2011 National Trails Fund Projects

2011 National Trails Fund Winners

As of 2011, 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. Scroll down to see details of the winning projects for 2011.

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative

Location: Colorado

About: To preserve and protect Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks—the “Fourteeners”—through volunteer stewardship and public education.

Project and Use of NTF: CFI volunteers will complete heavy re-construction of the first 600 feet of the Grays Peak National Recreation Trail. This section of trail passes through alpine willows wetland, and has become heavily degraded due to soil erosion, and wood structures have worn and been warped by frost heave and heavy use. CFI will construct and repair 600 feet of trail turnpike, a type of raised trail structure used through wetland areas involving logs, soil/rock fill, drainage structures, and geotextile (landscape) fabric. The existing turnpike on this section of trail is plagued by a lack of appropriate erosion control, sections damaged by frost heave and heavy use, and subsequent heavy soil erosion, which has exposed the existing base layer of landscape fabric. CFI will use several sections of the existing structure, replacing portions that have been worn or damaged. A new layer of geotextile fabric will be laid down to separate trail surface materials from mixing with the organic and high-water content soils beneath. On top of this, a layer of crushed rock topped with crusher fines will be stable, durable, and rustic/natural-appearing surface. An additional 60 check steps will be added to prevent re-erosion of trail surface materials, increasing the longevity of the turnpike. Existing drainage culverts will be cleared of debris and re-set to allow for natural water drainage under the turnpike. Volunteers will also build check steps to control soil erosion and close/restore off-trail impacts on a section further up the trail.


Butler Outdoor Club

Location: Portersville, PA

About: The Butler Outdoor Club promotes outdoor education and provides year-round outdoor activities in Western PA and surrounding areas. These activities are geared for all levels and are designed to provide recreation and foster a better understanding and responsible use of the outdoors.

Project and Use of NTF: The BOC will install 26 signs over 29 miles on the North Country Trail. These signs will show mileage between points, road access and points of interest. Material will be a Corian-type solid surface or a non-porous laminate; both of which allow for the easy removal of graffiti.


Friends of Deer Creek

Location: California

About: Their mission is to promote community stewardship and scientific knowledge of watersheds through monitoring, research, restoration and education.

Project and Use of NTF: The goal is to install directional signage along the nine mile Tribute Trail in the Deer Creek watershed. The trail has received funding from two state agencies and is eagerly awaited by the local community. When complete, it will fill a recreational void in the beautiful historic Gold Rush town of Nevada City by providing an extensive system of hiking trails originating downtown, and by connecting the town to the largely inaccessible creek in its midst. The trail begins downtown and follows the creek downstream for several miles along both banks. Funding for directional signage for the trail on River Right has been secured, and the design completed. The current proposal would fund signage on River Left. The trail makes use of existing country lanes, downtown streets, irrigation ditch trails, and stretches of new trail. Because of the mix of trail types, following the trail as intended will require clear directional signage. Private development in the watershed prevents public access to much of the creek, and the increase in pedestrian traffic resulting from the trail project has caused concern amongst landowners about possible trespass by people straying from the trail. Directional signage is necessary to prevent such conflicts. We will use the NTF to install directional signage for the Tribute Trail, a community trail currently under development within the Deer Creek watershed in Nevada City, California. Directional signage remains unfunded for the final three miles of the trail. This project constitutes the final piece of directional signage for the overall project.


Great Eastern Trail Association

Location: Virginia

About: The Great Eastern Trail (GET) provides a premier hiking experience on a series of existing trails that are being linked to each other into a long-distance footpath in the Appalachian Mountains stretching from Alabama to the Finger Lakes Trail in New York.

Project and Use of NTF:The WV Great Eastern Trail (GET) project achieves two significant goals. First, it clears and blazes a section of the Great Eastern Trail in southern WV, approximately 3 miles. This will help build momentum for establishing the rest of the routed trail in southern WV. Second, this project will recruit 40 + adult and high school volunteers to get involved with trail building. The volunteers will be taught basic skills and equipped with trail clearing equipment. This section of trail is in a very rural impoverished region of the state. Obesity rates are very high. Any activities that can get youth and adults outside and doing physical activity is a significant win. We will leverage the funds from this grant to maintain volunteer participation long after the grant is completed. The WV GET project funded by this grant would rehabilitate a section of trail in Twin Falls State Park. This project will clear and blaze the trail and recruit, train and equip volunteers to do the work and be a part of the larger WV GET trail building effort. The trail clearing tools that will be purchased with this grant will be used for years to come and will be used to clear over 100 additional miles of trails after the grant period has ended.


Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy

Location: Pennsylvania

Mission: To protect, preserve, and maintain the Horse-Shoe Trail for hikers and equestrians to enjoy forever.

Project and Use of NTF: The project goals are to install signage at 19 road crossings along the 32 mile portion of the 141 mile Horse-Shoe Trail located in Berks County, Pennsylvania, to notify motorists of the trail crossings and to orient trail users to their location along the trail. Twelve (12) existing trail crossing sign posts need plaques to identify the road name of the crossing and the location of the municipality. Twenty-one (21) new sign posts are necessary where no signs currently exist. Sign posts are installed on both sides of the road crossings to notify motorists driving in either direction. The NTF would be used to install 21 new trail sign posts at 15 road crossing locations and 12 plaques identifying the road name, municipality, and trail logo on exiting sign posts. The NTF would be used to install 21 new trail sign posts at 15 road crossing locations and 12 plaques identifying the road name, municipality, and trail logo on exiting sign posts.


Mohican Trails Club

Location: Ohio

About:Work with Mohican State Park and Mohican Memorial Forest to: maintain and restore existing trails, offer trail assistance to park visitors, offer guided hikes on the recreational trails to promote interpretation of natural and cultural aspects of the Mohican area, development and rehabilitate trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages, and notify Park Contacts of any trail hazards.

Project and Use of NTF: The Mohican State Park is the most popular outdoor recreation area in Northern Ohio and the Lyons Falls-Stagecoach trail is the most popular hiking trail in the park. This popularity has placed a high degree of stress on this trail. Coupled with the state park budget cuts the past 11 years, the deterioration of this trail is becoming critical. To address this problem, the Mohican Trails Club was formed. While members have become very proficient constructing bridges, the park has provided no materials budget. All of the club’s efforts are directed at building bridges in non-park property or providing the labor to keeps the park’s trails open. Last year the club replaced the first bridge on this trail and the bridge we to wish replace this year completes the loop trail so a hiker can return to the trail head without backtracking. It’s replacement is critical to the club’s goal of keeping this trail open. Lyons Fall is the most popular feature in the park and this project will replace the foot bridge after the falls on the loop trial. The current bridge fails state safety standards and a replacement will protect surrounding flora and fauna, and be more accessible to persons with mobility issues.


Northfork Watershed Project

Location: West Virginia

About:Friends of Blackwater is a non-profit conservation organization working effectively in the Mid-Atlantic Appalachian Highlands to protect key landscapes and natural and human communities, and to support economic development that maximizes biodiversity and outdoor recreational opportunities for future generations.

Project and Use of NTF: Expected, tangible outdoor recreation results are to complete a new 4 mile trail system that connects to the Monongahela National Forest trail network, the Blackwater Canyon Rail Trail and the proposed Heart of the Highlands Trail. The trails are located a short walk from downtown Thomas, with the goals of increasing community and visitor access to healthy outdoor recreation and introducing more people to hiking as a recreational activity. Other goals are to increase community volunteerism, educate volunteers about erosion and sustainable trail building, and develop a local base of volunteers that have been trained in trail building. This volunteer base can be used for future trail building and maintenance. Conservation goals are to provide an example of community development that includes conservation ethics and to increases public awareness of environmental conservation through interpretive signage that will educate trail users about the unique plants, animals and environmental concerns in the area and build a stronger connection between users and nature. Educating volunteers in sustainable trail building techniques also helps spread conservation knowledge that can be applied to other projects. The Thomas Trails is a new 4 mile trail system being built in the Thomas City Park. The riverside trails are being built by volunteers and will connect to several existing trail systems and feature educational signage. Funding is needed to build foot bridges and signage for the trail system.


Starflower Experiences

Location: California

About:The San Bernardino National Forest Association (SBNFA), a nonprofit organization and key partner to the U.S. Forest Service, is committed to three initiatives addressing conservation, education and responsible recreation through a year-round portfolio of programming aimed at reaching Southern California’s inland urban and mountain communities as well as visitor populations on public lands. Through partnerships and a strong volunteer backbone network, the SBNFA brings communities of people, partners and funding resources to important public lands projects focused on health, stewardship and sustainability.

Project and Use of NTF:Goals: 1) Recruit/develop 25 youth in leadership, organization, and program execution skills; 2) Restore trail conditions on ¾ mile interpretive loop and high need areas on 4.5 mile exploration trail; both non-motorized and multi-use; 3) Direct the crew in recruiting/organizing a restoration project for 75+ youth and adult volunteers on National Trails Day; and 4) educate the crew and visitors on natural resource protection. The project intern will provide skill-building on trail maintenance including pruning, raking and replacing water bars. The crew will learn to develop and organize a work plan covering May – August beginning with on-the-ground training before the launch event of National Trails Day; followed by one day per week schedule of restoration days through August. The crew will outreach to Inland Empire Boy’s and Girl’s Scouts who traditionally participate in summer restoration days at Children’s Forest. Annual restoration is required after heavy snowfall and usage; this project will ensure interpretive signage is highly visible, and trails are accessible and safe for the myriad of mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians who use these trails for fitness and recreation. Through this project, the crew and visitors they guide will learn the importance of natural resource protection and land ethics. National Children’s Forest is a place where youth partake in environmental education and have a voice in forest management. Project entails managing a youth volunteer trail crew of 25 (11-17yrs. old) to lead the National Trails Day and trail maintenance projects on 5.25 miles of multi-use trails over 3,400 acres.


Victor Hiking Trails

Location: New York

Mission: To create and maintain a system of hiking and multi-use (non-motorized) trails in the town of Victor, NY, with connections to adjoining town trails.

Project and Use of NTF: The goal is to connect two established trails that are separated by a small creek. This will increase the use of both trails by all trail users. This bridge will connect a new loop trail with a main corridor trail allowing trail users access to a variety of trails. The new signs will explain the history of the trail (old railroad), the species of fish in the creek, the local flora and fauna, and the connection to adjoining trails in Victor.