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October 2016 e-Newsletter

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

  whatshotWHAT'S HOT 

Nov. 3 webinar: Make the most of your NRT designation
"Current National Recreation/Water Trails: Make the Most of Your Designation!" will be presented November 3, 2016. This webinar is FREE to current NRT and NWT managers, as well as State Trail Administrators, thanks to a partnership with the National Park Service. It will showcase how current National Recreation and Water Trails have used this designation to promote their trails along with ideas to highlight your own project. Learn more and REGISTER for this webinar... 
Nov. 17 webinar covers the latest trends in trails and greenways
This webinar, "Trails and Greenways: What's Next?" is FREE to everyone, thanks to a partnership with the National Park Service. New challenges and opportunities are emerging in the trails communities, including: how to promote broader, routine engagement in walking and other trails activities to promote fitness; how to pursue greater resiliency in the face of the impacts of climate change; and how to preserve and protect precious landscapes in the face of growing urbanization. Three seasoned experts will present three distinct but interrelated directions. Learn more and REGISTER for this webinar... 
2016 Recreational Trails Program report now online
The latest Annual Report on the Recreational Trails Program highlights program funding and administration, the RTP database, and examples of trail projects across the country. The 2016 report was produced by American Trails in partnership with KMS Enterprises for the Federal Highway Administration. It also documents the many benefits of the program and national issues affecting trails. Read more and download the report...

Summer 2016 issue of the American Trails Magazine available online

Read the latest selection of articles and resources from around the world of trails and greenways. Click here to read the online version...
Photo contest for National Recreation Trails
American Trails sponsors the annual contest for photographs of designated National Recreation Trails across the country. Our annual contest provides awards in several categories. The goal is to highlight the diversity of the NRTs and to make more Americans familiar with these great trails. We're looking for good photos of trail users as well as special facilities, art on the trails, management issues, construction, and volunteers. Deadline for submissions is December 15, 2016. Learn more...
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: November 29 - "A day of giving"

American Trails is excited to be a part of North State Giving Tuesday for the second year in a row! Mark your calendars to donate on November 29, 2016 between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Pacific to help send up to 16 future trail stewards (ages 21-25) to our International Trails Symposium in 2017 on a full scholarship (each scholarship is $2,500).

Watch this short clip on how easy it is to donate: video link  

May 7-10, 2017 ~ Dayton, Ohio
2017 National and International Trails Awards
Here's an opportunity to recognize someone you know who is working for the betterment of trails. Nominations for the 2017 National and International Trails Awards are being accepted until December 1, 2016. American Trails will recognize the winners at the Symposium in Dayton. Read more and learn how to submit a nomination...

Call for Presentations deadline December 9
Keeping in line with the Symposium theme, "Trails Take Flight: Connecting People, Places, and Possibilities," we welcome proposals that address at least one of eight unique topic areas as they relate to the theme. Proposals can be for national or international presentations and are due by December 9, 2016. Learn more and download the CFP... 
Outdoor Trade Show will highlight tools and technology
The Outdoor Demonstration Area and Trade Show is a unique feature of the American Trails International Trails Symposium, with co-host Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA). This is the only trade show in the nation dedicated to the tools, technology, and techniques of trail construction. Read more and see photos...

Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program on track for 2017
Applications will be available in early November for the Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program , which bring up to 16 young adults (ages 21-25) to participate in the 2017 mentorship program at the Symposium. The program will immerse the scholarship recipients in learning best practices and trends in the field to blaze a pathway to careers in natural resource management. We welcome sponsors/partners for this program and will soon have an application recruiting mentors who will be paired with the scholarship applicants. Learn more...
Offsite Symposium event to include Air Force Museum
Taking place on Monday, May 8 following sessions and before the Trails Rock Party, the National Museum of the United States Air Force will be closed to the public but opened for a private party for International Trails Symposium attendees!

Complimentary transportation will be provided to all attendees to join us for cocktail hour "under the wings" at the Air Force Museum. There is no charge to visit the museum but a no-host bar will serve cocktails. With a new fourth hangar, we understand that a lot of time can be spent admiring and learning the history of the aircrafts. If you don't get to see all that you wanted to on Monday night, admission to the museum is free and regular business hours are from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. seven days a week.

Exhibit and sponsorship opportunities  
15% exhibitor discount deadline January 15, 2017
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.

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

Thank you to the additional sponsors and exhibitors to date:


New greenway links in central Ohio
The much-anticipated completion of the Alum Creek Greenway Trail has connected three separate links into one 20-mile-plus route in the Columbus, Ohio area. The trail bisects 14 city parks, and crosses Alum Creek more than a dozen times, often via scenic timber-truss or steel suspension bridges that provide overlooks to the creek. Read more and see photos...

Hiking and lodging at Yosemite High Sierra camps
Rachael Swift writes about her six-day ranger-guided group hut-to-hut hike to four of the Yosemite High Sierra Camps. The trek begins at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge and on to Sunrise, Merced Lake, Vogelsang, and back. Hikers stay in tent cabins with bathhouses, group meals, and evening programs. Read more and see photos...

