American Trails Announces 2015 National and International Trails Awards Recipients

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American Trails presents the National and International Trails Awards Program to recognize the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, and other leaders who are working for the betterment of trails both nationally and internationally and in both rural and urban settings. View complete descriptions and photos of each 2015 awards recipient by visiting

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American Trails presents the National and International Trails Awards Program to recognize the tremendous contributions of volunteers, professionals, and other leaders who are working for the betterment of trails both nationally and internationally and in both rural and urban settings. These awards are presented every two years at the International Trails Symposium.

View complete descriptions and photos of each 2015 awards recipient by visiting

Trail Advocacy Awards
This award is given in recognition of successful efforts to influence public policy relating to trail planning, trail protection, trail development, or maintenance.

Silas Chamberlin, Executive Director, Schuylkill River National Heritage Area
Terri Collins, Alabama State Representative
Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Washington State mountain bike advocacy group
Roy Garrett, Founder, Discover Indiana Riding Trails
Scott Schilling, Founder and President of Transportation Recreation Alternatives in Louisiana
Bruce Stuart, President of the Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club
Archie Thompson, Volunteer Coordinator, Berkeley County Blueways

Trail Worker Awards
This award recognizes an individual that has made outstanding contributions and provided consistent support for trail planning, development, or maintenance. It is intended to recognize the efforts of a private or public sector individual working for enhanced trail recreation on either the local, state, or national level.

Tate Connor, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Emile and Rita Croteau, founding members of the Millsfield Pond ATV Club
Andrew Fulks, Board President and Founder of Tuleyome, Putah Creek Riparian Reserve Manager
Sam Jarrett, Recreation Manager for the Snoqualmie Unit of South Puget Sound
Michael Kuepper, Founder and President of Friends of the Nickel Plate
Ken Neubecker, Associate Director, American Rivers
Raymond Pellerin, Founder, Tour du Teche Kayak and Canoe Race
Jeff Potter, Trails Coordinator, Muscle Powered
Shawn Redfield, Trail Director, Arizona Trail Association
Mike Rooks, Park Foreman, Little Mulberry Park

Outstanding Media Award: Governor’s 100 Missouri Miles Challenge
This award recognizes significant and sustained efforts to provide positive public exposure and education in the field of trail use, planning, design, implementation, or policies.

In celebration of Missouri being named “Best Trails State” by American Trails in 2013, Governor Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon launched the 100 Missouri Miles Challenge in June 2013. The new initiative was designed to encourage Missourians to complete 100 miles of physical activity during the year, while promoting the outstanding trails in the Show-Me State. The campaign featured a website which allowed participants to track their miles and post photos of their outdoor experiences. As of July 31, 2014, 20,862 participants completed over 2 million miles with the Governor’s 100 Missouri Miles Challenge.

Friends of Trails Award: Michigan Trail Riders Association
This new award recognizes a friends volunteer group which has shown outstanding support of their local trail(s).

The first Friends of Trails Award is presented to the Michigan Trail Riders Association.

The Michigan Trail Riders Association maintains 500 miles of trail and 18 trail camps in partnership with the US Forest Service and Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Since its creation in 1963, the Michigan Trail Riders Association has continually worked toward developing, maintaining, and expanding a system of camps and trails stretching across Michigan. MTRA has organized over 200 trail rides in addition to hikes.

Community Service Award: Northwest Youth Corps
This award honors a trail organization that performs exceptional community service relating to but beyond trail work.

Since 1984, Northwest Youth Corps has been building trails to the future for more than 18,000 diverse young people through opportunities to improve the natural environment. Engaged in more than just trail work, youth and young adults become citizen stewards through NYC’s mix of academic, workplace, and life skill education. During the award period, Northwest Youth Corps crews supported recreational infrastructure through almost 200,000 project hours, including the construction of 30 miles of new trail and maintenance of 669 miles of existing trail.

State-of-the-Art Technology Award: Single Track, LLC
This award recognizes a trail-related product, process, or service that has significantly met a need, addressed an issue, or increased efficiency in trail design, development, or maintenance.

Trail advocate Barrett Brown designed the Single Track ST 240 to allow trail builders and land managers to keep up with their workload and complete upgrades to trails while preserving the natural setting and providing trail users with the outdoors experience they seek. The machine’s 6-way dozer blade, 32-horsepower engine, and 24-inch minimum width get tough jobs done in tight spaces—and with full remote control capability. This machine is being described as a “game changer” for trail builders and land managers.

