and climbing trees in Southwest Washington. She earned her degree in Environmental Science from Washington State University and has worked in outdoor recreation and education since 2012. Natalie joined Trailkeepers of Oregon as a staff person in 2018. In addition to helping out with all of TKO’s volunteer and fundraising programs, she also manages the Trail Ambassador Network.


Adam Harden, Deputy Administrator, Ambassador Program, NOHVIS
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Adam Harden is the Deputy Administrator for the trail ambassador program. He has served for nearly 20 years as a volunteer firefighter as well as a volunteer drone team member for the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office. He brings the tools, structure and mindset of leadership within the fire service to the trail ambassador program. Adam grew up enjoying many forms of off-highway motorized recreation including three wheelers, four wheelers and off-highway motorcycles. He is a former ATV Safety Institute safety instructor and a current instructor for the trail ambassador program and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ATV Safety program. He also enjoys street legal motorcycle rides within his community. Adam is currently the Vice Chair of the Governor appointed Off-Road Vehicle Council for the State of Wisconsin. His duties include reviewing and suggesting the funding of grants for trail projects to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Adam has a wife and two daughters that love hitting the trails together.


Randy Harden, Program Administrator, Ambassador Program, NOHVIS
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Randy Harden is the program administrator for the trail ambassador program, as well as the president of the Wisconsin ATV / UTV Association. Randy has always been involved with off-highway vehicles going back to the 60's. During the 1980's, Randy became involved with the conservation efforts and safety education when his children became interested in following in his footsteps. Randy became the president of the then Wisconsin ATV Association in the 90's where he helped grow the ATV program in Wisconsin. Randy has helped start many local chapter ATV clubs throughout Wisconsin. He also is a former ATV Safety Institute Safety Instructor and a current Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources safety instructor for the ATV safety program. Randy sits on the Wisconsin State Trails Council, which works on common issues with various trail user groups in Wisconsin.


Steve McClintock, National Director for Arizona, Back Country Horsemen of America
Mesa, Arizona

Steve McClintock is one of two the National Directors for AZ on the BCHA National Board. He was President of the East Valley BCH Chapter in Apache Junction (East Mesa), AZ from 2015-2021. He is also Chairman of the BCHA Legacy Fund — an endowment like fund. He worked for Citibank N.A, New York in their International Group for 37 years and lived overseas for 28 years in 6 different countries. His horse is Ranger, a Tennessee Walking Horse, and a darn good trail horse.


Ursula Sandstrom, Trail Ranger and Outreach Director, Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)
Washington, DC

Ursula Sandstrom is the Trail Ranger and Outreach Director at Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) in the DC area. She was part of the original part-time Trail Ranger team in the inaugural 2013 season after she applied for an outside summer job to get away from desk work after college. She worked as a field bike technician for Capital Bikeshare in 2014 and was a lead union organizer in their successful bid to join the TWU Local 100 shop. She returned to coordinate the Trail Ranger program in 2015, and developed it into the year-round, robust and mindful program that it is today.


Taylor Goodrich, Communication and Media Specialist, American Trails
Dallas, Texas

Taylor Goodrich started with American Trails in January 2018 as Communication and Media Specialist. Taylor has worked with the National Recreation Trail (NRT) Ambassadors since the beginning of the program and has helped shape the program to where it is today. Taylor currently lives in Dallas, Texas, which is also where she grew up and where she attended the University of North Texas receiving her degree in History. While in college she started doing freelance work editing and writing, and also got into graphic design and discovered she loves the creativity and craft of digital arts. After college she traveled quite a bit, and lived in both the Pacific Northwest and in New Mexico, and while in both of those places took full advantage of what the outdoors had to offer. After moving back to Texas she started moving towards doing graphic design, social media, and communications work full time, and she has contracted with several companies from tech startups, to music festivals, to law firms, to grow their social media and digital communications presence. Taylor loves hiking and kayaking especially, and is glad to be working with an organization that fights for further accessibility and stewardship of our nation’s trails. She feels very lucky that in this position she will be able to use her professional skills and passion for something she is also very personally passionate about, and in helping to grow American Trails.


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6,327 views • posted 05/25/2021