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January 2017 e-Newsletter

Advancing trails for those who build, maintain, use, and dream of trails...

  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 

Archived January 19 webinar covers creative backcountry lodging
"Huts for Hiking, Skiing, and Biking: Why, Where, and How?" was presented January 19, 2017. The presenter is Sam Demas, who has been researching this topic for many years and manages the website. The webinar covers the world-wide range of accommodations systems such as shelters, yurts, platform tents, inns, hostels, and mountain huts of every size and kind. Learn more and access archived webinar... 
See entries in photo contest for National Recreation Trails
American Trails sponsors the annual Photo Contest for National Recreation Trails to celebrate these great trails across the country. See several galleries of photos entered in this year's contest, from backcountry pathways to urban greenways. We'll sort out the winners in the coming weeks. See galleries of NRT photo contest entries...
American Trails' new Executive Director is water trails advocate
Mike Passo, new Executive Director for American Trails, begins full time work with the New Year. Among his many trail interests are kayaking and water trails. In 2008 he wrote a slightly tongue-in-cheek article that he called "Why water trails are better than land trails." But he does point out some reasons for the growth in popularity of water trails. Read Mike Passo's article on water trails...
May 7-10, 2017 ~ Dayton, Ohio
Online Symposium Registration now available!
You can now register online for the American Trails International Trails Symposium. See details of programs, process, and payment options. Discounts are available for early registration through March 17. American Trails members, sponsors/exhibitors, and Ohio residents are also offered special rates. Read more and access online registration... 
Mobile Workshops give attendees a closer look at trail projects
This Symposium is offering 26 mobile workshops for all trail user types covering new projects, problem solving, community organizing, and funding techniques for putting trails on the ground. Get inspired on some of the best trails in the Dayton and Ohio region! See Mobile Workshops listing and details...
PTBA Sustainable Trails Workshops highlight techniques
The Professional TrailBuilders Association and American Trails are proud to feature for a second Symposium the Sustainable Trails Workshop Series. These hands-on workshops focus on important skills and techniques for the sustainable design, planning, construction, and maintenance of trails for all types of users in a variety of environments. See Sustainable Trails Workshops listing and details...
Why the Dayton, Ohio area is an outdoor recreation destination
Five Rivers Metroparks is working with many regional partners and communities to expand the Dayton area's 300+ mile paved trail network. It's only one of the reasons Dayton is being called the "Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest." Download the article (667 kb)...
Check out the exhibit hall layout and save 10% as an exhibitor

Download the Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities Packet to view additional benefits, including choosing your booth location in the order the contract and payment is received (some exceptions apply) and adding a logo or name link on our Meet Our Sponsors
page. Exhibitors will be contacted starting in late January to choose their booth location.

exhibit hall layout
View the exhibit hall layout (PDF) 

Thank you to our major sponsors and honorary partners to date: 

Thank you to the additional sponsors and exhibitors to date:


From downhill ski trails to mountain bike trails reports on a Vermont town that lost its ski resort: "A town begins to fade. But resurgence is seen when a dedicated group of bikers moves in to build trails and encourage riders to try a new experience in the Northeast." Read more and see photos...

Vote moves Des Moines water trails plan forward
A much-discussed plan to improve access to greater Des Moines' creeks and rivers took a step forward when civic leaders voted to adopt the water trails plan. In the works for more than a year, the plan outlines steps to improve more than 150 miles of waterways by adding boat launches, fishing sites, and other access points. Read more and see photos...

Pennsylvania town rejects "burden" that new trail would impose
Northampton Township supervisors rejected an engineering study for their piece of the proposed Newtown Rail Trail. The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted the chairman of the supervisors who said, "I didn't want to be responsible for inflicting a substantial burden on a number of our residents." The project is a segment of the Circuit, an initiative to create 750 miles of connected trail throughout the Philadelphia region. Read more and see photos... 

The five most dangerous hikes in the United States
The Camping Canuck compiled yet another of those lists of best and worst we like so much: The five most dangerous hikes in the United States. See photos, descriptions, and the special challenges of these routes. Read more and see photos...