Trails Public Service Award: Karl Knapp
The nominee must work for an agency at the federal, state, or local level and must have demonstrated significant and consistent support of trail planning, design, or implementation through strong leadership and/or legislative efforts. The nominee may be an elected official, a paid employee, or a volunteer.

Karl Knapp’s 35-year career with California State Parks has been marked by commitment, leadership, and vision. With a focus on creating solutions to trail management challenges, his trail design, woodcraft, and technical skills have enhanced countless trails across the state. Additionally, Karl has fostered a partnership between California State Parks and the California Conservation Corps to provide sustainable trails training for the next generation. His hard work and tireless advocacy have left a lasting impact in California State Parks.

Trails and the Arts Award: The City of Redmond, WA
This award recognizes outstanding public art projects, interpretive signs, or other creative structures associated with trail-related improvements.

The City of Redmond, Washington ensures that its community is inspired and connected by arts and culture by allowing artists and landscape architects to influence every park and public place. In 2013, the City began the development of the Redmond Central Connector, a 3.9-mile rails-to-trails pilot project for integrated art and landscape design. Landscape architects and artists worked together to develop the trail’s master plan with an art and design element. The City is activating the Connector for performances and cultural events.

Trails for Health Award: Get Your Tail on the Trail, presented by The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor with St. Luke’s University Health Network
This award recognizes a community’s commitment to improving access to trails and promoting their use and importance for increasing physical activity.

Get Your Tail on the Trail offered monthly events for people to be active through guided bike rides, walks, and runs on the D&L Trail. The events were dynamically promoted through both organizations via social media and television, as well as the website and trail tracker. By linking St. Luke’s healthy lifestyle expertise with D&L’s recreational and heritage leadership, the program was a success. In 2014, over 4,000 registrants tracked 340,287 miles.

Outstanding Trail Sharing Award: Northumberland County Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area
This award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems.

The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area consists of 6,500 acres of county-owned abandoned coal land whose trails have been developed into a motorized and nonmotorized recreation facility. In addition to ATV, motorcycle riding, and snowmobiling, uses include horseback riding, bicycling, and hiking. Management and operational policies are focusing on efforts to educate all visitors, whatever their recreational interest, on trail safety. Educational efforts will promote trail etiquette for every mode of travel and sharing the trails with others they encounter.

Partnership Award, Level One: American Conservation Experience and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
This award is given to a partnership which benefits agencies or services within the field of trail planning, design, or implementation. The Level One category is a partnership consisting of two entities.

American Conservation Experience (ACE) and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) of the US Forest Service have been partnering on trail projects since 2009. This partnership has enabled American Conservation Experience to provide opportunities for young adults, 18-25 years old, from around the country to engage in meaningful trail and conservation work. Between September 2013 and July 2014 these two organizations partnered together to complete a new 2.5-mile long trail. Over 50 young adults from around the country were able to gain valuable experience building a brand new sustainable multi-use trail.

Partnership Award, Level Two: City of Asheville, NC and New Belgium Brewery
This award is given to a partnership which benefits agencies or services within the field of trail planning, design, or implementation. The Level Two category is a partnership consisting of more than two entities.

The French Broad/New Belgium Greenway is located in the River Arts District, a transitioning post-industrial landscape being revitalized into one of the East’s most vibrant outdoor recreation/art/and brewery destinations. Plans are underway to build a LEED certified brewery on the 18 acre site, showcasing the greenway as a key feature. The brewery will be provide long awaited riverfront access and off-road bike/pedestrian connections. Many successful partnerships contributed to this success, including The City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County.

International Partnership Award: Red Latinoamericana de Senderismo
This award recognizes an outstanding partnership—outside of the United States—that enhances the trails movement within a specific country or countries.

Red Latinoamericana de Senderismo (The Latin American Hiking Network) was founded on October 6, 2012 during the First Conference for Planning and Management of Trails in Mercosur when various public and private institutions from Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela signed an agreement to foster democratic hiking in Latin American countries. This innovative document, called the Declaration of Piriapolis, defined the principles and bases for action of a Hiking Network in Latin America. Since its establishment, the network has developed an extensive website with resources for hiking in Latin America.

Planning and Design Award, Level One: Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway
This award recognizes a project that demonstrates outstanding planning, design, and implementation that enhances the trails movement in a specific location. The Level One category is for a project funded with less than $500,000.

Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway is a nonprofit, all volunteer organization with a mission to create a hike/bike trail along the entire 116-mile length of the Truckee River. After 11 years, the trail is 75% complete. In 2013, the organization completed the Fleish suspension bridge, a cost-effective and creatively adapted river crossing forging a unique partnership between a public utility and a trail nonprofit. Through careful planning, this is the only trail bridge needed over the river, increasing the likelihood that the entire trail will be completed within 5-10 years.

Planning and Design Award, Level Two: City of Winters, Putah Creek North Bank Trail
This award recognizes a project that demonstrates outstanding planning, design, and implantation that enhances the trails movement in a specific location. The Level Two category is for projects funded between $500,000 and $1.5 million.

The Putah Creek North Bank Trail, in Winters, California, is the public access portion of the larger Putah Creek Nature Park project. The north bank trail connects the historic downtown with the creek and surrounding neighborhoods via a trail that travels alongside the preserve. The trail was completed in 2013 and is enjoyed by numerous users every day, from children who can now ride safely from their neighborhood to downtown to the elderly who can now access the beauty of the creek because of the path’s gentle grade.

Planning and Design Award, Level Three: Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission
This award recognizes a project that demonstrates outstanding planning, design, and implantation that enhances the trails movement in a specific location. The Level Two category is for projects funded at $1.5 million and above.

The Monterey Bay Scenic Sanctuary Trail Network Master Plan defines a 50-mile network of multi-use bicycle/pedestrian trails spanning the length of Santa Cruz County, California, and spur trails connecting to neighborhoods, schools, parks, coastal access areas, transit hubs, commercial centers, and existing trails. The Master Plan merges multiple community priorities, namely separated bike/pedestrian facilities for active transportation purposes and facilities that provide coastal connectivity, into one cohesive planning document. After over a decade of advocacy, the project’s Master Plan was adopted in November 2013.

International Planning and Design: Fundacion Caminando Panama
This award recognizes an outstanding project—that occurred outside the United States—that demonstrates outstanding planning, design, implementation, or enhances the trails movement in a specific country or countries.

The Caminando Panama Foundation is working on two projects simultaneously focused on rescuing Panama’s two trans-isthmian colonial routes: the Camino de Cruces (Crosses Road) and the Camino Real (Kings Road). These Caminos are the grandparents of the Panama Canal. Until last year, sections of the Camino de Cruces had been lost for over 40 years. After searching for several months, a group funded by Caminando Panama found the Camino. Caminando Panama has continued to fund its maintenance while coordinating volunteer-based trail maintenance days to ensure public access. Legislation is being prepared that would proclaim these two Caminos National Heritage Sites.

Kids and Trails Award: Wildlands Conservancy’s Bike and Boat Program
This award honors efforts to engage children and youth in outdoor experiences using trails.

Wildlands Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust located in eastern Pennsylvania. Its Bike and Boat Program is a model of experiential Environmental Education programming and has connected tens of thousands of kids to trails for nearly fifteen years. It encourages intellectual and ethical development, personal growth, civic and social responsibility, and serves as an introduction to life-long, healthy recreational activities. Since the Bike and Boat Program’s inception, almost 40,000 participants have taken part.

International Kids and Trails Award: Pemberton Camp School
This award honors efforts that occurred outside the United States to engage children and youth in outdoor experiences using trails.

Pemberton Camp School is a residential camp school in West Australia which provides outdoor educational programs for children. The camp school collaborates with teachers to get kids out on the trail by offering week-long camps and an after school program. Students undertake outdoor education and environmental programs with a strong focus on leadership and team building. One highlight of the camp is the mountain bike program, where students enjoy on the Pemberton Mountain Bike Park single track. Additional programs also feature bushwalking, canoeing and environmental education programs.

Corporate: REI
This award honors a business or corporation which has demonstrated significant, sustained, and exemplary service to trails planning, implementation, and/or recreation.

