State administrators discussed various nationwide trail-related issues in several workgroup sessions. They developed recommendations that will benefit the RTP and trails in general.
Many of these issues require long term involvement, and many steps may need to be taken to follow through on each project. We appreciate your participation and look forward to working together to help keep the RTP running successfully!
On this page: (come back for updates)
What content would go into an RTP Clearinghouse?
Geographic representation of where the project is located
Create a Searchable Project Database similar to CRT.
Additional Content / Questions
Tips for Grant Writing
How to develop a successful Project rather than a fluff application
Events Section and Links
Title: Need new title
Multiple use on trails
Reflect a more broad base of research
There is too much bias from various groups; requires a team approach to avoid perception of bias.
Possible bidders: universities
Emphasize positive working relationships
Positive suggestions rather than YOU MUST
Who is target audience?
MATRIX of uses
Method for collection--ask people for case studies
How to Implement?
State Trail Administrators Meeting -- October 20-21, 2004 Austin, TexasQuestions for discussion:
Questions raised for further input:
-- With RTP should be able to use either Safety/Education or Admin funds *** Christopher: Need to clarify FHWA policy on funding training.
RTP Clearinghouse should address training too. Problem is not the individuals, UT tries to have USFS people come teach staff that are coming in each year. Don't have enough trainers for the students. Have sent people to out of State training. Bringing Cam Lockwood out to put on trail machine training. Bringing California people to come out to do four day design and layout school. Bringing Troy Scott Parker to do his trail design class. Need five people to do training for 30 people. Funds coming from USFS, from State funds, from RTP trail safety funds. Have been told they can't use admin funds.
Nevada need to have multi-use training, not sure about using IMBA. UT and NC don't have a problem with IMBA training. MS was not contacted directly by IMBA when training scheduled in state.
Training facilities are another important way to make training available: need a place where you can go from classroom to trail and back again. NC has whole list of specific training needs. Need on the ground training, not just classroom. Developing a plan to purchase land and develop a school for trails training.
Teri Gimbell: Colorado Outdoor Training Initiative. Began several years ago with discussion on how to address training needs. Now 39 members of COTI. Goal to get training on the ground in 2004. First classes are basic crew leader training. Several modules in two day training Construction safety, maintenance, safety. Training binder/lesson plan is an instructor manual. Members contribute time or money.
COTI will develop certification for some training categories and for instructors. Will help with career development.
Scott (USFS Missoula Technical Center):
See the Trail Bridge Catalog they have on the web. Here is an example of specific technical training on topics that trails people need to deal with.
USFS Missoula plans these resources on their website:
Several States also suggest updating many of the USFS books with current information.
North Carolina pays people to do the on the ground work at the same time as they are doing the training of local people. Might charge out of State people to attend.
It's cheaper to bring the trainers to the State than it is to send people to another State for training. And potential benefit of getting work done while they are doing the training.
Every State has done IMBA training or has them scheduled; IMBA brings the training to the state. NOHVCC also brings training as part of State workshops.
Another idea: use training as the core of a State trails conference
NV: why not develop a national RTP trail training cadre. You could call up just like IMBA and get the workshops. Perhaps coordinate with State trails conferences.
-- could fund with attendee fees
UT: Huge investment in paved trails. We need better standards and specifics on bidding out trail paving. Hold a trail paving school to work with bike/ped programs, help trails people understand choices with paving.
John Schmill (CA): do we try to do everything? Who is the customer? What kinds of training are the priority? What are we trying to accomplish? Or develop as need comes up? What is reasonable and doable.
Teri: come up with the needs. Needs vary with States and climate.
Could offer different types of training as appropriate on a rotating basis, and depending on what different States need.
Management and maintenance are also important
Use new technology and best practices.
RTP grant customers
Other training alternatives?
Motorized projects: include percentage to do training?
Communicating from the providers to the States
** feedback to IMBA: communicate with State Trail Programs
States are essential to the communication process between training providers and local/state trail users, communities, and agencies
Train the trainer programs (see the Tread Lightly! program)
Christopher could fund training for new State Trail Administrators
Could do the training and pay for it if FHWA was doing it
Make a day of training as part of STAM each year
It's related to grant administration: how to select good trails, construction, surfaces, appropriate design/use.
State admin funds:
State trail conferences to benefit administering the State program
Discussion Leaders: Shannon Dumolt, FHWA Oklahoma; Brian Vachowski, USFS, MTDC
Working Group Members:
|Paula Fortin, FHWA Maine||David Bartoo, Delaware||Greg Bischoff, Wyoming|
|Jessica Terrell, Missouri||Tom Metsa, Colorado||Brigit Brown, Wisconsin|
|Jim Radabaugh, Michigan||Scott Groenier, USFS, MTDC|
Goal of Discussion:
To identify trails technology and technology transfer opportunities that would be beneficial to State Trails Administrators. In some cases, these needs might be met through cooperative efforts between FHWA and USFS Technology and Development Program.
Twenty items were identified. There was only limited discussion about each item, and the group only set a priority for the first 6 (High, Medium, or Low) before running out of time. There was no opportunity to present these items to the rest of the Administrators at the meeting, or to solicit additional ideas from them. After-the-meeting comments have been added by recorders Brian Vachowski and Scott Groenier on some of the items.
1. (Low) Boltless McLeod fire rake
Newer versions of this fire fighting tool have the metal end of the tool fastened to the handle with a bolt through the bottom. For raking, this isn't a problem, but for tamping, which McLeods are used for in trail work, the bolt leaves a "bump" in the finished surface. For trail work, the old design was better.
Comments from Brian Vachowski: MTDC's fire program developed the specifications for the McLeod. To meet the GSA contract specifications, the company switched to the bolted model, and no longer manufactures the old version, and is unlikely to resume manufacturing them due to tiny demand from trail crews vs. fire fighting orders. Comments from Jim Miller - have crew, local high school class, or local welder, weld the rake to the handle and then remove the bolt.
2. (Low) Austin Rock Sling -- Manufacture in Bulk
Steve Austin with the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado has come up with a good system for moving rocks with a couple of people. The information is readily available, but it would be good if this was a manufactured product.
3. (Medium) Evaluation of Mechanized Trail Equipment
It would be desirable to have mechanized trail equipment tested, evaluated, and priced so potential purchasers will have more than vendor's claims to help them with their purchasing decisions.
Comments from Brian Vachowski: The upcoming Mechanized Trail Equipment Web Site will help identify equipment that is available and how to contact the manufacturer, but it will not evaluate the equipment. By law, Federal agencies like the FS and FHWA cannot publicly endorse or recommend one manufacturer over another. Comments from Jim Miller - can the new site also list some sites that have the equipment on-hand? Can they serve as a reference for potential buyers without being in violation of law?
4. (High) Update the Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook
There was some discussion that this widely available publication would benefit by having parts of it updated. In particular, there are changes to the trail bridges, geosynthetics, and OHV trail hardening sections that might improve the notebook. State Trail Administrators might provide comments on other sections needing revision.
Comments from Brian Vachowski: The notebook has received only minor updating since it was first released in 1996 because we did not want to have to reformat the entire report and because it seemed to be up-to-date. If parts of it are becoming outdated or if supplemental chapters are needed, a revision could certainly be done. Comments from Jim Miller - my understanding is that notebook was done primarily as a source for nonmotorized trails. While all trails have some similarities, adding in motorized trail components would make the notebook considerably thicker.
5. (Low) Mechanized equipment less than 36" wide that constructs complete trails
For narrow trails, it would be nice to have a narrow piece of equipment that could do the whole job. Most equipment is wider than 36 inches.
Comments from Brian Vachowski: The upcoming Mechanized Trail Equipment Web Site will help identify equipment that is less than 36 inches, but about the only equipment that fits the bill that I know of is the Morrison Trail Blazer, a machine that has been around for many years but is safe only in the hands of professional operators due to its tendency to tip over. A few trail contractors still use them. Comments from Jim Miller - very low need.
6. (High) Robust trailer to pull behind an ATV
Comments from Brian Vachowski: There are several excellent trailers on the market, and these will be identified in the upcoming Mechanized Trail Equipment Web Site. One new product that resulted from a T&D project is the Putnam Bogie and Putnam Bogie Rolloff that helps to fill the identified need (www.putnambogie.com).
7. Abutment design for ADM bridges
Temporary prefabricated steel bridges (like those made by ADM Company) are installed on snowmobile trails where it is not possible to construct permanent abutments because permanent easements have not been acquired or desired. The bridges sink into the mud before they can be removed. We need some sort of temporary abutments that can be removed along with the bridges.
