Understanding the National Recreation Trails (NRT) Program

Learn about 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, the role of NRT Ambassadors, and more.

Presented by:

Event Details

** This event has passed **

June 10, 2021

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

This webinar is an introduction to the National Recreation Trails (NRT) Program (trails that are a part of the National Trails System*), including the National Water Trails (a subset of the NRT program). You will learn the benefits to designating your trail(s) as an NRT (deadline for applications is November 1 of each year), the history of the NRT program, the process for trails to become NRTs, the role of NRT Ambassadors, and more.

NEW: Check out the 10 newly designated NRTs for 2021!

*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


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.


Brenda Yankoviak, National Trail Program Manager, Washington Office – Recreation, Heritage, & Volunteer Resources, USDA Forest Service
Lakewood, CO

Brenda serves as the National Trail Program Manager for the US Forest Service, based out of Lakewood, CO. She has over 20 years of experience working for the Forest Service in recreation and trail program management. She has been fortunate to have experience working at all levels of the agency, from the field to the national level, and in the beautiful states of Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Colorado. Brenda holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from James Madison University and a master’s degree from the University of Montana-Missoula in recreation resource management. She is an avid outdoors person who enjoys most every form of recreation, especially when joined in activities by her husband and two daughters.


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.


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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4,792 views • posted 05/18/2021