Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WEBINAR: Sustainable Trails for All

Hosted by

American Trails presents "Sustainable Trails for All" as a part of the American Trails "Advancing Trails Webinar Series"

Sustainable Trails for All

American Trails will present this Webinar on March 8, 2018. Presented by Janet Zeller with the US Forest Service and Peter Jensen, Trail Planner/Builder with Peter S. Jensen & Associates. This webinar will provide an overview of pedestrian sustainable trails for all for federal, state, and local agency and organization trail managers, planners and designers who are responsible for policy, budget, and trail construction oversight.

Date: Thursday, March 8, 2018
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Pacific / 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern
Cost: $19 members / $39 nonmembers

The presenters are:

Janet Zeller, National Accessibility Program Manager with US Forest Service
Peter Jensen, Trail Planner/Builder with Peter S. Jensen & Associates

Read more about the presenters, and register at:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

USDA Secretary Announces Infrastructure Improvement for Forest System Trails

Focused work will help agency reduce a maintenance backlog and make trails safer for users

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2018 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the selection of 15 priority areas to help address the more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog on national forests and grasslands.

Focused trail work in these areas, bolstered by partners and volunteers, is expected to help address needed infrastructure work so that trails managed by USDA Forest Service can be accessed and safely enjoyed by a wide variety of trails enthusiasts. About 25 percent of agency trails fit those standards while the condition of other trails lag behind.

“Our nation’s trails are a vital part of the American landscape and rural economies, and these priority areas are a major first step in USDA’s on-the-ground responsibility to make trails better and safer,” Secretary Perdue said. “The trail maintenance backlog was years in the making with a combination of factors contributing to the problem, including an outdated funding mechanism that routinely borrows money from programs, such as trails, to combat ongoing wildfires.

“This borrowing from within the agency interferes with other vital work, including ensuring that our more than 158,000 miles of well-loved trails provide access to public lands, do not harm natural resources, and, most importantly, provide safe passage for our users.”

This year the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act which established America’s system of national scenic, historic, and recreation trails. A year focused on trails presents a pivotal opportunity for the Forest Service and partners to lead a shift toward a system of sustainable trails that are maintained through even broader shared stewardship.

The priority areas focus on trails that meet the requirements of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2016 (PDF, 224KB), which calls for the designation of up to 15 high priority areas where a lack of maintenance has led to reduced access to public land; increased risk of harm to natural resources; public safety hazards; impassable trails; or increased future trail maintenance costs. The act also requires the Forest Service to “significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance” and to aim to double trail maintenance accomplished by volunteers and partners.

Shared stewardship to achieve on-the-ground results has long been core to Forest Service’s approach to trail maintenance, as demonstrated by partner groups such as the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

“Our communities, volunteers and partners know that trails play an important role in the health of local economies and of millions of people nationwide, which means the enormity of our trail maintenance backlog must be adequately addressed now,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. “The agency has a commitment to be a good neighbor, recognizing that people and communities rely on these trails to connect with each other and with nature.”

Each year, more than 84 million people get outside to explore, exercise and play on trails across national forests and grasslands and visits to these places help to generate 143,000 jobs annually through the recreation economy and more than $9 million in visitor spending.

The 15 national trail maintenance priority areas encompass large areas of land and each have committed partners to help get the work accomplished. The areas are:

• Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and Adjacent Lands, Montana: The area includes the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear Wilderness Areas and most of the Hungry Horse, Glacier View, and Swan Lake Ranger Districts on the Flathead National Forest in northwest Montana on both sides of the Continental Divide. There are more than 3,200 miles of trails within the area, including about 1,700 wilderness miles.

• Methow Valley Ranger District, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington: Methow Valley is a rural recreation-based community surrounded by more than 1.3 million acres of managed by the Forest Service. The area includes trails through the Pasayten and Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Areas and more than 130 miles of National Pacific Crest and Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trails.

• Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and Eagle Cap Wilderness, Idaho and Oregon: This area includes more than 1,200 miles of trail and the deepest river canyon in North America as well as the remote alpine terrain of the Seven Devil’s mountain range. The area also has 350,000 acres in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the largest in Oregon.

• Central Idaho Wilderness Complex, Idaho and Montana: The area includes about 9,600 miles of trails through the Frank Church River of No Return; Gospel Hump; most of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness areas; portions of the Payette, Salmon-Challis, Nez Perce and Clearwater national forests; and most of the surrounding lands. The trails inside and outside of wilderness form a network of routes that give access into some of the most remote country in the Lower 48.

• Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico: The trail’s 3,100 continuous miles follows the spine of the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada, including more than 1,900 miles of trails across 20 national forests. The trail runs a diverse route with some sections in designated wilderness areas and others running through towns, providing those communities with the opportunity to boost the local economy with tourism dollars.

• Wyoming Forest Gateway Communities: Nearly 1,000 miles of trail stretch across the almost 10 million acres of agency-managed lands in Wyoming, which include six national forests and one national grassland. The contribution to the state’s outdoor recreation economy is therefore extremely important in the state.

• Northern California Wilderness, Marble Mountain and Trinity Alps: There are more than 700 miles of trails through these wilderness areas, which are characterized by very steep mountain terrain in fire-dependent ecosystems that are subject to heavy winter rainfall and/or snow. As such, they are subject to threat from flooding, washout, landslide and other erosion type events which, combined with wildfires, wash out trails and obstruct passage.

• Angeles National Forest, California: The area, which includes nearly 1,000 miles of trails, is immediately adjacent to the greater Los Angeles area where 15 million people live within 90 minutes and more than 3 million visit. Many of those visitors are young people from disadvantaged communities without local parks.

• Greater Prescott Trail System, Arizona: This 300-mile system of trails is a demonstration of work between the Forest Service and multiple partners. The system is integrated with all public lands at the federal, state and local level to generate a community-based trail system.

• Sedona Red Rock Ranger District Trail System, Coconino National Forest, Arizona: About 400 miles of trail provide a wide diversity of experiences with year-round trail opportunities, including world-class mountain biking in cooler months and streamside hiking in the heat of the summer.

• Colorado Fourteeners: Each year, hundreds of thousands of hikers trek along over 200 miles of trail to access Colorado’s mountains that are higher than 14,000 feet. The Forest Service manages 48 of the 54 fourteeners, as they are commonly called.

• Superior National Forest, Minnesota: The more than 2,300 miles of trail on this forest have faced many catastrophic events, including large fires and a major wind storm downed millions of trees in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1999. A similar storm in 2016 reached winds up to 85 mph and toppled trees on several thousand acres and made the western 13 miles of Kekekabic Trail impassible.

• White Mountain National Forest Partner Complex, Maine and New Hampshire: Approximately 600 miles of non-motorized trails are maintained by partners. Another 600 miles of motorized snowmobile trails are adopted and maintained by several clubs. Much of that work centers on providing safe public access to the mountain and valleys of New Hampshire and Maine.

• Southern Appalachians Capacity Enhancement Model, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia: The more than 6,300 miles of trails in this sub region include some of the most heavily used trails in the country yet only 28 percent meet or exceed agency standards. The work required to bring these trails to standard will require every tool available from partner and volunteer skills to contracts with professional trail builders.

• Iditarod National Historic Trail Southern Trek, Alaska: In southcentral Alaska, the Southern Trek is in close proximity to more than half the state’s population and connects with one of the most heavily traveled highways in the state. The Chugach National Forest and partners are restoring and developing more than 180 miles of the trail system, connecting the communities of Seward, Moose Pass, Whittier, and Girdwood.

For more information about the USDA Forest Service, visit

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Colorado: Final Hermosa Creek management plan has something for hikers, bikers and horses - Full Article

By Patrick Armijo Education, business & real estate reporter
Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018

Years of building compromises to allow for recreational and historical uses of the Hermosa Creek drainage and still protect the environment came to fruition this week with the release of the final Hermosa Creek Watershed Management Plan.

