The Future of Trails and Greenways in America

7 03 2007

Last October, I attended the National Trails Symposium in the Quad Cities.  At this symposium, members of American Trails made recommendations for the future of trails and greenways in America.  The result of this was a compilation of 10 recommendations for the future of trails in America that has been forwarded to members of the 110th Congress, the White House, key agency heads, and the national news media.

Below is the list of recommendations.  It’s very revealing how closely these recommendations mirror DATA’s goals and objectives.

1. Promote Connections In Our Communities — Trail and Greenway infrastructure that connects people and places in our neighborhoods, towns, cities and regions— readily accessible within 15 minutes walking distance of every American.

2. Create a National Trails Network/System — An integrated trails network at all levels: linking cities, states, and regions of the United States and North America, as well as trails accessing National Parks, National Forests and other public lands.

3. Commit Sustainable Funding — Ongoing, sustainable revenue stream to fund and offer incentives to create trails and greenways. Includes federal funds & programs — Transportation Enhancements, Recreational Trails Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ), National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program, USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) programs, Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), Safe Routes to School and Complete Streets.

4. Expand Environmental Education — Environmental education an integral part of a national and local school curricula at every level.

5. Associate Trails with Health and Fitness — Trails are, and should be, a significant part of community health and fitness programs.

 6. Encourage All Americans to Participate – Develop Opportunities for the American People to give back— helping to plan, fund and work on trails in our neighborhoods, parks, as well as on state and federal lands.

7. Promote Sustainable Transportation — Alternative modes of travel that lessen dependence on foreign oil and reduce CO2 emissions contributing to climate change.

8. Engage, Motivate Youth — Promote stewardship with youth conservation/trail building corps.

9. Promote Access and Accessibility — An accessible, safe system for all abilities within easy reach of all homes and places of employment.

10. Build Trail and Greenway Partnerships — Trails and greenways created as vital infrastructure working with homebuilders and developers, transportation, utility, flood and fire control agencies and others with mutual benefit.

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