Mar 17

Join us at the 2021 CA Trails and Greenways Conference


We hope to see you virtually at this year’s CA Trails and Greenways Conference. California Trails & Greenways is among the longest running and most successful trails trainings in the country – celebrating 35 years in 2021. Attend educational breakout sessions, talk with experts, connect with potential employers, and reconnect with colleagues by registering here, or check out the agenda and session descriptions.

The Who, What, and How of Trail Governance

Wednesday, April 14

Establishing the right governance structure for a trail organization is one of the most important
elements in making a good trail, a great trail. Generally, goodwill and interest can get a trail
very far, but realizing the full potential of any system requires long-term governance and
oversight. Trail governance brings together the right partners and establishes funding for
sustainable operations, maintenance and programming. This session will explore Joint Power
Authorities (JPAs), Cooperative Agreements, New Trail Agencies and Non-Profits among others,
to educate participants on the wide range of governance structures available to those looking
to implement a trail in their community. Pros and Cons will be discussed in reference to existing
trail case studies so participants can relate the trails they are currently championing to other
systems around the country. This session will include a brief 30-minute presentation and then a
small group, “Build Your Own Trail Governance Structure,” activity that will get participants
thinking about their own trails and appropriate governance structures for them. The activity will
result in 3-4 outlines of potential trail governance structures for actual trails.

  • Deven Young, Principal, Alta Planning + Design
  • Emily Duchon, Principal, Alta Planning + Design
  • Jason Spann, Associate Landscape Architect, California State Parks


Rail Towns to Trail Towns: Leveraging Historical Development Patterns and Realizing Trail-Oriented Communities

Wednesday, April 14

Rail-trails inherit many aspects of the railroads that came before them: they feature steady grades; they transect diverse environments; and they connect communities. A critical feature of rail-trails is the way they interface with the communities through which they pass. This session presents a framework for understanding the historical spatial relationship between communities and railroads, and strategies for transforming these spaces into thriving trail amenities. The session will then examine the history, advocacy, planning, design, and implementation of the Annie & Mary Rail Trail through Arcata and Blue Lake in Humboldt County (the northernmost spur of the Great Redwood Trail). We will examine the grassroots history of advocacy for the trail, the challenges facing implementation, and the success stories, including the recent completion of the first phase of the trail in Blue Lake and the recommendation of funding for final design and construction of the trail through Arcata. We’ll look at the robust community engagement that led to broad support for the project, and the next steps to achieve a fully connected Annie & Mary Trail between the two communities. We’ll also look at the expansive view of connectivity that the City of Arcata included in the project, including ensuring connectivity to neighborhoods that have been isolated by adjacent freeways and other development.

  • Sofia Zander, Principal Landscape Architect, TrailPeople & Zander Design
  • Brian Burchfield, Group Leader & Design Associate, Alta Planning & Design
  • Mike Foget, CEO and Senior Environmental and Civil Engineer, SHN
  • Emily Sinkhorn, Director, Natural Resources Services Division of Redwood Community Action Agency
  • Austin Dunn, Designer, Alta Planning & Design


Great Redwood Trail Update: The Feasibility Study—Approach and Findings

Wednesday, April 14

Senate Bill (SB) 1029 (2018) called for an assessment of the disposition of the North Coast Railroad Authority and its 300 miles of rights-of-way. A trail feasibility assessment and governance/railbanking report, prepared by California State Parks in consultation with several state agencies, is one component of the SB 1029 Assessment. It evaluates the feasibility of repurposing 252 miles into the Great Redwood Trail. The corridor evaluated extends from Healdsburg in Sonoma County to Blue Lake, northeast of Humboldt Bay and Arcata. In this session, learn about the approach used and results of the trail feasibility assessment, which evaluates the condition of railroad infrastructure and physical/environmental characteristics of the corridor. The assessment ranks 57 segments for their level of opportunity or constraint. It considers potential costs to construct the full corridor, and to assess the feasibility of constructing rail-to-trail in the central and northern portions and rail-with-trail in the southern portion. The purpose of the assessment is to inform decision-makers about the factors affecting feasibility of trail development and to identify which portions of the corridor may be more or 4 less feasible for trail development and use. It was included in the SB 1029 report to the legislature for consideration.

  • Curtis E. Alling, AICP, Principal, Ascent Environmental, Inc.
  • Jason Spann, Associate Landscape Architect, California State Parks
  • Nanette Hansel, Senior Project Manager, Ascent Environmental, Inc.
  • Deven Young, Principal, Alta Planning + Design


Trail Analytics and Data Storytelling

Friday, April 16

Data science tools allow for an exploration of trail connectivity, demand, comfort, health, and safety needs. This session will share a spectrum of data analysis and scenario planning tools that can be used to help plan and design new or existing trails. We will share examples from three California trail corridors at three scales: Los Angeles River Path, an 8-mile gap closure, the Iron Horse Trial, a 22-mile regional trail, and the Great Redwood Trail, a 300-mile former rail corridor. We will present the data analysis methods used to evaluate future user demand, assess how much space is required to accommodate various levels of use by people walking, biking, using e-bikes or other electric vehicles and understand network access priorities. These tools are very effective in considering not just existing travel characteristics, but also how changes in mobility options, such as e-bikes or shared autonomous vehicles could change the use of the corridor.

  • Emily Duchon, Principal, Alta Planning and Design
  • Deven Young, Principal, Alta Planning + Design
  • Mitali Gupta, AICP, ENV SP, Manager, Transportation Planning, Mobility Corridors, LA Metro
  • Mike Sellinger, Planning Associate, Alta Planning + Design


Multi-Benefit Neighborhood Greenways

Friday, April 16

Suburban communities across Southern California have been designed with oversized residential streets. This design contributes to excessive speed in neighborhoods, leads to increased urban heat island effect, and can produce high volumes of runoff during storm events. In recent years, basic bicycle facilities have begun to appear on these streets, to accommodate a wider range of roadway users, but often are limited to striping and don’t inspire confidence for street users of all ages and abilities. By re-evaluating the roadway as a whole, and emphasizing a suite of benefits for neighborhoods, these projects can instead incorporate significant planting, stormwater capture, urban cooling, traffic-separated bicycle facilities and paths, and overall aesthetic improvements. This diversification of design also opens projects up to a broader range of funding sources, while also increasing the project’s appeal to surrounding communities. This session will provide insight into the funding, design, and outreach processes for several multi-benefit projects.

  • James Powell, PLA, ASLA, Senior Design Associate, Alta Planning + Design 9
  • David Diaz, Executive Director, Active San Gabriel Valley
  • Eileen Alduenda, Executive Director, Council For Watershed Health
  • Jason Casanova, Director of Planning and Information Design, Council For Watershed Health