Comments from Scott Groenier: Keeping the loading on the abutments down to 1000 lbs/sq. ft., and installing precast concrete or wood laminated sills that could be removed, with backwalls and fill to hold it in place, would help meet this need.
8. Ready availability of standard trail bridge designs
It would be nice to have standard bridge designs available for simple bridges instead of having to have each bridge designed or signed off by a bridge engineer.
Comments from Brian Vachowski: Perhaps more could be done by updating the existing Trail Bridge Catalog Web Site or by otherwise making more available the standard designs that do exist. Some of our FS bridge engineers have mentioned the need and desirability of updating the web site with some of the approved designs and other information. This topic is a touchy one with our FS bridge engineers because of the risk of both liability as well as bridge failures that can result in injury or death.
Comments from Scott Groenier: In the Forest Service, Regional bridge engineers exercise strict control over who can approve trail bridge designs because of the issues described above. There is limited approval in some Regions for use of standard trail bridge designs, usually only after being reviewed and approved by the Forest Engineer. There is great reluctance to have the standard designs available to everyone over the Internet without proper controls to ensure they are not misused.
9. Good decking materials for snowmobile bridges
The carbide studs and "paddle wheels" on modified snowmobiles are tearing up bridge decks, especially in the Northeast.
Comments from Scott Groenier: Placing untreated running planks as a wearing surface over the decking is the most common solution to this problem. These can easily be replaced when they wear out. Use of white oak for decking is another practice that will help ensure longevity because it resists wear.
10. State involvement in national FS OHV signing policy decisions
State trail administrators need to be involved in the development of the Forest Service's OHV signing policies.
Comments from Brian Vachowski: New national policies for signing OHV trails have been developed, and will be implemented this year . Donna Sheehy has coordinated these efforts, and says there has been some State involvement.
11. Shelter designs for long distance hiking trails
It would be nice to have designs for structures like those on the Appalachian Trail and elsewhere readily available to others. Designs with accessibility in mind (3 standard designs) would be especially useful.
Comments from Scott Groenier: Along with accessibility, there are concerns with snow loading, and conformance with building codes in the different jurisdictions where such structures are found. Comments from Jim Miller - recommend checking with Appalachian Trail Conservancy (formerly Appalachian Trail Conference) for design. Check with Regional Engineers for building code compliance.
12. Clearinghouse of information for trails
Having trail information readily available would be helpful. Not discussed in depth because this was the topic of another work group.
Comments from Jim Miller - a trail "searchable bibliography" is at www.americantrails.org. Motorized information is available at www.nohvcc.org. Additional bibliographies are available at university libraries.
13. Update Geosynthetics for Trails in Wet Areas
This report from MTDC is outdated and could benefit from a major rewrite to capture all that is new in the world of geosynthetics for trail applications.
Comments from Brian Vachowski: MTDC does not plan to reprint the existing version because it is out of date. Revising it would make a good project.
14. Video/DVD for geosynthetic applications on trails
People working on trails relate to visual training, and geosynthetic applications would be a good topic.
15. Trail standards for different trail uses
It would be helpful to identify the standards that different types of trails are to be designed and built. Snow trails were mentioned as an example of need for standards. Comments from Jim Miller - completion of the TRACS Field Guide is a national FS priority and would help in this endeavor for other trail management.
16. Improved iron ranger (fee collection tube) design
The fee collection tube design put out by MTDC a few years ago still is not meeting the need.
17. Trail gate designs
Comments from Brian Vachowski: San Dimas T&D Center is finishing up a report about different types of trail gates and barriers. A new project not yet started is to come up with designs that allow accessibility yet stop certain classes of traffic. Comments from Jim Miller - it is unfortunate, but any gate that allows a 32" width wheelchair through or around is also readably accessible by motorcycle users if they desire.
18. Accessible gate designs
See note for #17.
19. Consistency and availability of trail mapping information
The trail information we provide to the public should be readily available to them and be consistent among agencies and within agencies so it is understandable.
Comments from Jim Miller - Engineering is working on national mapping standards that may prove useful in responding to this concern. In addition, the Data Warehouse systems being worked on should be useful. The use of National Geographic Trail mapping services may also prove useful to many by allowing printing of the sections of map you really want, rather than acquiring many quads. The ongoing FS OHV work will be providing consistent mapping standards for motorized trails.
