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rail-trail report
RTC’s Legal Program
headed by longtime General Counsel Andrea Ferster and a
host of
pro bono
attorneys, has helped secure the legal foundations for rail-trail develop-
ment since the organization’s founding in 1986.Though not as well publicized as some
of RTC’s other trail-building and policy work, the Legal Programplays a critical role in
identifying,monitoring and participating in cases or legal proceedings that potentially
affect the policy framework for rail-trail conversions in the courts and before administra-
tive agencies.
If your trail project has encountered a legal challenge, please contact Jake Lynch at
or 202.974.5107. Even if RTC is unable to take a direct role, our
resources and experience could help ensure the long-term success of your trail and,
more broadly, the rail-trail movement.
Grants Program
With generous support from The
Coca-Cola Foundation for 2012,
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC)
continued to expand its Metropolitan
Grants Program (MGP), which assists
exemplary trail organizations and initia-
tives in select metropolitan areas across
the country with pass-through grants.
During the last four years, the MGP
has provided much-needed funding to
build and improve trails across the coun-
try and has supported nearly 50 local
organizations that encourage trail use
and stewardship.
This year, Coca-Cola awarded RTC
$150,000 to provide technical expertise,
capacity building and program support
grants to more than a dozen organiza-
tions. RTC facilitated pass-through
grants ranging from $2,000 to $12,000
to local groups that aim to improve
personal health through trail use and
strengthen community ties through
trail stewardship. Highlights from this
year’s grant awards include earn-a-bike
programs in Baltimore, Detroit and
Houston. By offering bicycle safety and
maintenance training for youth, earn-
a-bike programs give more kids the
opportunity to experience the joys and
benefits of two-wheeled transportation
and recreation on their local trails. Other
grants funded way-finding signage to
increase trail awareness, landscaping
and community gardens to improve
trail users’ experience, and activities and
events to enhance trail awareness, safety
and use.
For more information, contact Kelly
Pack, director of trail development for
RTC, at
RTC Highlights
In July and August, RTC organized
two webinars to help explore changes
to funding for trails, walking and
bicycling under the new federal
transportation bill, MAP-21.
several hundred participants, the webi-
nars featured representatives from RTC’s
policy team as well as experts from the
U.S. Department of Transportation
and other agency staff. Contact: Kartik
RTC joined hundreds of city park
professionals in July at the Greater &
Greener conference hosted by City Parks
Alliance in New York City.
RTC staff
presented on crime and perceptions of
safety on trails in the session, “Making
Parks Safe and Keeping Them That
Contact: Kelly Pack, kellyp@
From August to October, RTC’s
Midwest Regional Office deployed 18
state-of-the-art, automated trail coun-
ters along six major trails in Illinois.
Data from the counters will assist in
developing a statewide study on the eco-
nomic impact of trails, being conducted
in partnership with Trails for Illinois
and the Illinois Department of Natural
Resources. Contact: Eric Oberg, eric@
In August, more than 10,000 RTC
supporters—joined by countless friends
from other organizations—contacted
their governors asking them not to opt
out of their state’s Recreational Trails
Program for the coming year.
Of all 50
states and the District of Columbia,
only two states opted out.
Kartik Sribarra,
In September, the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the 10th Circuit issued a
decision in favor of the United States and
RTC concerning the Medicine Bow Rail-
Trail, part of a 66-mile federally granted
rail corridor running from Laramie,
Wyo., to the Colorado border, within the
Medicine Bow National Forest. The court
held that the United States, rather than
adjacent property owners, retained own-
ership of the trail under 43 U.S.C. § 912
and 16 U.S.C. § 1248(c), governing
federally granted rights-of-way.
was an
in this case and was
represented by General Counsel Andrea
Ferster and
pro bono
counsel Charles
Contact: Andrea Ferster,
Rhonda Romano, director of RTC’s
Midwest Regional Office, helped
plan and moderate a session, “The
Impact of Active Transportation on the
at the 2012 International
EcoSummit, which was held October 3
in Columbus, Ohio. Contact: Rhonda
On October 25, RTC’s Research
Manager Tracy Hadden Loh spoke at
a symposium, “Great Streets for Small
Towns,” held at Texas State University-
San Marcos.
Based on findings from
Beyond Urban Centers
Loh’s talk focused on the importance
of trails, walking and bicycling to small
town economies and mobility.
Tracy Hadden Loh,