2009 National Trails Fund Projects

2009 National Trails Fund Winners

As of 2009, the National Trails Fund has awarded more than $500,000 to grassroots organizations all over the nation working to establish, protect and maintain foot trails in America. Click on the links below to see details of the winning projects for 2009.

Anza Trail Coalition Santa Cruz County Trail Management Council

Location: Arizona

About: Protects the Mexico to Santa Cruz portion of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, which was authorized by Congress as a National Historic Trail in 1990. This portion of the trail follows the Santa Cruz River Valley, a riparian corridor rich in species and desirous by developers.

Project and Use of NTF: Construction and certification of trail on two adjacent properties. National Park Service Recreation Trail Certification requires that legally binding trail easements, liability insurance, and on-going trail maintenance plans are in place, and that design/construction features meet the highest standards. The NTF would be used for surveying and topographic mapping, purchase of gates, bridge material, signage, equipment expenses for trail construction and debris removal, and recording fees for easement documentation.


Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve

Location: Georgia

About: Elachee Nature Science Center is a private non-profit environmental education center located in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve which is part of the 2,700-acre Chicopee Woods Area Park. Elachee holds a conservation easement on 2,000 acres of the park and is responsible for conservation and natural resource management activities throughout the park. The Preserve is Hall County’s largest protected green space and one of North Georgia’s largest contiguous conservation easements. Two loop hiking trails, the Ed Dodd and the Mathis Trail, are primarily used during educational programs. Between 150 to 400 students a day visit Elachee and hike on one of these two hiking trails.

Project and Use of NTF:Support the restoration of the Ed Dodd and Mathis Trails. This project will recruit volunteers to work with Elachee staff members to relocate the trails and improve current trail conditions. Volunteers will be trained in trail building and maintenance. Volunteers and Elachee staff will work together to create safe and stable trails to be used by visitors and students of all ages. The NTF would be used for tools & equipment, materials, volunteer incentives, signage & maps, and advertising.


Continental Divide Trail Alliance

Location: New Mexico

About: The CDTA constructs, manages and preserves a non-motorized public backcountry trail along the full length of the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico and links its significant resources with the assistance of volunteers and public and private partnerships. The CDT traverses New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

Project and Use of NTF: Building a portion of the Continental Divide Trail through the Coyote Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest. This would involve establishing the tread where it has not been cut, providing drainage, and providing walk through and horse accessible gates through pasture and allotment fences, and highway rights-of-way at New Mexico Highway 96. This work will help alleviate private property crossings and provide a sustainable tread for four miles of the CDT in northern New Mexico. The NTF will be used for equipment, administrative expenses, volunteer supplies, expenses for travel to the project site, and publication and outreach materials.


Finger Lakes Trail Conference

Location:New York

Mission: The FLTC was founded in 1962 to build, protect, promote, and enhance a continuous footpath across New York State. It works in cooperation with its members and various organizations to develop and maintain a premier hiking trail system in New York.

Project and Use of NTF:In 2007 and 2008, the Finger Lakes Trail Conference and Foothills Trail Club joined forces to rebuild the Conservation Trail across the “Holland Ravines,” near Holland, NY. The Conservation Trail is one of the few outdoor recreational resources available to this part of Western New York for nonmotorized sports. This project will continue repairs on the Conservation Trail to be done by Foothills Trail Club volunteers. Volunteers will rebuild the trail across the remaining major ravines to make the entire Holland Ravines section accessible year round for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Funds are for materials to repair slopes in the “Holland Ravines” with 35-40% grades for year round use.


Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Location: Nevada

About: Friends of Nevada Wilderness works with volunteers on the ground to help monitor, maintain and restore wild areas, including the Toiyabe Crest Trail. Built in the 1930’s by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Toiyabe Crest Trail is Nevada’s first trail created solely for human powered, non motorized recreation. It is Nevada’s longest continuous trail measuring 72 miles with the last 30 miles located in the Arc Dome Wilderness.