20. Simple guide to trail surfacing materials
A short description of trail surfacing materials and how to specify these materials in different parts of the country would be helpful. Additionally, explaining in a general way the type of surfacing that might be expected to work best in certain applications or soil types would be helpful.
Comments from Jim Miller - Just need to add this simple course in "soil science" to the Trails Management Course!
Rebecca Brown (VT)
Goals/Commitments - We've established a long-term Working Group to begin the process of developing Information Gathering Standards. Our first step will be to put together a questionnaire and send it out to all State Trail Administrators. We intend to follow-up with phone calls if necessary. The goal of the questionnaire is to get a comprehensive listing of all data elements which each State wants/needs to capture.
The Working Group will convene via conference call/e-mail to discuss the results of the questionnaire. We will determine where there is overlap in needed data and where there is disparity. We will propose a standard set of information for each State to capture.
The next step will to get buy-in from all the States so they can start the process of gathering data for projects from the inception of RTP to the present. Or, at least they can start gathering data for current and future projects in a way which is consistent to the Info Standards and other States. We will look closely at our "Standards" and make a concerted effort to match them up with the new Trail Data Standards developed by NPS, BLM, USFS, and USFWS.
At this point in time the only data captured in the RTP database (CRT database) is for RTP related projects only. Does it makes sense to allow, encourage, or make space available for States to submit trail data for trails funded with other monies.
Q: Does each State have a similar method of collecting data?
A: No. Some States have paper records, others electronic data. States don't capture a standard set of data, rather each State collects different data depending on staffing, time, resources, technology, and lack of State-to-State communication/cooperation. Some States only will collect financial data and basic project related data. Others collect more comprehensive data including accessibility, trail features, use types, grade, width, etc.
Q: What data should be captured if any?
A: Up for discussion in Working Group.
Q: Does the CRT database act as a sufficient resource to promote and record State trail data?
A: No. At this point in time the CRT database does not serve as a convenient, easy, user friendly, efficient, or comprehensive data source.
Q: Currently there is no legal requirement for States to submit or report trail information to any Federal entity. Would there by any benefit to the States to capture their RTP-funded trail data into a national database?
A: Up for further discussion in Working Group.
Q: Who should be responsible for designing, developing, hosting, and managing such a large database? Feds? Contractor? Other options?
A: Up for discussion in Working Group.
Q: What information should be gathered to make the database useful? Can all States agree on a set of data to collect. What data should be available to the public vs. State administrative eyes only?
A: We intend to develop and send out a questionnaire to all States to answer these questions.
Q: Can the State have more control of their entries into the database. Can there be an option where individual State admins or representitives enter their own data into the database? What security issues arise? Will there be a need for Federal/State review before a live posting of new data?
A: States in the Working Group have expressed interest in entering their own data directly into the database. Security issues are dependent on where server is located and who manages the database.
Q: What data should not get collected?
A: Be sure to add this question to Questionnaire.
Q: Do States have electronic or paper records, or both?
A: Be sure to add this question to Questionnaire. But through our discussions and speculation there is no standard method for collecting or storing data. Also, some States may have paper records for data gathered in the early 1990s, yet have upgraded to electronic systems as technology becomes available.
Q: Should we collect data for RTP projects only or can States add trails funded by other means?
A: Depending on the funding source, but most likely to include only RTP-funded trails. However, the database may be more useful to the public as well as to the States if we allow inclusion of all trails in the Statewide trail system. (Publicity)
Q: Should we collect data for approved projects only?
A: Be sure to add this question to Questionnaire. During our discussions there was agreement for being able to include unfunded projects to help convey the message that the demand is greater than the funding available.
Q: Is there a way to convey the message that qualified applications are being submitted and rejected due to lack of RTP funds? And the number grows year by year, which shows user demand exists.
A: Same discussion as above.
Start gathering info at the application process.
Goal: Identify sources of affordable liability insurance for trail clubs, agencies, private landowners who allow recreation on their property in all 50 states.
Objective 1) Achieve goal for OHV programs
Objective 2) Assess need for affordable liability insurance for nonmotorized trail clubs, agencies, private landowners.
PLEASE: Fill out or have your States OHV Program staff complete the survey. Many of you received it yesterday; you should receive it by e-mail from Alex in the near future. This entire effort is dependent upon your information!
November 30 to Alex
Office of Greenways and Trails
Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection