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1993 State Trail Administrators Meeting

SUMMARY - Day 1 - Tuesday, 30 November 1993

John Fegan of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Office of Environment and Planning, Intermodal Division, welcomed the participants to the conference. He explained that the purpose of the conference was for the State Trail Administrators to learn from each other, and for the FHWA to learn the needs of the State Trail Administrators. The focus would be to find other ways to fund trail programs, especially since the National Recreational Trails Funding Program did not receive any appropriation in FY 1994. The administrators were encouraged to think of alliances between transportation and recreation.

Kevin Heanue, Director of the FHWA's Office of Environment and Planning, provided opening remarks. He said it was a pleasure for the FHWA to be the convener of this meeting. He wished that the conference could be held under better circumstances: with funding for the Trails Program. The FHWA was showing its commitment to trails through this conference. He hoped for productive output and ways that the FHWA and the State Trail Administrators could work together.

The primary responsibility of the FHWA is to implement the ISTEA. This is largely a success story. The Interstate era is drawing to a close, since the Interstate system is nearly completed. The ISTEA was different from previous transportation legislation. It established the new National Highway System (NHS), comprising the Interstate system and other major highways. It established the new Surface Transportation Program (STP), with wide eligibility and flexibility. The STP has two sub-categories: a 10% set-aside for safety programs, and a 10% set-aside for a new 'transportation enhancement activities' (TEAs, or TEs). The TEs include non-traditional programs, such as landscaping, preservation of historic transportation facilities, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and a big success is the conversion of abandoned railroad corridors for trails.

The first year of the ISTEA funded more trails than 10 years of Federal transportation funds prior to the ISTEA. However, only the National Recreational Trails Fund Act (NRTFA) funds trails serving primarily recreational purposes. Other projects must serve transportation purposes, including the TEs. The FHWA has a broad definition of 'transportation': it basically involves travel from Point 'A' to Point 'B'. It is not only commuting; it can include any travel purpose. The primary examples of what is not a transportation purpose would be a loop trail within a park, or a back-country trail.

Trail activities derive funds from many sources. There is a need for partnerships and flexible funding. Smaller scale projects need more flexibility.

The FHWA Office of Environment and Planning is responsible for the Transportation Enhancement Program, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, the Scenic Byways Program, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, and the Recreational Trails Program. This office is willing to work with the State Trail Administrators to further trails programs throughout the United States.

Stuart Macdonald, trail administrator for Colorado and Chair of the National Recreational Trails Advisory Committee (NRTAC), welcomed the administrators on behalf of the Committee. The Committee wanted to see what funding there is for trails. The NRTFA has done a lot for trails. There was at least some money. It revitalized State trail committees and trail advocacy groups. There was new public input and support. The NRTFA gave States a reason to be involved in trails. Trails are an important part of communities, infra-structure, transportation, and recreation.

Statements of Participants

John Fegan invited the participants to introduce themselves, and to mention a challenge (C) and a success (S) in dealing with trails issues.

Ed Sundra, FHWA Virginia Division. C: Meeting non-Title 23 requirements of the NRTFA, and understanding the strings attached to Federal funds.

Alan Feyerherm, Nebraska. C-S: Nebraska is working on a comprehensive recreational trails program, and was working on a northern route for the American Discovery Trail.

Charles Adams, Maryland. C: Meeting Title 23 requirements, and the administration of trails and the ISTEA with limited resources. S: Maryland requires sponsors to provide a match for TE projects, effectively increasing funding for trails.

Bryan Bowden, NPS Northwest Region, Seattle, WA. C: Understand how to coordinate the SCORP process. Monitor ISTEA implementation in each State.

Mark Ivy, Delaware. C: Working with Delaware DOT for TE funding, and getting the DOT to accept the definition of Point 'A' to Point 'B'. S: Convincing the East Coast Greenway to go through Delaware.

Brent Botts, U.S. Forest Service, Washington, DC. C: For the Forest Service nationally, dealing with change. How to use the ISTEA funds. S: The Forest Service trails program is increasing.

Bernice Paige, NRTAC Hiking representative, Idaho. C: Advocating tolerance among trail users. S: The Idaho Trails Council. Working with the BLM and Forest Service. The new Idaho Bicycle and Pedestrian planner had SCORP experience.

Darrell McBane, North Carolina. C: Coordinating greenways, river trails, and various programs with a small staff. How to get the trail on the ground through the bureaucracy. S: Trails are getting maintenance and repair attention as facilities in parks.

Bill Flournoy, NRTAC Bicycling representative, North Carolina. C: Working with the North Carolina DOT. How to stabilize the NRTFA to continue. S: 15 years ago, North Carolina started a bicycling committee. There are also greenway systems.

Marlina Walth, North Dakota. C-S: Cooperating with the DOT on the State Bicycle Plan and State Trail Plan. S: Obtaining TE funding for trails.

Joe Hickey, Connecticut. C: A lot of work with limited staff. No Federal lands, most work on State land. High population density. Trying to work with the private sector on private land. Conflict between user groups. S: Emphasize liaison with user groups. Historically, private user groups have maintained trails. Active greenways committee.

Kim Raap, South Dakota. C: Keeping optimism with small funding. S: Obtaining TE funding for trails. Snowmobile program with dedicated funding from the gas tax and registration fees.

Paul Gray, New Hampshire. C: Funding - need more ways for trail users to pay their own way. S: Working with motorized and nonmotorized users to address issues on State lands.

Anne Lusk, NRTAC Cross Country Skiing representative, Vermont. C-S: Getting funds for trails. S: East Coast Greenway, Vermont Trails & Greenways.

George Plumb, Vermont. C: Operation and maintenance of trails. The NRTFA gave impetus to get these funds. Property rights groups. S: Working out policies and agreements.

Farrell Copelin, FHWA Oklahoma Division. C: Money for trails, public interest, need for interaction between Government and private sector. S: Teamwork between State agencies.

Nancy Burns, Iowa. C: Can only fund 10% of trail project requests. Educating DOT staff about trails. S: Increased funding.

Debbie Schnack, Missouri. C: Working with Missouri Highway and Transportation Department, which will not fund TEs. Flood damage. S: Through the NRTFA, establishing the State Recreational Trail Advisory Board. Numerous project requests. Longest rail-to-trail project.

Kathy Facer, FHWA Region 7 (IA, KS, MO, NE). C: FHWA working with trail projects.

Ralph Romeo, Pennsylvania. C: Funding for the NRTFA. The NRTFA's fuel tax requirement. S: Comprehensive Trails Study, planning, various manuals. Full time trails position, State Trail Advisory Council, legislation for snowmobile and ATV registration. Railroad conversions.

Jimmy Graves, Mississippi. C: Getting any trails legislation, hope to present legislation in 1994. S: New casino funds might be a source of funding for trails.

Lorrie Lau, FHWA Region 8 (CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY). C: Lots of questions about the NRTFA and other programs. Getting to talk with other agencies.

Kevin Keeler, NPS Alaska, Anchorage, AK. C: Working with State for what communities need.

Loren Lutz, NRTAC Hunting & Fishing representative, California. S: California Recreational Trails Committee, California Off-Highway Vehicle Committee, Cooperation with Federal agencies, especially the BLM and Forest Service.

Bobbi Lipka, NRTAC Equestrian representative, New York. C: Money for the NRTFA. Education of user groups of each other's concerns. Collaborative partnerships between the public and private sectors. S: Networking and working together.

Jeff Butson, NRTAC People with Disabilities representative, Wisconsin. C: Funds for adequate trail maintenance. S: State committee to deal with mountain bikes and hikers, working to educate trail users. Partnerships. Working with the DOT to be more flexible.

Ben Williams, FHWA Region 4 (AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN). Keeping interest in a program with no money. S: Most States have trail advisory committees. Working with DOTs on trails issues.