Celebrating National Parks, trails, and the human spirit
The National Park Service Centennial is an excellent opportunity for us all to take a great deal of pride in the work that the trails community has accomplished in the last century. Read more and see photos...
Featured National Recreation Trail: Tunnel Hill State Trail, Illinois
The Tunnel Hill Trail follows a historic 45-mile route from dow ntown Harrisburg to Karmak in southern Illinois. The route was p art of a railroad founded in 1872 by Civil War General Ambrose Burnside. Much of the historic infrastructure is still used, including 23 trestles and the 543-foot long tunnel from which the trail gains its name. Read more and see photos...

Featured Recreational Trails Program-funded project: Ash to Kings Trail, Nevada
A new trail close to Carson City, NV made successful use of watershed conservation lands. The non-profit "Citizens for a Walkable and Bikeable Carson City" adopted the project and led an effort to build a multi-use trail with the help of RTP funds, Nevada Conservation Corps, and volunteers. Read more and see photos...
Hiking in South Africa: A dozen great trails
"Getaway" highlights a dozen trail trips in South Africa with photos and detailed trip reports. Tips on camping and shelter accommodation's, and the interesting challenges of trekking in the African outback are included. Read more and see photos...

Adelaide walking trails: Belair National Park
A trip report on this South Australian trail includes lots of photos of typical Australian eucalyptus forest. Belair National Park was set aside in 1840 and is dedicated to the preservation of native flora and fauna. The 13-km loop trail is just outside the city of Adelaide. Read more and see photos...

New Zealand plans "clip-on cycle lane" for highway bridge
The New Zealand Transport Agency has announced they will fund a clip-on cycle lane for the Piako River highway bridge. The 250-meter lightweight steel and timber structure will provide a key link in the 82-km Hauraki Rail Trail. Read more and see map...

Archived webinar: "Leveraging Public-Private Funding for Trails"

A recent webinar is available as a free recorded presentation from American Trails. "Powerful Partnerships: Lessons Learned on Leveraging Public-Private Funding for Trails" covers innovative funding strategies for water and land trails with two case studies of strong public-private partnerships. Read more and access archived webinar...

Economic Impact Analysis of Orange County Trails, Florida
This project studies the Little Econ Greenway, West Orange, and Cady Way Trails in Orange County and Winter Garden, Florida. The survey shows trail users average $20 per visit in expenditures. With 1.7 million visitors each year the trail system supported 516 jobs and had an estimated positive economic impact of $42.6 million. Download 101-page study (pdf 5.8 mb)...

Report on technology for counting bicyclists and pedestrians
The Federal Highway Administration conducted a one-year Bicycle-Pedestrian Count Technology Pilot Project to study effective bicycle and pedestrian count programs. The final report on ten MPOs across the country highlights their experiences with identifying count locations; selecting and installing count technology; and collecting and using the count data. Download the Bicycle-Pedestrian Count report (pdf 6.2 mb)... 

Best Practices photo gallery: Retaining structures along trails
Retaining walls are an essential feature of many urban trails. Stream corridors in particular have sharp changes in topography while planners try to keep trails out of the seasonal floodway. Highway corridors often have similar constraints and narrow rights of way. Endless varieties of materials have been used to shore up trails, with concrete and stone being common solutions. Read more and view photos in the Cool Trail Solutions photo gallery...

Trail training opportunities for 2017

Current training opportunities for trail skills across the country. See the Online Trails Training Calendar for details...

February 12-15 - Washington, DC
* The Corps Network National Conference
February 12-15 - Washington, DC
* Hike the Hill
February 25 - Princeton, NJ
* New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit
March 6-9 - Washington, DC
* National Bike Summit
March 12-18 - Bend, OR
* PTBA Sustainable Trails Conference
March 14 - Ogden, UT
* Utah Bike Summit
March 20-21 - Portland, OR
* Oregon Active Transportation Summit
March 24-26 - Nauvoo, AL
* Alabama Hiking Society Trail Conference
April 19-21 - Monterey, CA
* California Trails and Greenways Conference
April 20-22 - Columbus, GA
* Georgia Trail Summit

Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at .


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Trail Tracks is our monthly e-Newsletter with links to one of the world's most comprehensive online resources for planning, designing, building, funding, managing, and enhancing trails, greenways, and blueways. We also bring you news from the halls of Congress, new studies and resources, interesting articles, events, training opportunities, and the latest in trail products and services. Check out the topics above for what's new in the trails world!

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Header photo: Hidden Hollow Park, Salt Lake City; photo by Stuart Macdonald