Since 1976, REI has provided more than $44 million to nonprofit organizations to steward and enhance America’s outdoor spaces. Between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2014, REI donated $7.2 million to more than 500 local and national groups that take care of America’s parks and trails. REI’s grants provide critical support to local nonprofits that provide “hands on” care for park and trail managers nationwide. Beyond providing financial support, REI staff shows up for trail workdays to collaborate with grantees.

Best Trails State Award: State of Oregon
This award recognizes a state which is facilitating an outstanding statewide system of trails.

Since the time of the Oregon Trail, the spirit of trails has not left the State of Oregon. In 1903, the Olmsted Brothers proposed a 40-mile Loop trail of Portland; today the Intertwine proposes a 450 mile system of trail. Dr. Sam Dickens envisioned a trail along Oregon’s scenic coastline in the 1950s; today a 384 mile trail is providing millions with access to Oregon’s beaches. As early as 1899, a bike path was being discussed to connect the communities in Jackson County; now there are two regional trails being developed to connect 8 communities over 52 miles.

Oregon continues to emerge as a leader in trail planning and initiatives. Oregon was the first state to have a statewide water trails plan and the first to have state-designated scenic bikeways. Bicycling Magazine named 3 Oregon cities in the top 25 of best bike cities in America. IMBA has four Epic trails selected in Oregon. The state boasts 78 National Recreation Trails, three National Scenic Trails, and over 16 historic trails.

Oregon’s tourism slogan is “The land of dreamers.” The trails community has truly come together to realize those dreams.

Lifetime Service Award: Mel Huie
This award recognizes an individual demonstrating longstanding, significant, and exemplary service to trails planning, implementation, and recreation.

Mel Huie has been an enthusiastic supporter, advocate, and planner of trails in the Portland area for more than three decades. Mel is a founding member of the Parks and Trails Department at Metro, and as Metro regional government’s Trails Coordinator, Mel has worked on virtually every major trails project in the region.

Mel’s outstanding leadership and advocacy have increased cooperative efforts for trails, including the development of the first Parks and Trails Forum (now the Quarterly Trails Forum), managing annual trail counts, and garnering an estimated total of $25 million for local trails. Mel was also the project manager for the development of the Metropolitan Greenspaces Master Plan, adopted by the Metro Council in 1992 and still in use today. This plan details the vision and framework of a regional system of natural areas, open spaces, trails and greenways.

Throughout his career, Mel has developed an astounding network of trail supporters and advocates in the region and has showed tireless commitment to making Portland a better place to walk, bike, and live.

The Hulet Hornbeck Award: Steve Griswold
The Hulet Hornbeck Award was created by American Trails in 2006 to honor long-time American Trails Board Member, conservationist, and trails advocate Hulet Hornbeck. This award is for an individual that, like Hulet Hornbeck, exemplifies long-standing vision and wisdom in support of trails. This award is selected by the American Trails Board and is the highest honor presented by American Trails.

Steve Griswold dedicated his career in service to championing good trails practices and molding successful trail programs and crews within countless National Parks across America.

Steve produced the trail manual “A Handbook on Trail Building and Maintenance,” one of the very first published trail manuals. It is now in its 5th edition and to this day it is a reference for many National Park master plans, including Yosemite and Sequoia.

After some backcountry seasons in Yosemite, Steve went on to be Trails Foreman at King’s Canyon, Big Bend, Haleakala, Rocky Mountain, and Olympic National Park. Steve was a contributor to the Master Plans at Grand Canyon, Golden Gate, Rocky Mountain, and Yosemite National Parks. He was also a founding member of the Trails Forever Initiative at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which went on to become the largest volunteer program in the country.

Steve’s work also brought him abroad for official projects in several countries, including Taiwan, Peru, Scotland, Argentina, and Micronesia.

Steve retired from the National Park Service in 2013, but his colleagues, crews, and trails across America continue to feel the impact of his work.


American Trails is pursuing a national infrastructure of trails and greenways that serves a full range of activities. Through education, partnerships, and timely information resources, American Trails promotes the creation, conservation and broad enjoyment of quality trails and greenways that offer places of solace, health, fitness, recreation and transportation for all Americans. The organization supports local, regional, and long-distance trails and greenways, whether in backcountry, rural, or urban areas.

American Trails is the only national nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail types. Visit one of the world’s largest online resources for trails, greenways, and blueways:

For more information please visit:
2015 Awards webpage
2015 International Trails Symposium webpage

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Mary Hurton
American Trails
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