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1998 State Trail Administrators Meeting

Friday, November 13
National Trails Symposium, Tucson AZ

8:30 am - Introductions

Participants introduced themselves. There were 56 State administrators representing 41 States, plus representatives from several trail advocacy organizations. Several State administrators described projects or problems in which they are involved. Some States presented slides to highlight projects.

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds have provided a lot of new opportunities to provide and maintain recreational trails for all kinds of trail enthusiasts. For some States, the RTP is the only source of funding for recreational trails, especially for trail maintenance.

9:50 am - Break

10:10 am - TEA-21: Federal Transportation Programs

Christopher Douwes provided a general overview of the Federal-aid Highway Program, and on the bicycle and pedestrian provisions in particular. Butch Wlaschin (FHWA Federal Lands Highway Program) provided an overview of the Federal Lands Highway Program. States also are encouraged to work with Indian tribal governments within their State when considering recreational trail projects. Tribal representatives must be designated as official representatives.

10:45 am - Recreational Trails Program Discussion

Christopher Douwes moderated a discussion on Recreational Trails Program (RTP) implementation. The "National Recreational Trails Funding Program" no longer exists; it was replaced by the new Recreational Trails Program. Trail advocacy organizations such as the Coalition for Recreational Trails played a major role in the authorization of the RTP.

State Recreational Trail Advisory Committees:

Project Selection Process

There was discussion of the definition of "Diverse Use" and "Motorized Use". Alaska defines "diverse use" as trails that include both motorized and nonmotorized. Other States pointed out that, while a nonmotorized trail may be strictly nonmotorized, it is rare to have a strictly motorized trail except within site-specific motorized recreation areas.

Who may sponsor a project? The States decide. The Federal law is very broad: any public agency and any private organization may sponsor a project, but funds may not be provided to private individuals. However, a State may have its own State restrictions.

Fees: project sponsors may charge fees, but States should consider how to rank such projects in their ranking process. The project sponsor must be accountable for funding and accounting.

Other issues:

PLEASE RETURN PROGRAM GUIDANCE COMMENTS TO CHRISTOPHER DOUWES.

Youth Conservation or Service Corps--Andrew Moore, National Association of Service and Conservation Corps. TEA-21 requires the Secretary of Transportation to encourage the States to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with qualified youth conservation or service corps to perform construction and maintenance of recreational trails under the RTP (and to perform appropriate transportation enhancement activities under other Federal-aid highway programs). See handout. There is great success in States where the corps are recognized by State agencies.

12:00 pm - Lunch--Millennium Trails--Jeff Olson, USDOT Millennium Trails Program Director

Jeff Olson provided information on the USDOT's Millennium Trails Program initiative. Further information is available on the Web at www.whitehouse.gov or www.dot.gov.

Afternoon Sessions

1:00 pm - Interagency Coordination--Moderator: Jeff Cook (ID)

Sylvia Ramsey of the Maryland DOT Greenways program spoke about how MDOT works with counties and the State resource agency. MDOT looks at the geographic spread of transportation enhancement and RTP projects, and coordinates the funding from the two programs. MDOT is coordinating with Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia to connect Pittsburgh and Washington DC with a trail using the National Park Services's Chesapeake & Ohio Canal trail.

Kim Raap spoke about Wyoming's relationship with Federal agencies, especially the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service. More than half of Wyoming is Federal lands. It was difficult to find locations for RTP projects in FY 1996 and 1997 because of the 50% matching requirement; the new matching provisions will resolve this. Another difficulty is that staff turnover in ranger districts harms continuity; the new staff is unaware of work done by previous staff. Federal partnerships take a lot of work because of Federal staff decreases.

Denise Obert of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) spoke on behalf of the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) about coordination with advocacy groups. There is a need for advocacy to educate the Congress and the public about the benefits of the RTP. An event is planned for 10 June 1999 in Washington DC to highlight the RTP. This will be a part of "Great Outdoors Week" and immediately after National Trails Day. The purpose is to keep the positive benefits of the RTP within the view of the Congress to keep up support for reauthorization in the future. CRT proposed having State trail administrators represent RTP projects in their State. CRT also is interested in developing a database of projects funded under the RTP. See handouts. CRT would like to receive the comments of State trail administrators. Contact: dobert@nrpa.org or call 703-858-2184.

Other coordination issues:

2:00 pm - Statewide Trails Planning--Moderator: Dan Collins (MN)

Minnesota: Dan Collins: Minnesota's first State plan looked at rail trails and corridors that didn't match the need for trail systems around the State. The second plan asked trail advocates to look at their needs and desires instead of the State putting lines on the map. This has worked better; it was completed about six years ago. "What you want is what we'll work toward." The third plan is a $100,000 project: "Tools in a tool box":

Michigan: Hector Chiunti

Colorado: Jack Placchi

Other Planning Issues

3:00 pm - Communications for Trails Programs--Moderator: Jim Schmid (SC)

Newsletters:

Web pages

4:00 pm - The Future: How should we spend more trails money?--Moderator: Kim Raap (WY)

In many States there has been State support for nonmotorized trail groups in the past, but less support for motorized trail groups.

Vanyla Tierney, Pennsylvania: A challenge is providing motorized trails; Pennsylvania has no motorized trails in State Parks. Proposal: work more closely with OHV groups to help develop projects and generate ideas, as they have done with nonmotorized groups. A "peer-to-peer" program helps fund consultants to work with local park and recreation groups or communities. A snowmobile group asked the State to fund a statewide snowmobile opportunity assessment as part of an effort to promote winter recreation for the tourism value. Other States receive economic benefits from motorized trail opportunities.

Jeff Cook, Idaho: In the past, motorized groups in Idaho have been more organized than nonmotorized groups [in contrast with most other States]. Snowmobilers have a registration fee which funds thousands of miles of trails. The ATV and motorbike registration fee also provides funds. A recent fuel tax refund program puts additional money into motorized recreation. Five different grant workshops help around the State; the State mails information to trail groups and communities statewide. Eventually, Idaho will put all the information on the web site.

Kim Raap (WY) said we all need to work together to ensure that motorized projects are getting funded. It is important to note that the root of the RTP funding is from the motor fuel tax paid by motorized trail enthusiasts. There needs to be education of public land managers.

Kim Raap said using administrative funds to hire staff is very important to some of the States. The program guidance may need to clarify what is permissible.

Other Issues

Attendance

Alabama - Jon Strickland, Jody Smith
Alaska - Ron Crenshaw, Linda Padie
Arizona - Eric Smith, Terry Heslin, Steve Laurent, Peggy Drumm
California - Charlie Willard
Colorado - Stuart Macdonald, Jack Placchi
Connecticut - David Stygar
Delaware - Kyle Gulbronson
Dist of Columbia - Ted Pochter
Georgia - Alicia Soriano, Antoinette Norfleet
Idaho - Jeff Cook
Illinois - Dick Westfall, Mark Yergler
Indiana - Bob Bronson, Steve Morris
Iowa - Janet Ott
Kansas - Jerry Hover
Maine - Mike Gallagher
Maryland - Sylvia Ramsey
Massachusetts - Peter Brandenburg
Michigan - Hector Chiunti, Steve Kubisiak
Minnesota - Dan Collins
Mississippi - Mitzi Stubbs
Missouri - Steve Burdic, Debbie Schnack
Montana - Bob Walker
Nebraska - Larry Voecks
Nevada - Steve Weaver
New Hampshire - Bob Spoerl
New Jersey - Celeste Tracy
New Mexico - Sandra Massengill, Doris Archuletta
North Carolina - Tom Potter
North Dakota - Randy Harmon, Marni Walth
Oklahoma - Susan Henry
Oregon - Peter Bond
Pennsylvania - Vanyla Tierney
Rhode Island - Richard Tierney
South Carolina - Jim Schmid
Tennessee - Alison Brayton
Texas - Andrew Goldbloom, Kathryn Nichols
Utah - John Knudson
Virginia - Jerry Cassidy, Bob Munson
Washington - Greg Lovelady
Wisconsin - visitor from DNR in the afternoon
Wyoming - Kim Raap

FHWA Env & Plan: Christopher Douwes, Barbara McMillen
FHWA Federal Lands: Butch Wlaschin
FHWA Field: Katherine Kelly (CO), Greg Rawlings (NM)

Guests:
Jeff Olson, USDOT Millennium Trails Program
Andrew Moore, National Association of Service & Conservation Corps
Julie Kirschbaum, Beneficial Designs
Denise Obert, National Recreation & Park Association
Jack Welch, Blue Ribbon Coalition
Clark Collins, Blue Ribbon Coalition
Christine Jourdain, American Council of Snowmobile Associations
Steve Emmet-Mattox, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Pam Gluck, American Trails

Updated: 02/12/2014
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