Karl Honkonen, Massachusetts. C: Need trail maintenance. (NRTFA brought people together to see the need for trail maintenance.) C-S: There were $620,000 in trail project requests, but only $123,000 funded, but this was new money. S: Reformed State Trail Advisory Board, with a balanced view of trails.

Vanyla Tierney, Pennsylvania. C: Continued funding for NRTFA. Need for people to talk together. S: Established Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Advisory Board (PARTAB). Good working relationship with the FHWA.

Roger Pattison, NRTAC Off-road Motorcycling representative, New Mexico. C: Motorcyclists need to submit exemplary projects to the States. S: Working with trails coalitions.

Evelyn Canals, Puerto Rico. C: Funding trails. S: Completed a State Trail Plan through the SCORP process.

Stewart Sonnenberg, FHWA Region 5 (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI). C: Encourage more communication between the DOTs and the resource agencies. S: Providing information to the public about funding sources, especially to smaller communities.

Henry Agonia, NRTAC Four-Wheel Driving representative, California. C: Funding for the NRTFA, needed for recreational trails, especially for off-highway vehicles. S: California had a successful program because its comprehensive trail program is based on the SCORP.

Lyla Randolph, Wyoming. C: Getting State funding. Organizing motorized and nonmotorized user communities. Getting multiple use trails. S: New interest. A self-supporting snowmobile program. A new ATV bill.

John Schmill, California. C: Concern about under-funding. California State legislation limiting how NRTFA funds can be spent, which changed the NRTFA categories. S: A Statewide motorized diversified trail network has been developed.

Odel King, California. C: Initially very frustrating dealing with FHWA procedures. Maintaining interest in the NRTFA with small funding: $3.5 million in applications, but no FY 1994 funding. S: Relations with Caltrans - 40% of TE funds were for trails.

Christina Meller, Hawaii. C: Special funds for trails, and preserving resources. S: Funding trails through the NPS, passing legislation, new volunteers, partnerships.

Gene Woock, NPS Mid-Atlantic Region, Philadelphia, PA. C-S: Working with the ISTEA.

Steve Elkinton, NPS Washington, DC. C: Need for the National Trails System Act and the ISTEA to work together. Old attitudes need changing. S: Trails community interest is growing.

Susan Henry, Oklahoma. C: No real trails staff. Setting up administrative procedures for the NRTFA. S: New relations with the FHWA and State DOT. Trail plans in transportation plans.

Brenda Kragh, FHWA Washington, DC. C: Thinking of the people impacts of projects; mitigating the impacts to people and communities.

Victoria Bernreuter, FHWA Washington, DC. C-S: Learning to work with others.

Jon Young, FHWA Region 10 (AK, ID, OR, WA). C: New partnerships with new agencies.

Dick Westfall, Illinois. C: Need to get projects on the ground. C-S: Lots of programs, and high expectations.

Susan Laporte, Delaware. C: Streamlining the TE process. Working with the DOT. S: Greenway program focused on trails. Working with local communities. TEs and the NRTFA helped new funding. Obtained first rail-trail easement.

Angela LaCombe, Virginia. C: Strings attached to NRTFA. The NRTFA seen by some as a threat for the Land & Water Conservation Fund. S: Legislature established a State trails council. A publicized TE program. New partnerships.

Alicia Soriano, Georgia. C-S: Initially working with the FHWA, now a new partnership. S: The NRTFA helped develop new partnerships, promoting diversified use. Local seed money for trails.

Mary Mae Hardt, Kansas. C: Priorities of trails and trail programs. S: Completed first trails plan. Multi-agency support: DOT, Wildlife & Parks, Historic, Tourism, private interests. The Kansas DOT's TE program. A rail-trail project.

Bill Daehler, Ohio. C: Lots to do, little staff. Updating State Trails Plan. Spending NRTFA funds. S: Established dedicated funding source for State and local parks and natural resources projects. Active rail-trail program.

Ted Pochter, District of Columbia. C: Need new sources of funds to develop and rehabilitate trails. S: NRTFA trail to connect neighborhoods.

Celeste Tracy, New Jersey. C: Working with various user groups. Change in State administration. S: Renewed interest in trails through the ISTEA and NRTFA. Updated the State trails plan. Can target funds in parks.

Tom Cobb, New York. C: Trail plan for New York State, complexity and diversity of the State, need to maintain and develop trails. S: New York State Trails Council. Enjoy working with trail groups. Partnerships. Greenway movement.

Dan Collins, Minnesota. C: The future; finding a way for recreational values in everyday lives. Sustainable transportation forms. S: State trails council, groups working together.

Don Carlson, NRTAC Snowmobiling representative, Minnesota. C: Work with grass roots to get legislators to support trails program. S: Promoting compatibility of snowmobiling with other trail users in snow States.

Bruce Kerfoot, NRTAC Water Trails representative, Minnesota. C: Think of waterways as trail ways. Accessibility to water trails - need consensus. S: Water trails viewed better.

Ron Crenshaw, Alaska. C: Working with the DOT. The DOT pulled the TE program. S: The National Trails Symposium, to be held September 1994.

Doug Evans, NPS Northeast Region, Boston, MA. C: Build bridges between user groups, getting land managers to accept multi-users on their land. S: 'Trails summit' meetings of trail users.

Roger Moore, North Carolina State University. C: Working on a synthesis of literature on multiple-use trails. S: Private funding to develop coalitions.

Christopher Douwes, FHWA, Washington, DC. C-S: New ways of doing things for the FHWA, new trails program.

ISTEA Funding Sources

Dan Collins of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) opened this session. He said that the ISTEA gives new opportunities. An example was the Minnesota TE program. The DNR was working with MnDOT to balance transportation and recreation. He related a story about program implementation.

Overview of the Federal-aid Highway Program

George Schoener, Chief of the FHWA Intermodal Division, gave an overview of the ISTEA and how the various programs relate to trails. He noted National Recreational Trails Advisory Committee asked the FHWA to look at other sources for funding trails.

For FY 1994, the National Highway System (NHS) has $3.3 billion available nationally via formula. The Surface Transportation Program (STP) has $3.8 billion available nationally via formula. Bicycle and pedestrian facilities for transportation purposes are eligible projects in these categories. The key is to think transportation on these projects. See Attachment D for FY 1994 ISTEA apportionments.

The State DOTs have responsibility for the NHS. Projects must come through the Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes. They must be included on Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs (STIPs) and Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs). The NHS allows funding of bicycle and pedestrian facilities associated with an NHS route (within the same corridor, although not necessarily within the same right-of-way). Bicycle and pedestrian projects will compete with other NHS project proposals.

The STP is an attempt to make a flexible funding program. Bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects are eligible for all STP funds. Projects must go through the Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes, and be included in the STIPs and TIPs. These projects will compete with other transportation needs in the State or metropolitan area.

The Scenic Byways Program has $10 million available nationally. This is a discretionary program. Trails are an eligible category. Some Scenic Byways funds have funded trails and trail-head facilities. Facilities must be along a previously designated scenic byway. See Attachment E for a list of Scenic Byways Program contacts.

The matching ratio for most ISTEA programs is 80% Federal, 20% State or local. There is a 'sliding scale' provision for a higher Federal share in States with large amounts of Federal lands, generally the western States. However, specific language in the ISTEA limits the Federal share for bicycle and pedestrian projects and Scenic Byways projects to 80%.

Transportation Enhancements (TEs)

Fred Skaer, Chief of the FHWA Environmental Programs Branch, explained the transportation enhancements activities. This program has a national goal: to encourage the State DOTs to be more pro-active in advocating 'liveable communities'. The TE program opened new partnerships, and an opportunity for DOTs to build good will. TEs are to be used for creative planning and design, beyond normal highway mitigation. Attachment F is the Transportation Enhancements Guidance.

The ISTEA authorized a total of $23.9 billion in STP funds from FY 1992 through FY 1997. The TEAs are a 10% set-aside of the STP program, or $2.8 over the six years. Attachment D lists the STP apportionments. Project approvals started slowly but are increasing.

The ISTEA defines ten specific TE elements. Two of these are bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and conversion of abandoned railroads for trails. Since TEs are a subset of the STP, they must go through the Statewide and metropolitan planning processes.

Fred Skaer gave some advice on how to develop a TE project.

There are implementation barriers:

There will be a national workshop on transportation enhancements in May or June 1994.

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program

Michael Savonis of the FHWA Noise and Air Quality Branch explained the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ). This program exists for the purpose of funding transportation projects that improve air quality. It is funded at $6 billion over 6 years, about $1 billion per year. Funds are apportioned to the States by formula. Attachment D lists the CMAQ apportionments. The formula is based on the severity of air quality problems and size of the population affected. Each State receives a minimum of 0.5 percent.

Project approvals began slowly, but are increasing. Typical projects include transit projects, traffic improvements, High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) facilities, shared-ride facilities, and inspection and maintenance facilities. States are encouraged to choose the best projects for improving air quality to achieve measurable emissions reductions. Projects included in the State Implementation Plan (SIP) are the highest priority for CMAQ funding. The Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) list specific transportation control methods that are eligible for CMAQ funding1. These include bicycle and pedestrian projects. In FY 1992, CMAQ funded only 5 bicycle-pedestrian projects.

The CMAQ program guidance and a program summary was available for all present. It is included as an extra attachment for State Trail Administrators unable to attend the Conference.

The CMAQ process involves many different interest groups: the DOT, EPA, State DOTs, State environmental agencies, MPOs, local governments, etc. MPOs and States jointly develop and select projects. The EPA comments on the anticipated air quality benefits from the projects. The FHWA and FTA determine eligibility and approve projects. They must be listed in a conforming TIP. Conformity means that the projects conform to the State's SIP. The projects must improve air quality in non-attainment areas.

Bicycle and pedestrian projects qualify if they will reduce Single Occupancy Vehicles (SOVs). There needs to be an estimate of air quality improvements.

Federal Lands Highway Program

Butch Wlaschin of the FHWA Federal Lands Highway Office gave an overview of the Federal Lands Highway Program (FLHP). The Congress saw the need to fund roads serving Federal lands, such as parks roads within NPS lands, Indian Reservation roads - administered in conjunction with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and forest highways on US Forest Service lands. Attachment G describes the Federal Lands Highway Program.

The FLHP was created in 1982 and was funded at $300 million per year through 1987. From 1987 through 1991 the funding was reduced to $235 million. The ISTEA reduced the program areas from four to three, while increasing the funding to $445 million per year ($83 million for NPS projects, $191 million for BIA projects, and $171 million for Public Lands Highways (PLH)).

All projects are to be included in the STIP and any appropriate metropolitan TIP. The Act allows funds available for each class of Federal lands highways to be available for any kind of transportation project eligible for assistance under Title 23 U.S.C. that is within, adjacent to, or provides access to the areas served by the particular class of Federal lands highways. This includes provisions for pedestrians and bicycles.

NPS projects are identified and prioritized at annual regional meetings involving the NPS and the FHWA. With a backlog of needs in excess of $1.5 billion, few pedestrian and bicycle related projects make it into the final list of annual projects.

For Indian Reservation road projects, the Indian tribes, with assistance from the BIA, develop the priority program of projects. The BIA submits the program to the FHWA for concurrence. The backlog of needs just to keep the various roads open exceeds $4.0 billion.

The PLH program consists of a discretionary program ($58.14 million) and a forest highway portion funded at $112.9 million. The discretionary program of projects provides funds for public roads that serve Federal lands. Each State Highway Agency (SHA) submits candidate projects to the FHWA for funding consideration. Generally, the requests exceeds the available funding by a factor of three. The forest highway program of projects is developed at annual meetings with the USFS, State DOT, and the FHWA. The backlog of needs for the forest highway improvements exceeds $4 billion.

Pedestrian and bicycle interest groups are encouraged to meet with the local, State, and Federal officials to express their interest in having various pedestrian and bicycle improvements included in future projects. The projects must be transportation related and serve the Federal lands involved.

ISTEA Funding Questions and Answers

Joe Hickey (CT)
Q: Is there discretionary funding for Interstate Rail-to-Trail projects?
A: No.
Q: Do bicycle-pedestrian facilities have to be within the highway right-of-way or only within a wider corridor.
A: To use NHS funds, bicycle-pedestrian facilities need to serve the same travel purpose as the NHS route [or cross the NHS route]. They do not need to be within the exact right-of-way, but must be within the same corridor. There must be network linkage. STP funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects are not restricted to any highway right-of-way or functional classification system, as long as they serve a transportation purpose.

Doug Evans (NPS Northeast)
Q: Can we push DOTs to be more open with enhancement dollars?
A: You need to find what moves the DOT and work on that.
Q: Can Scenic Byways be designated for nonmotorized facilities?
A: No.

Alicia Soriano (GA)
Q: Can you explain the problem with 'minimum allocation' with regards to Scenic Byways?
A: The Minimum Allocation (MA) provision is in Section 1013 of the ISTEA. Several States pay more into the Federal Highway Trust Fund than they receive in the apportionment formula. The purpose of the MA is to provide an extra apportionment to these States so that they receive at least 90% of their share paid into the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Extra allocations from other Title 23 sources are counted against MA apportionments, including Scenic Byways allocations. MA funds are not restricted to any funding category, and States have wide discretion in using these funds. Most States receiving MA funds prefer to have discretionary funds rather than program-specific funds, such as Scenic Byways. [As of this writing, the Scenic Byways staff has seen no reductions in the overall funding of MA States who applied for and were awarded Interim Scenic Byways funds in FY 1992 and FY 1993.]

Bobbi Lipka (NRTAC Equestrian)
Q: Horses can serve transportation purposes. Is there any prohibition from using CMAQ funds for horse trails?
A: There is no prohibition, but the State would need to judge a project's effectiveness in reducing emissions. To have a measurable impact on emissions, large numbers of SOV users must be convinced to use the alternative transportation.

Tom Ross (NPS Washington Office)
Q: What is the FHWA doing in terms of data collection for these programs?
A: Some information is being collected, but it is difficult to track. The STP was designed to give States broad flexibility and less FHWA oversight.

Trails on Transportation Plans

A copy of the new Statewide Planning and Metropolitan Planning Rule was included in the package received by each participant. It is included as an attachment for State Trail Administrators unable to attend the Conference.

Mary Mae Hardt of Kansas Wildlife and Parks introduced this session.

The ISTEA has been referred to as the 'Planners Full Employment Act of 1991'. It has a much greater emphasis on planning, and requires more coordination between DOTs and other agencies.

Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Plans

Sheldon Edner of the FHWA Metropolitan Planning Division explained the newly released Statewide and Metropolitan Planning Rule. First, he asked the participants from broad themes they would like covered. The responses were:

Attachment H shows the planning process. There are differences in Statewide and metropolitan planning requirements. In the ISTEA, some of the specific factors are different.

Metropolitan plans have been in effect since 1962. Statewide plans were not required until the ISTEA, although some States had a Statewide planning process.

The FHWA is encouraging States to undertake corridor-level planning, but is permitting policy plans. Different levels of detail are appropriate to each State. Urbanized States generally need more detailed plans.

The ISTEA 'levels the playing field' between States and MPOs, transit and highways. It draws in other agency partners and operators of other transportation modes. Participants need to be pro-active. The main 'players' are the State DOTs and the MPOs. The MPO is the planning forum for urbanized areas over 50,000 in population, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. In some cases, one MPO may represent several urbanized areas (for example, for several contiguous or nearly contiguous urbanized areas).

For the purposes of the planning regulations, the definition of 'State' is the 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The definition does not specify the State DOT, but usually the DOT is the lead agency.

The planning regulations involve new participants in the MPO process through public involvement or through formal membership. Major providers of public transportation must be included. Planning is intended to be a cooperative process to develop a collaborative relationship.

The question was raised regarding the role of State regional planning areas (which may or may not include any metropolitan areas). There is no firm answer. In rural areas, the responsibility is with the State in consultation with local officials. However, the boundaries for responsibilities vary. Attachment I shows the geographic relationship between the urbanized area, planning area, air quality analysis area, and the metropolitan statistical area.

The question was raised regarding FHWA and FTA approval authority. The FHWA has no approval authority for metropolitan or State plans. Approval authority is as follows:

In metropolitan areas, projects must be on the TIP and consistent with the plan. The metropolitan TIP must be included verbatim in the STIP. The Governor may delegate approval responsibility for the metropolitan TIP.

Metropolitan plans are coordinated between the MPO and the State. In non-metropolitan areas, the State develops the plan in consultation with local officials.

The State TIP must be a minimum 3 year horizon, updated every 2 years. If the metropolitan TIP is not approved, it can not be included in the STIP. Without inclusion in the STIP, no projects may be funded in the metropolitan area.

The following was shown as a slide.

METROPOLITAN TIP

  • Cooperatively developed with State and transit operation.
  • Updated at least every two years.
  • Conformity determination.
  • Public comment.
  • Cover at least three years.
  • Financially constrained - not a wish list.
  • Prioritized - year 1, year 2, year 3.

In non-attainment areas, priority must be given to projects that will improve air quality. It was noted that motorized recreational vehicle projects may have problems in non-attainment areas.

The following kinds of projects must be on the plan:

  1. All projects funded with Title 23 U.S.C. funds.
  2. All 'regionally significant' projects where the FHWA or the FTA have approval authority.
  3. All 'regionally significant' projects for information purposes (such as a new football stadium).
  4. Use of right-of-way where FHWA approval is necessary (such as a new interchange on an Interstate highway even if no Federal funds are used).

On the Statewide level, all Title 23 projects must be included in the plan and program.

The term 'regionally significant' is defined in the regulations. A question was raised whether projects funded under the NRTFA needed to be on plans, STIPs, or TIPs. This is not fully determined. If the project is 'regionally significant', then yes. Motorized trails need to pass the conformity analysis.

The initial State plan must be developed before January 1, 1995. Metropolitan plans must be updated by October 1, 1994 in non-attainment areas; by December 18, 1994 in attainment areas. In metropolitan non-attainment areas, plans must be updated every 3 years. In metropolitan attainment areas, they must be updated every 5 years.

Coordinating SCORP planning

Tom Ross and Beth Porter of the NPS Recreation Resources Assistance Division spoke about the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans (SCORPs) required by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act in 1965 (L&WCF). The NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program helps State and local people to implement the goals of Trails for All Americans which advocates recreational trails within 15 minutes of most people.

Tom Ross said that trails serve multiple purposes: recreation and more. They provide points of connection. Trails and greenways are fundamentally important to connect communities.

The NPS administers the L&WCF. Funding is provided to develop the SCORP document, which is used to guide the allocation of recreation funds. Earlier SCORPs were documents to measure supply and demand of recreation resources. More recent SCORPs are documents that meet the needs in States, listing action items and priorities with each State.

The NPS is encouraging working on trail planning with the SCORP and Statewide transportation planning. The NPS wants to hear how it can be more supportive of States.

Beth Porter explained the role of the RTCA Program. The program provides assistance to the States through its Washington Headquarters office and nine Regional offices. See Attachment J for addresses. This assistance includes mapping, geographic information system (GIS) assistance, public workshop facilitation, resource assessments, newsletters, and reports. The type of assistance provided depends upon the needs of the requesting agency or organization. She is working on a State of the Trails document. The NPS is getting into Statewide trail planning. It has been holding public workshops to identify major trail issues, trail networks, and trail plans. On the Regional level, the NPS is developing regional trail plans and reports. The NPS also has been sponsoring regional and State conferences on the ISTEA.

Trails on Transportation Plans - Discussion

Mary Mae Hardt led the discussion session.

Q: Farrell Copelin (FHWA OK Division) asked how demand for trails was determined. For example, highway projects are based on traffic and safety studies, and compatibility with the environment.
A: Beth Porter responded that the RTCA Program provides assistance as requested. The demand comes to the NPS. The NPS is trying to collect more data on trail needs and will develop a survey to determine demand.
A: Tom Ross added that the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation used to do Nationwide Recreation Plans. But there is limited funding for data collection and analysis.

Q: Ron Crenshaw (AK) asked how to project demand.
A: Dan Collins (MN) said that the number of people living nearby is the single best indicator.
A: Bryan Bowden (NPS Northwest) said that in the SCORP there are recreation demand studies. Bicycling, walking, and other trail activities consistently rank in the top 10.

In discussion, it was noted that trail projects don't respond to traffic projection. The problem is the many State DOTs want numbers of demand before approving trail projects. They need to know that the trail will be used.

Q: Anne Lusk (NRTAC) said that she would like to see a network of trails like the network of highways. She asked how to merge the State and metropolitan plans, STIPs and TIPs with SCORP trail plans.
A: Tom Ross responded that the SCORP needs to be tied into the Statewide transportation plan. Trails provide more than a recreation role. State Trail Administrators deserve a seat with the development of the DOT plan.
A: Sheldon Edner said that State and local agencies need to interact - agencies that have not cooperated before.

Mary Mae Hardt provided an example from Kansas. The DOT held informational meetings as a precursor to a workshop to develop strategies and issues for the State plan. Twelve State agencies were involved. She urged all State Trail Administrators to contact their DOTs. The DOTs work with country and municipal officials, and with business and industry.

Stuart Macdonald provided an example from Colorado. They built relationships between people and agencies. He urged administrators to go out and build a constituency of people, and to offer the DOT good contacts. State Trail Administrators need to let trail supporters know what the DOT is doing. They can provide phone numbers of bicycle and pedestrian coordinators, planners, etc. They need to find overlap between State trail plans and bicycle and pedestrian plans.

Q: Christina Meller (HI) said that the DOT said it didn't need to fund enhancements. The Department of Land and Natural Resources started to build a coalition, and worked to fill the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator position. The Governor listened to the coalition. It was necessary to develop political force to get the DOT involved. Her question was how to get the DOT to fund enhancement projects.
A: Sheldon Edner answered that there is no absolute hammer. But the planning process requires that the State account for transportation enhancements, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, intermodal facilities, tourism, and Federal lands. The ISTEA made real changes. He noted that, in the comments on the planning regulations, some people commented that the change was too slow, and others commented that the change was too fast.

Victoria Bernreuter (FHWA HQ) noted that the ISTEA requires each State to have a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator position. Farrell Copelin noted that the ISTEA requires this position to promote and facilitate the increased use of nonmotorized modes of transportation.

Q: Chris Soller (NPS Washington) was concerned that the State plans would become too project specific if there was an emphasis on corridor planning. He asked how broader policy goals would be set and carried out, such as goals for trail systems and alternative transportation systems, if there is a corridor planning emphasis.
A: Sheldon Edner answered that some States want to implement a policy plan. The FHWA permits policy plans, but encourages corridor plans. The corridor plans indicate how policy will be implemented. The 20 year plan needs to have short term goals and long term goals. The TIP is the short term list of projects from the plan that will be implemented. It is more difficult to show the connection for projects on a general policy plan.

Sheldon Edner noted that the FHWA has nine Regional offices, and a Division office in each State. These people also can answer further questions.

Coordinating Funding Sources for Trails

Working with State DOTs

Nancy Burns of the Iowa DOT, opened this session. She explained that it is easier to work with a DOT if you are in it. But the purpose of this session was to show how to work with the DOT.

There is more coordination and integration of transportation and trails. The U.S. Census Journey to Work survey found that there were 3.3 million walking trips and 800,000 bicycling trips to work in 1980. A 1991 Harris Poll found that 1 in 60 people commuted by bicycle, and 1 in 5 would if there were safe facilities. A 1992 Rodale Press survey found that 5% of the adult population walks or bicycles for transportation, and another 8% want to do so, but want better [safer] facilities. But many more people would like to walk or bicycle.