Project and Use of NTF: The trail itself has been damaged or has disappeared in many spots due to illegal OHV use, overgrown plant life and even some of the trailheads themselves are overgrown creating parking difficulties. In places, roads lead to a dead end at unmarked and unofficial trailheads making access to the trail difficult to find. This project remedied some of these issues. The NTF would be used for project materials (safety equipment, tools, etc.), volunteer recruitment, administrative costs, transportation expenses to the worksite, and food for the volunteers.


Friends of Panthertown

Location: North Carolina

About:Friends of Panthertown formed a partnership with the United States Forest Service in January 2008 in a collaborative effort to address the unmet needs of Panthertown Valley. With help from volunteers, the Friends of Panthertown maintain trails, lead guided hikes, monitor fragile ecosystems, foster forest stewardship, develop educational programs, and collaborate with numerous user groups to resolve conflict and develop solutions over natural resource issues.

Project and Use of NTF: Due to lack of proper maps and signage, users became easily lost. The main objective of the project was to purchase and install signs at all major trail intersections. The project was supported by all user groups, as there’s been an overwhelming demand for signage for years, and all user groups will benefit greatly from the project. The project involved at least 100 volunteers, who completed all of the work. The NTF would be used to produce, distribute, and implant signs along the trail routes.


Forest Park Conservancy

Location: Oregon

Mission: To maintain, preserve, protect, and improve Forest Park so as to enhance its value as an irreplaceable asset for wildlife habitat and for the use and enjoyment of the public. Forest Park is a natural area park entirely within the city limits of Portland, Oregon. Holding over 5,000 acres of native forest, Forest Park is a unique ecological and recreational resource. The Forest Park Conservancy works in close partnership with Portland Parks and Recreation (PPR), which manages this city-owned park on a limited budget. The Conservancy’s primary areas of focus include habitat preservation and restoration, trail maintenance and trail head improvements, education, land acquisition, and public outreach.

Project and Use of NTF: This project supported of our fall Day of Stewardship, a volunteer event which culminated in trail building and restoration work on portions of the Wildwood Trail. The Wildwood Trail makes up the 30.2 miles of Forest Park’s 70 miles of trails and has been formally recognized as a National Scenic Trail. This project engaged community volunteers at 3-5 sites along the 30.2 mile trail to complete trail maintenance, set-up regular monitoring of the site to ensure success of the site projects and follow-up work if necessary, and built awareness of the Forest Park Conservancy and increase our volunteer base. The NTF will be used for trail maintenance tools, transportation costs to the worksite, administrative costs, and promotional materials.


Girl Scouts of Shagbark Council

Location: Illinois

About:Since being established in 1912, the Girl Scouts recognize that developing girls’ leadership abilities is critical for ensuring effective change-agents for the future. The Girl Scouts of Shagbark Council, serving nearly 6500 girls in a 25-county region of southern Illinois for over 45 years, has created a renewed emphasis on a new leadership model, as well as, a priority focus on environmental awareness, action/advocacy, and stewardship. The region is rich and abundant with natural resources, forests, and professional expertise to support meaningful learning and public service opportunities for youth through such partnerships as the Girl Scout Environmental Ambassador Program.

Project and Use of NTF:The Shawnee Trail Project will build upon the Environmental Ambassador Program to promote environmental stewardship, and the relationships already in place between the Girl Scouts of Shagbark Council and the Shawnee National Forest. The project included improving and promoting the Shagbark Hiking Trail, including the issues of hiker safety and trail visibility. Two foot bridges were reconstructed, the decking and railings were replaced with composite decking material (for the purposes of longevity and “green” practices), and new signage was installed along the trail. The NTF will be used for materials needed to reconstruct the bridge (drill, saw, boards, bolts, nuts, washers, etc.) and signage supplies. We will build upon the Environmental Ambassador Programto promote environmental stewardship, and the relationships already in place between the Girl Scouts of Shagbark Council and the Shawnee National Forest.The project included improving and promoting the Shagbark Hiking Trail, including the issues of hiker safety and trail visibility.Two foot bridges were reconstructed, the decking and railings were replaced with composite decking material (for the purposes of longevity and “green” practices), and new signage was installed along the trail.


Grand Trunk Trail Blazers

Location: Massachusetts

About: The Grand Trunk Trail Blazers, Inc. is an organization chartered in 1992 to provide services and support for recreation by bicycle and by foot. The GTTB has worked to support and raise funds for various trails in the South Central Massachusetts area including the Grand Trunk Trail through Brimfield, Sturbridge and Southbridge, the Quinebaug Valley Rail Trail through Southbridge Dudley and Webster, and the French River Greenway from Webster to Oxford and Thompson, CT.

Project and Use of NTF: This project is on the “Leadmine Mountain Property”, a property jointly purchased from Old Sturbridge Village in 2006 by the Town of Sturbridge and by the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. The Leadmine Mountain property is approximately 826 acres; due to its un-fragmented condition, size and location it is a very ecologically and geologically diverse piece of land. The objective of this project is to expand and build, in a phased approach, universally accessible trail systems in the Leadmine Mountain property. The project is to create a proposed Federal ABA (Architectural Barriers Act) rule compliant universally accessible loop trail on the Leadmine Mountain Property that has views of three ponds, an open field meadow and glacial rock outcrops in an area known as the old “Camp Robinson Crusoe”. The NTF would be used for construction supplies and materials needed to complete the project.


Louisville Metro Parks Foundation

Location: Kentucky

About: The Louisville Metro Parks Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with the Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Parks Department to raise funds and resources to preserve, protect, promote and improve Louisville’s recreational opportunities.

Project and Use of NTF: Volunteers will construct 2.5 miles of new hiking trail on new property within Louisville’s 6,200 acre Jefferson Memorial Forest. It will also help launch a new volunteer “Trail Crew” at the Forest dedicated to constructing and maintaining hiking and other soft-surface trails. It will provide expanded hiking opportunities for the Forest’s 150,000 annual visitors as well as the additional hikers that will utilize the Forest as two associated projects are completed: the multi-use, paved Louisville Loop Trail being constructed around Louisville and implementation of a new master plan for the Forest that is currently under development. This project will provide tools, supplies, and refreshments for volunteer project days. These tools include items necessary for trail layout and design, hand tools for trail construction, and promotional materials including trail signs and trail maps for wayfinding and to promote the new trail.


Lula Lake Land Trust

Location: Georgia

About: The Lula Lake Land Trust (LLLT) is a nonprofit conservation organization located on scenic Lookout Mountain in Northwest Georgia. LLLT owns some 4000 acres of land, dedicated to protecting and preserving the natural beauty and abundant resources of the Rock Creek watershed. LLLT provides opportunities for research and education programs as well areas suitable for outdoor recreation. Currently, there are about 15 miles of trails on LLLT property. The trails meander through upland hardwood forests and provide an avenue to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Hikers can enjoy the beauty of Lula Lake and Lula Falls, stunning views of the valleys adjacent to Lookout Mountain, and opportunities to observe the numerous plants and animals that call the area home.

Project and Use of NTF: LLLT is currently working with Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to build a new trail that will connect the land trust with Cloudland Canyon State Park. The well-visited park encompasses approximately 10,000 acres on Lookout Mountain and is located southwest of LLLT. This project focused on the work necessary to open the park after the trail and bridges have been constructed. This work includes placing trail signs, constructing an information kiosk at the trailhead, installing a gate and sign at the trailhead, and printing new trail maps. The NTF will be used for construction and placement of trail signs/blazes, trailhead kiosk with maps, and a trailhead gate and sign.


Mahanoy Creek Watershed Association

Location: Pennsylvania

About: Located in Pennsylvania’s Eastern Middle field of the Anthracite coal region, the Mahanoy Creek is a 54-mile long stream that is part of the lower Susquehanna River Basin and Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Mahanoy Creek Watershed Association (MCWA), founded in 1998, is an organization dedicated to remediating environmental damage associated with 150 years of anthracite coal mining and promoting the stream as a valuable recreational and educational resource.

Project and Use of NTF:Water quality in the Mahanoy Creek has been severely degraded by the Anthracite Coal Mining Industry. The proposed Bolich Hiking Trail lies adjacent to Mahanoy Creek and the 1.5 acre Bolich Project, a passive wetland treatment area that receives approximately 500 gallons of AMD impacted water per minute. Water enters the wetland area with 16 mg/L of iron and leaves with 0 mg/L. It is our goal to construct a one-mile hiking trail along the Mahanoy Creek at the Bolich property. We propose a road 10 feet wide and 1 mile long, built on a 12” bed of base material and capped with 2” of limestone. This limestone capping will add an alkaline leachate to the creek, increasing the pH and contributing to abatement of the acidity problem. The NTF would be applied towards costs associated with obtaining the 600 tons of limestone capping material needed for the walking surface (including transportation fuel costs).


Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

Location: Washington

About: The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust was formed 18 years ago to build a vision for conserving a natural landscape and for protecting the lands that stretch across the Cascades from Seattle to Ellensburg, Washington. This project will accomplish much needed trail renovations on the Granite Mountain Trail, one of the signature trails of the Mountains to Sound Greenway and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington State. Located within Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, the trail climbs 3000 feet in 3.1 miles to reach a lookout atop Granite’s summit.

Project and Use of NTF:Trail renovation work will focus on the most heavily impacted areas within the wilderness which have degraded due extremely heavy use and inadequate maintenance. Conservation crews and Greenway volunteers will install water-bars, dip drains and ditching, rebuild erosive switchbacks, re-excavate trail tread, and install rock check dams and rock steps to halt erosion and restore trail braids. The project will address trail drainage and tread instability issues, will enable repairs to damaged meadows, and will ensure user safety. The NTF will be used for administrative costs, equipment needed for trail maintenance, camping equipment and supplies for volunteers.


Nacimiento Medical Foundation

Location: New Mexico

About: Nacimiento Medical Foundation (NMF) is an organization that has served Cuba with public and school health, nutrition, and client assistance services since 1988. It provides services to Cuba’s health department office, WIC nutrition program, food pantry, community garden, food/shelter/utility/prescription medication assistance program, Medicaid certification, and financial literacy training. Funding comes from the New Mexico Department of Health, United Way of Central New Mexico, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, New Mexico Primary Care Association, and donations.

Project and Use of NTF:This project completed a nature trail at Cuba’s St. Francis of Assisi Park, the vital “hub” of Step into Cuba, which is an ambitious multi-year plan to use Cuba’s remarkable natural environment to create walkways and trails, encourage and engage individuals and organizations in a shared goal of healthy exercise, develop and improve St. Francis of Assisi Park as the hub of walking activity, and help create a healthier local economy. The park has a partially planted a one mile perimeter with stunning views of the nearby Jemez Mountains and Cuba Mesa. There is also a picnic area, recreation center, and playground. Funds were utilized to purchase tools, install signs, purchase volunteer incentive gifts (t-shirts, water bottles, etc.), and for promotional materials.


Ouray Trail Group

Location: Colorado

About: The Ouray Trail Group (OTG) is a non-profit organization whose mission encourages safe, enjoyable hiking and related low impact activities in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. Since its founding in 1986, OTG’s mission has been the protection of the beauty and resources of this area through educational efforts such as yearly Trail Days in conjunction with National Trails Day.

Project and Use of NTF:This project worked on the completion of the Ouray Perimeter Trail, a 4.2 mile hiking only trail that completely encircles the small City of Ouray, population 900. Twelve longstanding trails lead upward from inside the city limits; the Ouray Perimeter Trail connects them all, beginning and ending at the Ouray Visitors’ Center on the north side of town. The project constructed a needed tunnel light, and inserted treated timbers and drilled steel into its steep exit path. The NTF would be used for timber and steel for the exit path and a solar panel and LED lights for the tunnel.


Palmetto Conservation Foundation

Location: South Carolina

About: The Palmetto Trail is the signature project of Palmetto Conservation Foundation. When completed, it will traverse South Carolina for at least 425 miles from the mountains to the sea, forming a spine for a network of trails. The Palmetto Trail begins at Oconee State Park in the northwest corner and runs to the coast near Awendaw. Our newest and the 20th passage of the Palmetto Trail is the Croft Passage which was opened on National Trails Day, June 7, 2008. Total miles open to hikers on the Palmetto Trail is 286. Bikers and equestrians are also able to enjoy the trail although they do not have full use of the entire length.

Project and Use of NTF:This project will focus on the River Street Trestle. At 613 feet, this trestle is the longest of the trestles that cross Crims Creek and the highest. The trestle will need the replacement of several rotted cross ties, redecking, and the installation of handrails. Construction on the trestle could begin as soon as funds are released and would not take more that a few months using volunteer time and labor. The NTF would be used to purchase lumber needed to complete the River Street Trestle.


Potomac Appalachian Trail Club

Location: Maryland

About: Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to preserving trails and land, promoting outdoor activities related to trails and educating the public on responsible use of the trails. The club manages more than 1,200 miles of hiking trails in the Mid-Atlantic region, along with cabins, shelters, and hundreds of acres of conserved land and educates the public on “Leave No Trace” (seven ethics to reducing a person’s recreational impact on nature), hiking leadership, backpacking, wilderness first aid, and plant and animal species inhabiting the ecosystems along the trails.

Project and Use of NTF:The Student Trail Steward program was created in 2007 by PATC and Northwood High School (NHS) in Silver Spring, MD, created the Student Trail Steward program, an environmental education program that provides field experience for juniors and seniors and teaches them how human recreational use of natural surface trails impact the trail and the surrounding ecosystem. Through hands on experiences in the Student Trail Steward program, students learn both to spot the impact human recreational use of an urban park and its natural surface trails has had on the park’s deciduous ecosystem, to repair the damage to that ecosystem, and to become stewards of the land. Two seasoned and certified educators, one from PATC and the other from NHS, collaborate to teach and evaluate (using the numerical grading system) what students learn and how they perform from numerous projects. This project will attempt to replicate the great success of the program during the 2009-2010 school year. The NTF would be used for administrative costs, identification and other books, GPS navigator, binoculars, transportation expenses, permits to collect specimens, food, and other science class and miscellaneous materials.


Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition

Location:North Carolina

About: The Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition is regional organization whose mission is to protect and restore the wildlands, waters, native forests and ecosystems of the Southern Appalachian landscape, including the Fires Creek Basin. The Fires Creek Basin is located in the Tusquitee Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina. Fires Creek contains a robust hiking trail system that includes a 25.5-mile trail known as the Fires Creek Rim Trail, which encircles the entire basin. The Rim Trail also connects to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail via the 22-mile long Chunky Gal Trail, and also connects to the 137-mile Bartram Trail. This connectivity offers backpackers the opportunity to experience a number of different multi-day circuit hikes involving the Rim Trail.

Project and Use of NTF:While our short term goal is to perform trail work including blowdown removal, tread work, and brush removal in the area to clear the maintenance backlog and allow increased accessibility to the area, our longer term goal is to facilitate the acquisition of the in-holding by the US Forest Service. The NTF will be used for costs associated with trailwork and public education efforts including administrative costs, expenses for travel to the worksite, and promotional materials.


Southern Conservation Trust


About: Southern Conservation Trust is a nonprofit community land trust founded by local Peachtree City, Georgia residents in 1993. The Trust protects environmentally sensitive land, valuable wildlife habitat and scenic greenspace in the fast growing counties south of metro Atlanta, and manages and protects over 1,300 acres, including four donated preserves, including two local nature areas – Flat Creek Nature Area in Peachtree City and Line Creek Nature Area, on the border of Fayette and Coweta counties.

Project and Use of NTF:After eleven years of usage and weather damage, trail signage needs to be replaced and trail maintenance is needed at Line Creek Nature Area in Peachtree City, Georgia, a 70-acre preserve bordering Fayette and Coweta Counties that features a beautiful rushing creek, rock outcroppings, scenic rocky shoals, a civil war era bridge ruin, remnants of a moonshine still and a fishing pond. In addition to trail signage, the Trust requests $1,165 in funding for trail maintenance, trail brochure and operating expenses. The NTF would be used for signage, promotional materials, operating expenses, and equipment needed for trail maintenance.


Upper Valley Land Trust

Location:New Hampshire

About: The Upper Valley Land Trust is a regional land conservancy serving 44 Vermont and New Hampshire towns in the Connecticut River valley and has conserved 385 parcels of private and public land encompassing over 38,000 acres and will manage the Clay Brook Trail Improvement Project. Well-known in the rural town of Lyme, NH, the Clay Brook Trail is a connectivity gem for local hikers and outdoor enthusiasts in the beautiful Upper Valley of the Connecticut River. Though the trail was primarily created for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, equestrian use and biking are also currently permitted on certain sections.

Project and Use of NTF:This project made improvements to a public trail that crosses several conserved properties. This included construction of two wooded foot bridges to cross the drainages along the stretch of trail that parallels Clay Brook, maintaining overgrown vegetation, and constructing a turnpike to raise the trail above the specified wet area. The NTF would be used for equipment and tools needed for construction (shovels, stone, gravel, lumber, etc.) and maintenance (brushcutter and loppers).


Volunteers for Outdoor California


About: Volunteers for Outdoor California (V-O-Cal), a nonprofit based in San Mateo County, California, and founded in 2006, organizes volunteers for trail construction, trail maintenance and habitat restoration activities on public lands.

Project and Use of NTF:The 702-acre Fernandez Ranch property is historically ranchland and is situated at the agriculture/urban interface boundary in Contra Costa County, CA. V-O-Cal’s Fernandez Ranch Trail Project, a partnership with the Muir Heritage Land Trust, the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and the East Bay Regional Parks District, is a key element in the successful completion of the larger, multi-year conservation effort that began with the acquisition of the property. On National Trails Day Weekend, Jun 6-7, 2009, over 200 V-O-Cal volunteers combined forces to build 3 complete trails, amounting to roughly two miles of new trail in a previously inaccessible area. The trails completed in this project are sustainable natural surface paths, and include the installation of several small footbridges and armored crossings. The NTF will be used for administrative costs, transportation costs to the worksite, equipment costs, food, and promotional materials.


Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona


About: Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona (VOAZ) was established to promote stewardship on public lands in Arizona, and over the past few years has developed into a leading non-motorized trail planning/building organization with a trail crewleader certification program.

Project and Use of NTF:The Jug Trail is the only access trail into an extremely popular canyoneering slot canyon. This project rebuilt and reinforced a section of the trail damaged by rain, and reestablished signage that was damaged or stolen. VOAZ volunteers hiked 2.5 miles (downhill going in) to the work area with tools and personal items (the trail is partly in the Salome Wilderness and motorized vehicles are prohibited). The trail was hand-built using native rock and soil. Burlap (degradable) bags reinforced the tread and drains where necessary. After working for 8+ hours on the exposed hillside, the volunteers hiked back out to the trailhead. The NTF will be used to purchase of burlap sand bags, signage, portable shelter, and tools.


Watershed Association of the Tellico River


About: The Watershed Association of the Tellico Reservoir (WATeR), is an all volunteer, not-for-profit organization working in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority to promote the protection and improvement of the environment of the Tellico Reservoir Watershed. The primary mission of the Trails Committee is to develop a network of non-motorized hiking trails in the Tellico Reservoir Watershed for recreational, educational and conservation purposes. The trails system features the East Lakeshore Trail that is being constructed entirely by volunteers on TVA public lands traversing the eastern shoreline of Tellico Lake.

Project and Use of NTF:A 16-foot timber bridge was created to span a ravine of an intermittent stream on the 4.4 mile Sinking Creek Branch of the trail. Also constructed were two small wood bridges, water bars, timber stair treads, several small plank bridges, a boat landing area, benches at scenic view sites, mile posts, and a trailhead kiosk bulletin board. The NTF would be used for materials for bridge construction, water bars, boat-landing bollards, trail benches, and treated timber for stair treads and trailhead kiosk construction.