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By: Robert Janis

Nationaql Trails Training Partnership

The National Trails Training Partnership Helps Train Personnel to Manage Nation’s Trail Systems

The ultimate goal of training is building better trails. Photo by Cam Lockwood, Trails Unlimited
The ultimate goal of training is building better trails. Photo by Cam Lockwood, Trails Unlimited

NTTP shares information about sustainabile trail techniques. Photo by Cam Lockwood, Trails Unlimited.
NTTP shares information about sustainabile trail techniques. Photo by Cam Lockwood, Trails Unlimited.

Just like in any community, the nation’s trail system community is going through a transition. People who have worked hard to create, maintain, and manage the nation’s trails are now approaching retirement; and there is a need to educate people to replace them. That is where the National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP) comes in.

Founded in 1999, NTTP is a partnership of federal, state, and private groups who are concerned about the status of the nation’s trail system. They include the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the federal side. Also included is the American Hiking Society, American Trails, the American Motorcyclist Association, the Back Country Horseman of America, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, Leave No Trace, National Association of Service & Conservation Corps, National Association of State Trail Administrators, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, the National Recreation & Park Association, Partnership for the National Trails System, Professional Trail builders Association, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Student Conservation Association, and Tread Lightly! on the trail systems community side.

The purpose is to create training programs and communicate to the country the existence of these programs and where they are located. For example, a wide variety of training opportunities can be found at the NTTP website--www.TrailsTraining.net.

Communication is the thing. Also, NTTP uses a variety of ways to communicate and educate the public about training programs. For example, there is a calendar of training opportunities online at http://www.TrailsTraining.net: a clearing house of training contacts and information at www.AmericanTrails.org; web pages for each state that feature training providers, training organizations, and other resources; links to publications, resources and training providers; means of identifying colleges and universities who offer training programs; an on-line library of studies, research papers, theses, training manuals, design guidelines and other trail-related publications; state-of-the-art examples on planning, improving, and managing accessible trails for people with disabilities; and information sharing on trail training conferences and interagency meetings.

Not only does NTTP communicate to the community what training opportunities are available as well as all things involved in training, the group also identifies training needs and is involved in the creation of training opportunities that meet those needs. It also explores ways to identify basic skills, abilities, and knowledge needed to further the development of the skills of professionals and volunteers who already work on the trails.

All groups involved with NTTP have their own responsibilities which include identifying trail education programs and creating training and curricula materials.

NTTP also works to maintain a web-based clearinghouse of National Trails Training Information, identify trails skills experts willing to share their experiences, and determine what skill subjects are in demand and discovering where training gaps may exist.

Initiatives which NTTP is currently supporting and promoting include:

  • Georgia Trails School
Learning effective use of mechanized trail building equipment is increasingly important. Photo by Stuart Macdonald, NTTP
Learning effective use of mechanized trail building equipment is increasingly important. Photo by Stuart Macdonald, NTTP

Colorado’s Outdoor Stewardship Institute

  • Alaska Trails, Inc.
  • Two Courses for the Connecticut Forests and Parks
  • Florida Accessibility Training
  • Nevada Outdoor Stewardship
  • California Mott Training Center
  • IMBA/Subaru Traveling Training Crews
  • Volunteer Training at Tahoe Rim Trail Association
  • Tread Lightly!
  • Leave No Trace
  • Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • National Scenic and Historic Trail Organizations
  • National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
  • Accessibility Workshops at American Trails
  • Marshall University OHV Courses
  • Mountain Bike Course at the University of Guelph in Canada
  • University of Wisconsin Land Stewardship Course
  • Professional Trailbuilders Association
  • USFS Technology and Development Program
  • USFS Trails Unlimited
  • BLM National Scenic and Historic Trails Training Needs Assessment

More urgent issues the group is concentrating on now include developing clear concepts of sustainable trails, promoting the need for professionalization of trail work, standards on the local level, developing more college level courses, developing advanced training modules to complement Trails 101, offering training courses to state trails programs, and helping to sustain volunteer efforts.

NTTP subcommittees are also working to identify trails skill competencies, develop guidelines to assess training opportunities, determining characteristics of trail career paths, and help develop more interagency training opportunities.
For more information visit: www.TrailsTraining.net and www.AmericanTrails.org.

For current news and resources see the new summer 2009 edition of the American Trails Magazine available free online at: www.americantrails.org/trailtracks/index.html


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