It is possible to use travel to a recreational area as a reason to use transportation funds. For example, DOTs build roads to recreation areas.

Grass roots support drives trail programs. The State can lend support and connect trails. Groups are developing regional trail plans. Citizens and local governments need to work with the DOT, to build credibility, and to be participants in the transportation planning process. They should solicit State help in the process, and coordinate the SCORP with the State transportation plan.

Trails advocates should try to find somebody inside the DOT who is interested in trails. They need to justify the interface between roadway use and trail use. To use DOT funds, they need to convince the DOT that the project is for transportation.

Transportation use is not just commuting. Iowa found justification for using STP funds for a bicycle-pedestrian trail when it found that rail-trail users from Des Moines were driving to the trail head. Adding the bicycle-pedestrian facility would reduce motor vehicle trips. The DOT also looked at the transportation needs of children, and used highway safety funds to build a bicycle-pedestrian facility to provide access to a city park. Developers should be encouraged to include connections to trails for transportation use in their developments.

In Iowa, different segments of the trail system are funded from different sources. The DOT funded the bicycle-pedestrian link to the rail-trail, but Iowa's State Recreational Trail Fund was used for the rail-trail itself.

There must be an interrelationship between planning documents. The Iowa DNR produces the SCORP, which is based on recreation needs, and is not corridor specific. The DOT's Statewide Trails Plan references the SCORP, and is corridor specific for recreation purposes. It has long range goals for trails, and is used to evaluate applications for grants. (Iowa can only fund 8%-10% of its project applications.) The STIP trail section is project specific for State trail grants, and indicates which projects have been approved for funding. Two MPOs have trail planning subcommittees to advise MPOs on appropriate trail projects.

Coordinating funding through State trail programs

Stuart Macdonald of Colorado State Parks spoke about coordinating funding through State trail programs. The common vision of State Trail Administrators is to build a constituency of trails interests. Trail administrators need to work with various trails interests, community interests, and land managers (public and private). The goal is to improve all trails. Trail administrators need to see trails as a system with connections between communities, within communities, to recreation areas, parks and open spaces, etc.

Many State Trail Plans are being developed. The plans need to be made to work. There is a need to coordinate processes, funding, agencies, etc. There needs to be coalition building. State Trail Administrators need to work to secure NRTFA money, but they need to increase participation from other funding sources. They need to build more community support to increase trails funding. For example, in Colorado Springs, trails are now politically important.

Trail administrators need to be able to leverage funds for trails. There are different funding sources. Colorado uses lottery money. Arizona also obtained lottery money. Volunteer programs give corporations a reason to fund trails. In Colorado, the grant application gives points for cooperation. There is a need to generate new ideas for support.

Discussion

Steve Elkinton, trail program leader in the NPS Washington office, led the discussion on coordin-ating funding sources for trails. He said there is a spectrum of funding opportunities. The ISTEA put a spotlight on Federal funds for trails, but there are also other sources. He asked the participants for examples of what works well and what does not. He mentioned that the NPS produced a handout called Guide to Federal Funding and Assistance for Long Distance Trails. The NPS also would like to broaden the National Trails System Act to increase its connection to the ISTEA.

State Trail Administrators are an important link between Federal programs and local needs. They need to get involved in State and metropolitan planning, and to get local people involved. They need to build coalitions and find political champions. They need to develop trail systems with connectivity rather than isolated projects. They also need to understand any political opposition.

Anne Lusk (NRTAC) asked about the relationship of the L&WCF program, the SCORP, State trail plans, and the STIP. She was concerned that requiring small NRTFA projects to be on STIPs (such as snowmobile trail maintenance and grooming) would be burdensome to the project sponsors.

Nancy Burns said that the Iowa STIP made a distinction between new trail construction and maintenance. Alicia Soriano (GA) said that the Georgia trails plan is an element of the State transportation Plan. The State transportation plan must coordinate with the SCORP.

Bernice Paige (NRTAC) said that, because of the ISTEA, there is improved planning and coordination between various user groups.

Lyla Randolph (WY) asked about the effectiveness of the National Association of State Trail Administrators (NASTA). How can State administrators help each other? She mentioned the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators as a positive example.

Christina Meller (HI) said there is a need to build coalitions, to turn adversity into something positive, and to turn economic downturn into gain. She mentioned that Hawaii's sugar lands were being turned into forest lands with trails. The economic downturn in the sugar industry could be turned into a new tourist industry. The goal is for trails to serve the community.

Paul Gray (NH) mentioned a program in New Hampshire using work groups of at-risk students. Trail work provides a social service.

Mark Ivy (DE) asked if anybody had experience using the Community Reinvestment Act as a funding source. If anybody has this experience, please contact Mark.

Debbie Schnack (MO) suggested looking at companies and people interested in trails for funding. Steve Elkinton mentioned that the American Hiking Society (AHS) found outdoor industry support for National Trails Day.

Angela LaCombe (VA) said that her agency provides technical assistance to municipalities to do partnerships and facilitate different users getting together.

Brenda Kragh (FHWA HQ) said that high school students doing volunteer community service could provide inexpensive labor.

Roger Pattison (NRTAC) said that large corporation may own large amounts of land that could be used for trail activity.

Ralph Romeo (PA) said that the Pennsylvania DOT produced a transportation enhancement grant application package. This could provide a model, and it is available.

Day 1 Closing

John Fegan mentioned that the FHWA has developed a 3-day bicycle and pedestrian course. This course is available through the National Highway Institute, at the request of State DOTs. The course emphasizes the need for coordinated pedestrian and bicycle programs that include engineering, education, and law enforcement efforts.

The FHWA also is planning to hold regional conferences on Statewide and metropolitan planning. Bicycle and pedestrian planning training also will be presented during 1994 at 9 locations around the country.

Environmental Clearance Process and Trail Development
NEPA and other environmental requirements

Ken Perret, Chief of the FHWA Project Development Branch, provided an overview of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and how it affects Federal programs. The purpose of NEPA is to inform the public about the impacts of Federal actions, to fully disclose environmental impacts of projects to the public, and to aid in the decision-making process.

NEPA is a Federal law which applies to all projects using Federal funds. NEPA sets national environmental policy. It provides the basis for performing environmental impact studies and documentation. It created the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which issued the implementing regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508). The FHWA-FTA project regulations are found in 23 CFR 771.

The following was shown in slides.

NEPA of 1969

Section 102
Requires to the extent possible, that policies, regulations, and laws of the Federal Government be interpreted and administered in accordance with NEPA.

It requires Federal agencies to use an interdisciplinary approach in planning and decision-making that impacts the environment. [This means that agencies must consider other impacts, for example, the FHWA must consider impacts other than engineering impacts.]

It requires the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement on all major Federal actions significantly affecting the human environment. [Agencies need to go through a process to determine what is significant.]

NEPA was amended in 1975 to allow States to prepare EISs.

NEPA also provides for:

  • Examination of alternatives to proposed action
  • Basis for cooperating agency concept
  • Public and agency coordination

CEQ
Policies / Regulations

Make better decisions
Reduce paperwork and delays
Integrate NEPA with other planning and environmental procedures

A slide was shown of FHWA's Project Development Process. This process is intended to be an umbrella to look at applicable Federal laws and regulations. See Attachment K, which has other slides shown during this presentation. Another slide was shown of Highway Project Chronology.

Transportation Planning
and Project Development

  • Planning Work Program
  • Transportation Plan
  • MPO & State DOT Conformity Determination
  • Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
  • FHWA Air Quality Conformity Determination
  • Approved State Transportation Implementation Plan (STIP)
  • Select projects for implementation
  • Design Concept
  • Purpose and Need

Products of the Planning Process

  1. Purpose and need documents
  2. Traffic studies
  3. Land use projections
  4. Economic studies
  5. Population growth prediction studies

A slide was shown of Early Project Development Activities. See Attachment K.
The processing options are:

The result of the process is the documentation of a decision on how to implement the project, while protecting and enhancing the environment: a categorical exclusion determination, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), or a Record Of Decision (ROD). The process requirements are in 23 CFR 771. A copy of the 23 CFR 771 was available. It is included as an attachment for State Trail Administrators unable to attend the Conference.

There are other Federal laws to be considered in the NEPA process, such as impacts on historic resources, and compliance should be indicated in the NEPA documentation.

Section 4(f)

Derrell Turner of the FHWA Project Development Branch explained 'Section 4(f)', which is codified in Section 303 in Title 49 U.S.C. (and a similar version in 23 U.S.C. 138.) 49 U.S.C. 303 says:

The Secretary [of Transportation] may approve a transportation program or project requiring the use of publicly owned land of a public park, recreation area, or wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or land of an historic site of national, State, or local significance (as determined by the Federal, State, or local officials having jurisdiction over the park, recreation area, refuge, or site) only if -
(1) there is no prudent and feasible alternative to using that land; and
(2) the program or project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the park, recreation area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic site resulting from the use.

The original intent of Section 4(f) was to provide an additional measure of protection to parks, recreation areas, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites from highway projects and other U.S. DOT agency actions that adversely impacted these resources. However, as written, our current regulations and policies are not designed to realistically address trail projects. The FHWA's Section 4(f) process is found in 23 CFR §771.135.

The FHWA prefers that the Section 4(f) documentation be developed along with the NEPA process. The FHWA is trying to have uniformly consistent 4(f) determinations. The FHWA often has been challenged on the 4(f) issue. This is why some trails projects have been stalled on the 4(f) issue. Guidance is under development to deal with this issue.

Historic Preservation

Bruce Eberle of the FHWA Environmental Quality Branch explained requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended). When doing NEPA documentation, the FHWA prefers keeping documents combined; the historic preservation documentation should be included within NEPA.

If dealing with historic property, there may be State historic preservation grants available. A trail may be historic, be near a historic resource, or affect a historic resource. Trail project sponsors should look at multiple use of historic resources in partnerships with historic property owners and the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) for planning and financial assistance.

Assistance for dealing with Section 106 is available through the SHPO. Historic properties may be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, administered by the NPS.

If a project affects property on the National Register, the sponsor must work with the SHPO, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the State DOT, and the FHWA. If the project is on Federal lands, it is necessary to work with that Federal agency. Local governments also need to be involved. Indian tribes have a role if the project may affect their lands or any Native American Sacred Areas.

Any effect on historic properties may require dealing with Section 106. If there is any possibility that a historic resource is affected, contact the SHPO and Federal agency. The SHPO may know or may suggest how to find out if there is an impact.

Projects can be delayed in the Section 106 process. It is necessary to begin the 106 process early, identify resources, and work with the parties involved.

Discussion: Comments, Questions and Answers

Ralph Romeo (PA) said that the FHWA Pennsylvania Division provided a check-off environmental document. The applicant must address potential impacts. The Pennsylvania Division also provided a short Section 4(f) finding:

This project requires the use of land from a publicly owned park, recreation area, or wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic site and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 is applicable. As per 49 U.S.C. 303 and 23 CFR 771.135 it has been concluded that: (1) there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use of the land from the property because routing the trail around the areas would decrease the recreational value of the trail and of the recreational area; and (2) the official having jurisdiction over the land has submitted a signed statement stating that the proposed project is consistent with the designated use of the property on which it is to be developed and the project has been designed in such manner that it will not cause harm to the property.

The Pennsylvania DER takes responsibility for submitting proposed projects to the SHPO for clearance to reduce the burden on project applicants.

Q: Alicia Soriano (GA) asked if an air quality assessment is needed for motorized projects.
A: In non-attainment areas, yes. In Federal lands, the trail needs to be consistent with the unit's land and resource management plan.

Charles Adams (MD) noted that the cost of environmental studies may approach or exceed the cost of trails projects. He said that there is a need to redefine what NEPA means as it relates to trails. There is a need for collaboration with the Forest Service, BLM, and NPS.

Q: Anne Lusk (NRTAC) asked about the status of the CEQ (since it was recommended to be terminated in the recent 'National Performance Review'). She also asked, if the authority is still with the CEQ, could they revisit NEPA and other laws and regulations to include trail considerations (instead or reviewing them as mini highways)?
A: The CEQ still has authority. Its regulations apply to all Federal agencies. The FHWA has a list of categorical exclusion activities, but it still needs to look at other project impacts. The FHWA is developing new guidance looking at trail issues, and has reviewed NPS regulations for comparison.

Q: Tom Cobb (NY) asked, How do private landowner concerns affect NEPA? Do they raise a project to an EIS?
A: There is no clear-cut answer. Generally, private landowner concerns would not raise a trail project to an EIS, but they could if there is a lot of controversy. Public information is part of the NEPA process. There needs to be information available to allay fears of the public.

Q: Odel King (CA) asked, Isn't the intent of [Section] 4(f) to protect recreational land from conversion to non-recreational land? He noted that the NRTFA was a recreational program.
A: Derrell Turner responded that, unfortunately, Section 4(f) applies to all DOT projects regardless of project intent. The wording of Section 4(f) is, the Secretary shall not approve any program or project, which does not account for projects that can serve a recreational purpose.

Trail Development Standards

Karen-Lee Ryan of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy spoke about trail design. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy recently completed the book Trails for the Twenty-First Century: Planning, Design, and Management Manual for Multi-Use Trails. A brochure was distributed.

The manual was distributed to all FHWA Regions and Divisions. All State Trail Administrators should have received a copy of this book and brochure directly from their respective FHWA Division offices. If not, please contact your Division office.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy monitors the TE funding, since rail-to-trail conversion is one of the eligible activities. So far, there have been 140 rail-trail projects approved for $60 million in TE funds, matched by $30 million in other funds.

Karen-Lee Ryan presented a slide show about trail design. Old railroad corridors are ideal for trails. They have low grades and good corridors.

The appropriate surface for trails varies. For some trails, the old ballast, ranging from stones to cinders, may be appropriate, after removing tracks and ties. For an improved surface, crushed limestone is good, if there is a good quarry nearby. Other alternatives are asphalt and concrete. Each surface has advantages and disadvantages for various intensities of usage. A soft surface side path is recommended if a hard surface is used.

RTC recommends a minimum width of 10 feet (3 m), following AASHTO. Urban and suburban trails should be 12 to 14 feet (3.66 m to 4.27 m) wide. Another possibility is to separate users, such as a side path for horses.

Bollards can be useful to prevent access by general passenger vehicles. They should be removable to allow emergency access, but designed so that removing the bollard does not leave a dangerous situation. Never erect only 2 bollards, always one or three to reduce collisions. Gates generally are not recommended, especially if they reduce wheelchair access.

Screening methods need to be considered, whether fencing, hedges, etc. The preferred screening is natural vegetation.

Signs should be integrated into the design. It is possible to include old railroad reminders, to develop a trail logo or theme in the signing. Interpretive signs should be included.

Regulatory signs should be consistent with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The MUTCD has some provisions for trail signs. Also, signs can be erected to encourage trail etiquette.

Historic or other remaining structures can be incorporated into the trail experience, such as tunnels, old cabooses, old railroad stations, etc.

Support facilities should be clustered along the trails, with major rest stops and minor rest stops. Scenic vistas should be considered.

Road crossing need to be dealt with on an individual basis. It is possible that the trail will have a higher traffic volume than the road, which may justify having road traffic stopping and yielding to trail traffic. The trail should incorporate safe crossings, and consider aesthetics.

Bridges may be an important part of trails. Old railroad bridges may or may not be useable. There are pre-fabricated bridges available. The bridge surface should be considered for safety. Railings need to be 54 inches (137 cm) high.

Forest Service Trail Standards; Accessibility

Bob Cron of the U.S. Forest Service said that Forest Service trails generally are more rustic, and in more primitive settings. In general, before focusing on standards, there should be some analysis to identify the customer (user), trail experience, challenge level (difficulty), and site characteristics.

Standards of Forest Service guidelines are available for distribution. For more information, contact Brent Botts, at 202-205-1313.

When planning trails, think of them in an integrated fashion. Think of the old, the young, and people with disabilities. Recognize that people with disabilities desire a variety of opportunities and challenge, and want to go with friends and peers. There are different levels of disabilities.

Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) trails don't need to meet accessibility requirements, but the trail-head facilities need to be accessible. People with disabilities can use OHVs.

The Forest Service established a Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) for different kinds of trails and trail access routes. Attachment L is a Summary of Design Guidelines used by the U.S. Forest Service. There is a vacuum in standards for accessible trails, but they will be available soon. Attachment L also has an order form for the Design Guide on Universal Outdoor Recreation which should be available in early 1994. These standards are to be adopted by the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board as national standards.

Discussion: Comments, Questions and Answers

Q: Doug Evans (NPS) asked if there was an example of providing information for users to determine expectations.
A: The Accessibility Guidelines will include information on signing.

John Schmill (CA) said that California also is producing standards looking at all facilities and assigning levels of accessibility. Contact John Schmill for more information.

Q: Bruce Kerfoot (NRTAC) asked if accessibility standards apply in wilderness areas as well.
A: Yes. Built facilities must be accessible. The RTC trail manual includes universal design.

Q: Tom Cobb (NY) said that many back country trails are not in good shape. Do national guidelines create a liability issue?
A: It may be necessary to inform the public of expectations of the trail experience.

Joe Hickey (CT) said that States need a landowner liability law to withstand challenges.

Q: Dan Collins (MN) asked if Forest Service snowmobile trail standards are under consideration.
A: Snowmobile sign standards are in place in cooperation with the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators.

Q :Darrell McBane (NC) said that North Carolina uses FS standards, but would like to know what the Forest Service does for nonmotorized multi-use trails.
A: The Forest Service designs for the use on the trails, generally building to the highest standard based on use.

Successful State Trails Programs; State Recreational Trail Advisory Boards

Pennsylvania Example

Ralph Romeo explained how Pennsylvania developed its state recreational trails program, and why it had success with the NRTFA. Copies of the Pennsylvania Manual and Advisory Board report are available for distribution. Many States used Pennsylvania's process for their programs. He listed seven steps for the success of the Pennsylvania program.

1. Legislative foundation. Ralph Romeo gave a review of the parks programs culminating in the L&WCF Act of 1965. The 1960s also saw the development of new recreational equipment and organizations. The PA SCORP developed in the 1970s developed findings, issue statements, and listed actions to implement trails policies. The DER developed a trails report, guide booklet, and design booklet.

The PA trails program had a 'recipe' for its trails program, and its main 'ingredient' was a policy program procedures manual. It had a solid legislative mandate, executive directives, and specific uses for the funds.

2. The State trails plan is an element of the SCORP. The plan's objectives include: 1) Inventory, 2) Identify trail issues, and 3) Program objectives to improve trails.

3. Pennsylvania had strong State commitment towards the NRTFA. The DER and DOT consulted with each other. The DER went to the Governor with a plan, the Governor designated the DER as the lead agency, and the DER proceeded to develop the program.

4. Pennsylvania had a plan of action. The State Trail Plan provided needed information. The DER cooperated with the FHWA Division office. The DER received 87 applications for $3.5 million, but had $215,000.

5. Pennsylvania had cooperation among users and the DER provided assistance.

6. The DER created the Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Advisory Board (PARTAB). The NRTFA was a legislative mandate to develop procedures. PARTAB was very helpful in the decision-making process. PARTAB evaluates projects, and rates and ranks them.

7. The contribution and commitment from staff and upper management was important.

Alaska Example

Ron Crenshaw explained the success of Alaska's new program. Alaska used a lot of the procedures from Pennsylvania. Success often follows somebody else's success.

Alaska is the largest State in area, but has the second smallest population. Half of the population is concentrated in the Anchorage area. So it has especially unique characteristics.

No education and safety funds were requested as expected. Only one motorized project was requested. There were requests for 31 nonmotorized and 31 mixed-use projects.

The State capped grants at $10,000. It did not require any match. (Some States required some matching amount from trail project sponsors.) The State provided instructions to applicants. It received 63 applications for $565,000. State staff ranked the projects. There was only enough funding for 16 projects for $102,373. The State sent the list of rankings to all applicants to let them know which projects were successful.

Even though the State did not require a match, the NRTFA generated in-kind funds and new partnerships (since this 'soft match' made projects more competitive).

New York Example

Tom Cobb explained the operations of the New York State Trails Council. The NRTFA gave an impetus to formalize this council. The trails council has had a lot of good communication over its 12-year history.

The New York State Trails Council has bylaws, and advises the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the State DOT, and the State Department of Environmental Conservation. It has expanded representation to include four-wheel-driving, and expects to include water trails and people with disabilities. The council has open meetings, and includes involvement of key legislative staff people.

It is important for the State Trails Coordinator to be a catalyst and inform groups of what is going on, and to help set the agenda.

The trails council also is involved in National Scenic Trail issues, rail-trail corridor issues, multiple-use and historic preservation issues, and the Erie Canal. It is working on the development of a New York State Trails Plan, and is seeking model trail statutes from other States.

North Dakota Example

Marlina Walth reported on the experience of the North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department (NDPRD) with the ISTEA. The NDPRD approached the State DOT about three issues:

1. A set-aside amount of TE funding earmarked for projects identified in the North Dakota Historic Sites, State Parks, and Tourism Development Plan.

2. An opportunity to participate in a transportation enhancement funding grant process.

3. An opportunity to cooperate with the DOT on anticipated bicycle and scenic byways planning initiatives.

The DOT agreed to each of these. In addition to the funding earmarked for activities in the Tourism Plan (about 17% of the State's six-year TE apportionment), the Director of NDPRD was invited to participate on a six-member 'Director's Task Force' which rates grant applications for a large portion of the State's TE money. This task force consists of representatives from NDPRD, the State Historical Society, the DOT, the League of Cities, the Association of Counties, and the State Indian Affairs Commission.

The work that NDPRD is performing in cooperation with the DOT to complete a State bicycle plan is being funded with STP funds (80%). The match is coming from NDPRD. The two departments are now making arrangements to enter a similar agreement to complete a State scenic byways plan.

The State trails board is working to identify land management issues, and working with people. The user representatives were selected from active trail people, recommendations from others, and volunteers. They represent multiple uses and are active in user groups. Other State agencies are represented, plus the U.S. Forest Service, a private landowner, the stockmen's association, and a congressional representative. The trails board has geographic representation, diversity, and is a pro-active group.

Discussion: Comments, Questions and Answers

Q: Bernice Paige (NRTAC) noted that the Idaho Trails Council is a volunteer group. User groups appointed a person to represent them. Did New York choose its council?
A: Trails Council members are selected from leaders of trail groups. Some States receive nominations from trail user groups and select members.

Q: Bill Daehler (OH) asked if Alaska had a State trails plan.
A:The State does not have a formal State trail plan, but local groups generally had some plan, that met the goals of the SCORP.

Q: Dick Westfall (IL) asked about giving grants to non-profit organizations. Illinois won't give grants to non-profits. He wanted to know what other States were doing. There is a concern that a non-profit group may go out of existence.
A: It depends on the State. Some give grants to non-profits. There is a need to have guarantees.

Q: Tom Ross (NPS) asked two questions about the relationship of the SCORP with projects, since the SCORP is not corridor-specific. 1) Was the SCORP process adequate for the Trails Program? 2) Did any States use the 6(f) protection?
A: 1) For PA and AK, the SCORP process was adequate. NY needed some modifications; it needs a new trails component.
2) No States used the 6(f) protection.

Anne Lusk (NRTAC) asked what States can do to get future funding. Ralph Romeo answered that States need to contact the Secretary of Transportation and their entire State congressional delegation. Anne Lusk suggested that grant applicants should be asked to write to their congressional representatives to thank them for the NRTFA. Stuart Macdonald suggested giving the FHWA a list of funded projects to show a catalog of how money was used. The trails community also needs a champion to obtain contract authority for the trails program.

Debbie Schnack (MO) suggested that applicants that did not receive funding should be asked to write their congressional representatives to ask for funding. Charles Adams (MD) suggested inviting representatives to trails and planning local publicity events. Stuart Macdonald suggested inviting people to National Trails Day on June 4, 1994.

Q: Karl Honkonen (MA) asked if States needed a legislative mandate for trails programs, and if bylaws are needed for the State advisory boards.
A: Tom Cobb responded that bylaws give legitimacy and ground rules. New York believes that it needs a legislative mandate to strengthen the board.

Dan Collins (MN) said that Minnesota had $3 million in projects to rank. They saw a need for geographic diversity in project approvals. He wanted to know what other States did. Pennsylvania looked at the NRTFA mandates and developed criteria, but did not use geographic diversity.

Christina Meller (HI) asked if States are talking about the fuel tax legislation. Hawaii was having trouble justifying the fuel tax legislation. In fact, States have to provide more State money for trails than they would receive through the NRTFA.

Trail Research

Roger Moore of North Carolina State University distributed a memo about developing a trail survey and short summary entitled Managing Conflicts on Multiple Use Trails. He is trying to collect and develop data in a form that is usable for State Trail Administrators.

He asked participants to mention what would be the most important information they would like from a trail survey, for themselves, and for sending a message to the Congress. Information regarding research needs has been used to revise the survey of State Trail Administrators.

He then gave an overview of the synopsis on multiple use trail research. This study is more of a review of the literature and practice rather than information to manage trail conflict.

Discussion

Several participants commented on different kinds of trail conflict.

Trail Management and Partnerships for Multiple Use

User Partnerships

Rob Dingman of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) distributed a survey to collect information on States' off-highway vehicle programs. The MIC mailed this survey directly to all State Trail Administrators as well.

The great benefit of the NRTFA is cooperation fostered among user groups. There are new user partnerships. Off-road motorized users are willing to share and cooperate resources with nonmotorized users. Private partnerships and public-private partnerships are developing. There are new State and Federal partnerships.

The MIC developed several brochures called Right-Rider to foster better trail use and cooperation. Contact the MIC for copies at 1235 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22202. New telephone # 703-416-0444; New FAX # 703-416-2269.

As an example of a user partnership, the Coalition for Recreational Trails formed to work together to support trail funding. It has representation from motorized and nonmotorized user groups, and other trail advocacy groups.

One innovative program took place in Georgia, called Project Opportunity. This program brought organizations together to work on common goals to improve trails and provide summer employment for disadvantaged youth.

In West Virginia, the MIC is working with the Bureau of Land Management on a plan to open privately-owned land for recreational opportunities. In West Virginia, 65% of the land is owned by 20 corporations. The major concern is liability. The plan could be a model for land management agencies to help manage private land for recreational use in eastern States.

The plan would help economic development in West Virginia. Earlier in 1993, the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority sponsored a trail-riding event that was well-received by local residents in southwestern West Virginia.

Trail Management Strategies

Patricia Giorgi of the BLM Eastern States Office explained the BLM's participation in the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area in West Virginia. A brochure about this program is available. She noted two of the handouts available at the conference looked helpful for developing trail management strategies:

  1. Realizing Your Dreams - Organizational Guidelines from the Minnesota DNR, which is designed to help a group establish a new trail or other public facility.
  2. When Landowners Share... Show You Care from the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation, which encourages proper trail etiquette on private lands to keep them open for public recreational use.

The West Virginia program is a pilot effort to use large private land holdings for public recreation and to increase public recreation access to private lands. It is largely an economic development project, since this section of West Virginia is an economically depressed area. There are 600 miles (965 km) of trails under consideration. The original focus was for off-highway vehicle users, but was now for multiple use: OHV users, snowmobilers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and hikers.

This program is not talking about the government taking land, except possibly for a few trail-head facilities.

The BLM is involved because of its experience in managing outdoor recreation. Pat Giorgi gave some tips on trail management strategies based on the BLM's experience.

The BLM has expertise in understanding project planning and analysis, feasibility studies, public involvement techniques, environmental analysis, economic analysis, multiple use and conflicts, cost estimates, trail design, etc.

If the Hatfield-McCoy project works, there is more opportunity for public recreational use of private land. The main issues are liability and maintenance. Private corporations see the project as good public relations, and are looking for incentives, such as tax relief.

Discussion

Q: Joe Hickey (CT) asked what kind of arrangements there were with land owners.
A: Possibly lease easements. Most landowners are mining and timber companies, and they will want to move the trails for future mining and timber purposes.

Elizabeth Owen (BLM) said that there are new challenges, and new cooperation taking place. There is concern about local economic development, all to benefit trails.

John Schmill (CA) said that he sees economic incentives to local communities, especially in timber lands. Local communities benefit from rides in small towns.

Q: Henry Agonia asked about the BLM's specific role.
A: The BLM provides technical assistance to document the vision, and to serve as a management consultant. The MIC is funding the planning.

Q: Henry Agonia asked if this partnership can work in other areas.
A:The BLM also is looking at mountain biking needs. It is taking a pro-active approach. The BLM is trying to develop a strategy for partnerships.

Trail Collaboration

Bobbi Lipka (NRTAC Equestrian) showed a video from the National Land Use Collaboration titled, To Build a Trail: Enhancing America's Pathways. This videotape and a book are for sale from:

Susan Halbert or Kashyap Choksi
National 4-H Council
510 South Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
703-552-6733

Day 2 Closing

National Trails Symposium

Ron Crenshaw (AK) invited everybody to attend the National Trails Symposium, to be held in Anchorage on September 28 - October 1, 1994. This is sponsored by American Trails. The theme is Connecting America's Communities. There will be other meetings in conjunction with the Symposium, such as the American Hiking Society, and the National Association of State Trail Administrators (NASTA).

State Trails Program Networking

Stuart Macdonald convened a session on sharing information through NASTA. After some NASTA business, the group discussed the future of State Trails Programs.

Joe Hickey (CT) said that perhaps there was some over-emphasis on the NRTFA in the conference. Trails should continue regardless of the availability of NRTFA funds.

There was some discussion of the State Fuel Tax issue. The NRTFA's requirements need to be changed. However, States should be able to justify a trail funding anyway. Several States already fund trails with fuel tax funds or the equivalent. Several participants called for the FHWA to complete its study to help the States determine their State fuel use.

There was concern that the requirements and consequences of the FHWA's new planning regulations still were unclear regarding the NRTFA. Participants wanted clearer direction regarding the actions they need to take to move their projects forward. The final recommendation was that the State Trail Administrators need to cooperate with their State DOT.

List of Attachments

Attachment Description

  1. Agenda
  2. List of Participants
  3. Acronyms
  4. FY 1994 ISTEA Apportionments
  5. Scenic Byways Program contacts
  6. * Transportation Enhancement Activities (program guidance)
  7. Federal Lands Highway Program (description)
  8. The Planning Process (Federal Register: chart from the planning regulations)
  9. Boundaries (geographic relationships of urbanized areas, planning areas, etc.)
  10. National Park Service: Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (addresses)
  11. The FHWA Environmental Process - copies of various slides
  12. Summary of Design Guidelines used by the U.S. Forest Service
  13. Order form for the Design Guide on Universal Outdoor Recreation

* Not included in mailings to FHWA offices

Other Attachments

The following attachments were distributed at the meeting, or otherwise available at the Conference. They are provided to State Trail Administrators unable to attend the Conference.


1 With two exceptions: 1) reducing emissions from extreme cold-start conditions, and 2) programs to encourage removal of pre-1980 vehicles.

Updated: 02/12/2014
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