Paying for our National Parks
"If Americans love their parks as much as they say," reports The Wall Street Journal, "the NPS centennial celebration is a perfect occasion to take parks out of politics and politics out of parks by giving the gift of operating-budget autonomy. If entrance fees covered the NPS's annual operating costs of approximately $2.5 billion, congressional funding could be used to start work on the maintenance backlog." Read more and see graphics... 
More safeguards against landowner liability
Parks & Recreation magazine provides a thorough explanation of how state recreational use statutes encourage landowners to allow trails and public recreation on their land. In Virginia new "hold harmless" incentives further reduce the perceived concerns of liability. Read more...

Best Practices: Accessible trail routes to beaches
A recent American Trails photo gallery focuses on ways to make beaches and waterfronts accessible to people with disabilities. Cliffs, rocks, sand, and other unstable surfaces are the typical challenges in providing better access to water attractions. A variety of solutions have been used to improve the surface and provide barrier-free routes. Read more and see Cool Trail Solutions photo gallery...

Featured National Recreation Trail: Froland Trail, Minnesota
Froland Waterfowl Production Area Interpretive Trail winds around several wetlands through scenic restored prairie and oak savanna in west-central Minnesota. An accessible trail leads to an observation platform overlooking a large wetland. Read more and see photos...

Featured Recreational Trails Program project: Big Cypress Boardwalk, Tennessee
The Big Cypress Boardwalk is a scenic trail in the watershed of the Obion River in the northwest corner of Tennessee. The 1,142 foot long accessible raised walkway takes visitors into the seasonally flooded hardwood bottomland forest. Read more and see photos...

Seven days on the Sunshine Coast Trail
Leigh McAdam describes a week of backpacking in the coastal rainforest northeast of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Photos give a vivid impression of the scenery and the accommodations. The 180-km trail includes a network of 13 huts. Read more and see photos...

Longest trail system in the world nears completion
2017, in case you've forgotten, is Canada's 150th birthday and the people behind The Great Trail intend to have all 24,000 kms connected by then. The support organization, Trans Canada Trail, was created in 1992 and has continued to expand through generous donors. Read more and see photos...

A U.S. and Mexican city want to build cross-border trail
Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, form a metro area of more than a million people. Recently, Brownsville opened Linear Park, an 8-mile trail along an abandoned rail line through downtown. Planners on both sides of the border have discussed connecting that pathway to a potential trail in Matamoros, extending the arts district that's blossomed on the U.S. side and creating a wider cultural corridor uniting both towns. Read more and see photos...

Archived webinar: "Engaging the Next Generation of Trail Stewards"

This webinar, originally taking place on Sept. 22, 2016 is titled "Engaging the Next Generation of Trail Stewards: Increasing Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity." Youth and conservation corps leaders present strategies, lessons learned, and best practices for engaging diverse communities of young people on our public lands and trails. Read more and purchase archived webinar...
"Economic Impact of Livable Communities" is topic of recorded webinar

Craig Della Penna presented this webinar on Oct. 20, 2016. A Realtor specializing in the sale of houses near rail trails and greenways, Craig discusses how active transportation creates more livable communities. Younger generations wish to live in places where biking and walking are not unusual or dangerous. Read more and purchase archived webinar... 

Paved trail network study for Washington, DC area
The National Park Service Paved Trail Study sets a vision for planning and coordination of trails in the National Capital Region. The study identifies achievable goals, provides 121 capital and programmatic recommendations, and prioritizes opportunities to expand multi-use trails. Today, there are nearly 100 miles of paved trails in DC area national parks. Download the 172-page plan (pdf 21.7 mb)...
Economic impacts of bicycling in the Shenandoah Valley
A recent study finds that bicycle tourism in the Central Shenandoah Valley had a total economic impact of $13.6 million and supported 184 jobs in 2015. Visitors stayed an average of 2.44 nights and spent approximately $155 per day, per person. Download the 50-page report (pdf 1.2 mb)...

End of the year trail training opportunities

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

November 1 - Online webinar hosted by Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals
* An Interagency Approach to Visitor Use Management
November 3 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* Current National Recreation/Water Trails: Make the Most of Your Designation! 
November 4 - Cranberry Township, PA
* Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition 2016 Fall Summit
November 5-6 - Flagstaff, AZ
* Arizona Trail Association Trail Training
November 9-11 - Minneapolis, MN
* Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education Conference
November 12-18 - Roanoke, WV
* Sustainable Trails Workshop
November 15 - Sacramento, CA
* Complete Streets Conference
November 16-20 - Bentonville, AR
* International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit
November 17 - Online webinar hosted by American Trails
* Trails & Greenways: What's Next?          
November 17 - Mount Tom State Reservation, Holyoke, MA
* Massachusetts Trails Celebration
December 1-2 - Washington, DC
* Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Conference

Contact us with your scheduled training opportunities at .


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For over 28 years, American Trails has been a collective voice for a diverse coalition of enthusiasts, professionals, advocates, builders, land managers, conservationists, and friends of the outdoors and livable cities.


American Trails will continue to keep you informed on both trail know-how and issues critical to the future of trails. With your help, we can increase funding for trails, keep more trails open, and improve the health and well-being of Americans of all ages and abilities, including our children.


American Trails is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible.


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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: Highline Canal Trail in Greenwood Village, Colorado; photo by Stuart Macdonald