The plan, released Friday, builds on work from stakeholders using the Hermosa Creek basin that started in 2008. The collaborative, community-based process included interests and points of view from recreational users such as kayakers, mountain bikers and hikers; the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; state agencies; and conservationists.

“Even though 30 miles of system track were lost to mountain bikers, it honors the willingness of all users to weigh in. We really needed to figure this out together, and that’s what we were able to do,” said Mary Monroe Brown, executive director of Durango-based Trails 2000...

Read more here:

Recreational Trails Grants for 2018

Recreational Trails Grants - by State

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The RTP provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and nonmotorized recreational trail uses, including equestrian uses. Each state administers funds through a variety of agencies - some through their Department of Natural Resources, others through their Department of Parks and Recreation, etc. Each state's requirements for grant applications, due dates and other information is available here.

As federal programs are undergoing change, contact your state RTP office for updates to policies and information.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

FREE Webinar | Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities

FREE Webinar | Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities on March 27, 2018 at 7pm EST
January 24, 2018

by Christine Hughes | Senior Designer - City of Wilmington, North Carolina

Date & Time: March 27, 2018, 7:00pm Eastern

Registration: Click on the following link to register: Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices Webinar

Description: In this webinar, author Christine Hughes, AICP, will teach you about ELCR’s new guide on equine zoning. Christine will walk viewers through the guide and help you to understand and use the content and concepts. Of special interest are the descriptions of how individual communities around the US approach and regulate horse-keeping and activities through their zoning process. The guide, with an introduction by Tom Daniels PhD, professor, author and director at University of Pennsylvania Department of City and Regional Planning, is posted on the ELCR website ( and will be available for preview and download.

Presenter Information: Christine Hughes, author of “Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities” and author of the precursor “Planning and Zoning Guide for Horse Friendly Communities” in 2015, is a senior planner with the city of Wilmington, North Carolina Planning, Development, and Transportation department. She oversees the Long- range, Environmental, and Special Projects unit and has worked extensively with community groups developing small-area, corridor, and comprehensive plans. Christine has been with the city of Wilmington since 2005. Prior to moving to Wilmington, Christine was a planner with Gwinnett County (Georgia), and a program coordinator at The University of Georgia. Christine is a member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

North Carolina: 11-mile trail in works at Carvers Creek State Park - Full Article

By Michael Futch
Staff writer

January 24 2018

After climbing out of her Ford F-150 pickup, Carvers Creek State Park Superintendent Jane Conolly ambled along the old logging road, what’s probably a firebreak to slow or stop the progress of a wildfire.

Acres of undeveloped land — much of it a watershed of Carvers Creek that the state parks system has preserved — lay around her on this warm Monday afternoon.

On each side of the sandy, dirt road where Conolly walked, pine straw blanketed the sloping ground that eventually reaches a creek and wetlands area where hardwoods grow in abundance. From where Conolly soon stopped, pine trees dotted the woodland, their trunks charred from a controlled burn in May.

“It’s beautiful,” Conolly said.

As soon as early 2019, pedestrians, bicyclists and horseback riders should be able to appreciate the natural beauty of this section of the park, too...

Read more here:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mountain bikes in wilderness areas? No thanks, says this mountain biker. - Full Article

By Bryan DuFosse
January 19, 2018 09:27 AM

We are experiencing unprecedented, multilateral attacks on our public lands heritage: from Trump’s dismantling of many of our national monuments, to opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration. From politicians working to turn our public lands over to state and corporate control, to budget cuts for our public lands agencies resulting in a backlog of scientific research, land conservation, and trail and campground maintenance.

In addition, a bill has recently been introduced to Congress to weaken the Wilderness Act and open all wilderness areas to mountain bikes. That bill is HR 1349, introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-California, who has a lifetime rating of 4 percent from the League of Conservation Voters.

As an avid mountain biker, I strongly oppose any reduction in the protection of our wilderness areas and stand with many fellow mountain bikers, including the International Mountain Bike Association, who are against this idea...

Read more here: