Supporting Organizations & Resources

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

This Web Site is also an important information resource for folks that are interested in creating new Rail-trails. For that reason, the Webmaster has joined the Conservancy and urges other activists to do likewise.

On Monday morning, we will be opening our doors in the beautifully rehabbed Union Station at Worcester Massachusetts. This facility is the most completely thorough and spectacular restoration of a railroad station in New England and represents a major step forward in our taking a higher role in helping to develop and build-out the nearly 200 rail-trail projects in the region. 

Note that MBTA Commuter Rail Service is available from Boston South Station and intermediate stops directly to Worcester Union Station. Furthermore all Worcester Regional Transit Authority busses have bike racks!

Trail & Greenway Funding Guide

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is pleased to announce the launch of a new searchable database that contains information about a variety of federal, state and private funding sources for trails and greenways. These funding sources - including statewide referenda that have been placed on ballots across the country since 1998 - can be used to fund various phases of acquisition, planning, design and development for trails and greenways. Through our research, we have attempted to compile the latest information regarding funding; however, due to the changing nature of trails and greenways funding sources, we understand that this database will need to be continually updated.

You can find the Trail & Greenway Funding Guide at www.trailsandgreenways.org. Click on Technical Assistance and then Funding Database. Any questions, comments or suggestions can be sent to Brian Yourish at rtcbrian@transact.org.

National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse

NTEC was established in February of 1996 as a point of contact for local and private-sector partners who were being introduced to the Federal-aid highway program through transportation enhancement activities. Its mission is to facilitate awareness, understanding and knowledge of transportation enhancements; to encourage equitable representation that reflects all categories of transportation enhancement activities; and to ensure the highest standards of transportation enhancement programming.

NTEC operates as an information resource and technical assistance center, and is organized to ensure increased understanding and support of transportation enhancements (TE) programming for all Transportation Enhancement Activities as defined in the Transportation Equity Act of 1998 (TEA-21).

The following short documents are so important to the Rail-trail movement that they have been reproduced on this Web site. Printed copies can also be requested through the NTEC Web Site!

National Bicycle and Pedestrian Clearinghouse - Technical Assistance Series

Beyond Business as Usual: Transportation Enhancements Under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act

ISTEA Enhancement Funded Projects:

NH Department of Transportation TE/CMAQ Coordinator

The Transportation Enhancement as well as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Programs are important sources of funds for purchasing abandoned railroad beds and for converting them for trail purposes. NH-DOT has published a manual in April of 2000 for potential participants in the TE/CMAQ Program. Copies are presumably available by contacting the TE/CMAQ Coordinator (Victoria H. Chase) at 603-271-2107 or by mail at John O. Morton Building, 1 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03302-0483

Posted to this Web Site is Attachment 8 - Recent Sales of RR Corridors [in NH]

Please note that the support of the appropriate Regional Planning Commission is a crucial part of the application process for TE/CMAQ funding in NH.

FHWA - Bicycle & Pedestrian Program

The Federal Highway Administration's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Office is responsible for promoting bicycle and pedestrian transportation accessibility, use, and safety. This page provides a set of links to related documents issued by FHWA and also provides a contact name & E-mail address.


->The Federal Highway Administration recently published Part II of their "Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access," a 1.5-inch thick "best practices design guide." In the future, they will be posting electronic versions on their bicycle/pedestrian program website. Meanwhile, according to FHWA's Barbara McMillen, "hard copies of Part II are available by faxing a request to the FHWA Report Center, 301-577-1421. If you would like 5 or more copies, please fax your request to the DOT Warehouse, 301386-5394. Include your street address (no PO Boxes), city, state, zip and phone number with your request. The Report Center and Warehouse are the only outlets for mailing reports. Other FHWA staff offices and the Pedestrian Information Center do not have the staff or facilities to handle report requests..."  Watch the Program's website for the appearance of the electronic version:

[from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking on January 4, 2002]

Bikes Belong Coalition

Bikes Belong Coalition is sponsored by members of the American Bicycle Industry. Our goal is putting more people on bikes more often through the implementation of TEA-21. We seek to assist local organizations, agencies, and citizens in developing bicycle facilities projects that will be funded by TEA-21, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.

Walkable Communities

Walkable Communities, Inc. is a non-profit corporation, established in the state of Florida in 1996. It was organized for the express purposes of helping whole communities, whether they are large cities or small towns, or parts of communities, i.e. neighborhoods, business districts, parks, school districts, subdivisions, specific roadway corridors, etc., become more walkable and pedestrian friendly.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

The PBIC is a clearinghouse for information about health and safety, engineering, advocacy, education, enforcement and access and mobility. The PBIC serves anyone interested in pedestrian and bicycle issues, including planners, engineers, private citizens, advocates, educators, police enforcement and the health community.

The Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse

The Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse has created an electronic listserv to facilitate communication among trail and greenway advocates, developers, managers, professionals, and consultants seeking advice, sharing ideas and solutions, and posting job, conference and publication announcements. One can register by visiting the T & G Clearinghouse web site at http://www.trailsandgreenways.org/ or by sending an empty e-mail to: subscribe-trailsandgreenways@egroups.com. The list is sponsored by the Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse, a joint project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and The Conservation Fund's American Greenways Program.

National Park Service - Rivers & Trails Conservation Assistance

Selected Publications available online: 

  • Creek Care Guide
  • Economic Impacts of Greenways
  • THE IMPACTS OF RAIL-TRAILS, A Study of User and Property Owners From Three Trails
  • National Park Service Sign Manual
  • Recommended Reading List
  • Trail Protection Strategies

  • Note that the following offices serve Northern New England:

    Surface Transportation Policy Project.

    A non-profit coalition of roughly 175 groups devoted to ensuring that transportation policy and investments help conserve energy, protect environmental and aesthetic quality, strengthen the economy, promote social equity and make communities more livable.

    Landview III Desktop Mapping System

    LandView III is a desktop mapping system for Windows that was produced to meet the needs of the US Environmental Protection Agency. This software is downloadable without charge from the Web, along with public domain mapping data for any County of the United States. 

    Rail-trail organizations will discover that many rail- trails are already present in this map database, incorrectly coded as active railroads or minor roads. Since the software allows users to change the map data, these lines can be changed to show the route of the current and/or proposed trail. Also available is the software required to add trails to this mapping system through the use of consumer grade GPS receivers.

    This software allows rail-trail organizations to produce reasonably accurate maps of their trail for use in publications and web sites, without making out-of-pocket expenditures for software and map data, with complete freedom from copyright restrictions. 

    GenesisII Photorealistic Landscape Visualization

    This software promises to produce photorealistic landscape visualizations from Digital Elevation Model (DEM) files and/or other Geographic Information System (GIS) files. Because of the many practical difficulties in obtaining good photographs of scenic views, the photorealistic visualizations produced by this software might be an important means of promoting the use of a given rail-trail, particularly through the use of Web Sites where ample space is available for the purpose!

    There are three versions of GenesisII: Freeware, Light and Professional. The differences are itemized more full in a product features table, but basically the Freeware version is available for anyone to download and use to enhance their understanding of the world, evaluate when considering purchase of the commercial versions, or simply to have fun! The Light version offers some additional features for the serious non-professional user, and the Professional version is aimed at GIS and similar professionals.

    Note that the Webmaster has not had the opportunity to experiment with this software!  

    Domain Name Registration

    As a growing percentage of the American population obtains easy access to the Internet, rail-trail organizations must consider obtaining their own unique domain name to ease the process of referencing the organization's Web Site. Without such registration, the Web Address of the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Grafton County is <http://railtrails.megalow.com/NH/CW/FRNG/>. Note that the registration fee is approximately $35/year, and some registrars such as YourNameFree.com seem able to forward the new domain name to FREE Web Space such as those at Tripod.com, Crosswinds.net or Geocities.com.   

    The offer made by YourNameFree.com also includes the forwarding of 10 E-mail addresses to separate addresses without charge. The Webmaster suggests that generic addresses be established for important officers and representatives of the rail-trail organization, so that this address remains unchanged even when the officer/representative is replaced. Note that the following illustrative sample addresses were suggested for the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Grafton County:

    The Webmaster has successfully used the service to register the domain name <www.new-england-rail-trails.org> ! 

    Domain Name Search - *Free*Fast*Easy*

    New England Greenway Vision Plan

    In the tradition of landscape architecture, the members of the New England Greenway Vision Plan and the American Society of Landscape Architects believe that the time has arrived to "make the connections" among the thousands of parks and open spaces in New England. We can build on our amazing parks and open spaces to create the first multi-state, regional greenway network to serve as a model for America and the globe. We are poised to create a cohesive network for the 43 million acres of New England - making greenways as accessible to everyone as our roads are today.

    This project proposes for New England a bold vision, to make greenways and green spaces as accessible to everyone as our roads are today. This plan provides New England with a network of greenways that will serve the region as our state and interstate roads serve our cars and trucks today.

    Surface Transportation  Board

    Under the ICC Termination Act of 1995 (Act), a railroad may abandon a line only with the STB's permission. The Board must determine whether the "present or future public convenience and necessity require or permit" the abandonment.

    The ICC Termination Act and the National Rails to Trails Act, along with the STB's regulations give interested parties the opportunity to negotiate voluntary agreements to use a railroad right-of-way that otherwise would be abandoned for recreational or other public use, such as a commuter rail service or a highway.

    Abandonments & Alternatives to Abandonments (an STB Publication)

    This paper explains the standards and procedures governing abandonments. It also discusses alternative means of preserving service, including the subsidy and purchases of lines that might otherwise be abandoned. Included is the possibility of using the 'railbanking' the line for use at a future time while using the railroad bed for trail purposes during the interim period.

    Issues Related to Preserving Inactive Rail Lines as Trails. (A Report by the General Accounting Office) 

    A 15 page analysis of STB usage of its authority to 'railbank' otherwise abandoned railroad lines. Note that this report is in Portable Document Format (PDF). Free readers for PDF files are available from Adobe Systems, Inc.


    Trailwrights is a non-profit volunteer organization, the purpose of which is to promote environmentally sound techniques of trail maintenance and safe ethical hiking practices.

    The East Coast Greenway

    Walkers, cyclists, and other trail advocates have joined forces around an audacious project, a 2,500 mile traffic-free path linking East Coast cities from Maine to Florida. Launched only 5 years ago, this vision for an urban alternative to the highly popular Appalachian Trail is quickly becoming a reality.

    Note that the 2000 State of the Trail Report from ECGA shows Significant Linking Greenways on some of its State Maps. Thus some trails that do not become part of the ECG can still be shown on ECG maps and thus benefit from the potential publicity and popularity of the ECG.  

    VT Trails and Greenways Council

    The Vermont Trails and Greenways Council is an important part of Vermont's recreational community. We help plan for the future of Vermont's recreational activities and recommend and oversee the allocation of funds created by both of the above programs. However, the most important aspect of the Council is that it gives all of Vermont's recreational community the vehicle to set aside personal issues and the ability to work together to form a cohesive unit working as one, to advance recreation in Vermont.

    Directory of Vermont Trails, Greenways and Recreation Organizations

    A complete contact listing of the trails, greenways and recreation organizations in Vermont, compiled as a joint effort of the National Park Service and the VT Trails and Greenways Council.

    Upper Valley Trails Alliance 

    The Upper Valley Trails Alliance is a new coalition of widely varied groups from the Upper Valley who use and care for the area's trails. The Alliance acts as a regional resource for trails: improving communications and coordination, supporting sustainable use of trails, increasing public awareness and building greater support for the trail networks.

    Upper Valley Land Trust

    Since 1992, the Upper Valley Land Trust has coordinated the establishment of a system of primitive canoe campsites along the Connecticut River. Many of these campsites are provided through the generosity of private landowners. They are maintained by local groups for the enjoyment of the public. While there is no charge for the use of these campsites, their maintenance depends on public contributions and on good stewardship.

    Since the typical rail-trail is somewhat similar to the Connecticut River, the UVLT canoe campsite program provides an important model for planning a series of primitive campsites along a rail-trail to facilitate overnight trips on long trails! 

    Regular monitoring of land protected by conservation easement catches violations. Violations can occur through the activities of the original landowner, a new owner, an abutter, or a third party, and regular visits (usually annual) are necessary to discover violations and protect the property's conservation values. Some elements of UVLT's Stewardship Program include landowner contact, baseline documentation, and land steward monitoring.

    Rail-trails are usually protected by fee simple ownership by a State agency. Nevertheless, the very long and equally narrow land ownership that protects a rail-trail almost invites abuse by abutters, trail users, and other parties. Likewise, state budgets are usually far too slim for an appropriate degree of monitoring by the employees of the agency. Accordingly, local trail-trail organizations must consider land stewardship as a necessary part of their activities on behalf of proposed and active rail-trails. Thus the experience of the UVLT and similar Land Trust organizations ought to be considered by rail-trail organizations in creating a stewardship program to monitor the land utilized by a proposed, under-construction, or active rail-trail.

    Land trusts offer a voluntary mechanism for protecting individual parcels of land forever. Using a legal document known as a conservation easement, an organization like the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) can ensure continued stewardship and productive use without relying on public regulation or public ownership. Land subject to conservation easements remains in private ownership and can be sold, given or transferred at any time. A conservation easement assures the landowner that the resource values of his or her property will be protected forever, no matter who the future owners are.

    Properties protected by UVLT and similar Land Trust organizations that are adjacent or within a reasonable distance of a Rail-trail should be identified as important recreational and esthetic resources for trail users. Accordingly, rail-trail organizations must work with these Land Trust organizations to identify such land parcels in a way that invites appropriate usage by trail-users and likewise discourages abuse of these important properties. 

    VT Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation

    Vermont Recreation Trails Grant Program

    Public Recreation On Private Land - A Landowner's Guide

    Adopt-A-Trail Program

    Values & Considerations for Wildlife and Plant Communities

    Values & Considerations for Forestry & Community Tree Care

    Values & Considerations for Recreation & Aesthetics

    Values & Considerations for Water Quality & Aquatic Habitat

    ATV/ORV Riding in Vermont

    International Mountain Bicycling Association

    IMBA is a non-profit, public-supported organization. The mission of IMBA is to promote mountain bicycling opportunities that are environmentally and socially responsible.

    The Resources section of the IMBA Web Site contains numerous short documents about mountain biking, including information about biking on trails that are shared by hikers, equestrians and other non-motorized modes.

    In most cases, Rail-trails merely use a railroad embankment (and cuts) that were created 80 to 150 years ago, and have been maintained by professional track crews for many ensuing decades. Trail work during the conversion process often involves rather obvious repair work to overcome deferred maintenance as the railroad line became unprofitable, then sheer neglect after the trains stopped running. However, even rail-trail conversions must build short lengths of new trails to serve nearby facilities and attractions, or to bypass missing bridges or other sections of the railroad bed. 

    Because all rail-trails are inevitably multi-modal, IMBA's new booklet  Trailbuilding Basics provides an important introduction to the art of building trails that accommodate bicycles and other non-motorized users!

    The Patrol Pages

    This site is dedicated to the volunteer and professional patrollers who keep us safe in sports. We initially featured ski patrols and related links, and now are expanding to include skate and bike patrols and other sports-related, service organizations. We welcome your ideas for new pages and themes. Volunteer labor to maintain any new sections is also welcome!

    National Mountain Bike Patrol

    The National Mountain Bike Patrol is a program to organize and support bike patrols throughout the United States. On patrol, we help people on the trail -- all people. Patrollers give information, help with minor repairs, provide first aid and emergency assistance, and get to ride awesome trails. Supported by the National Off Road Bicycling Association, IMBA helps patrols to form, certifies patrollers, and helps to obtain equipment.

    Travis Cousino <VMNTR@aol.com> is starting a Vermont Chapter of the National Mountain Bike Patrol.


    Information from NRPA, NC P&R, and Trails and Greenways Listservs
    Question: I am looking for information on Park Watch programs.  Those of you who have them:

    Backcountry Sanitation Manual

    The Appalachian Trail Conference and the Green Mountain Club are proud to present The Backcountry Sanitation Manual. The manual is the result of a collaborative effort involving volunteer trail maintainers, club and conference staff members, researchers, and agency partners. The manual was funded through a National Park Service challenge cost-share grant.

    Since the early days of the Trail, volunteer maintainers have been faced with the challenging issue of managing human waste in the backcountry. Proper management of human waste protects hikers, the environment, and trail maintainers. While the average person might shy away from the details of such a topic, the need for new, innovative waste-management techniques has become strikingly evident to Trail managers as Trail use has increased.

    This manual was created in the belief that all remote recreation areas will benefit from an expanded discussion of backcountry sanitation. We hope that this manual will serve as a platform and a step up for club and agency partners to address existing and expected backcountry sanitation issues.

    The manual introduces a new, simpler, and often safer, method of composting human waste in the backcountry-the moldering privy. It is a design that saves money and labor, protects the environment and is esthetically simple. The moldering privy is suitable for most sites along the Trail.

     The manual has five sections. Part one discusses the general background of sanitation management, including history, importance, decomposition and composting processes, and health and safety issues. Part two covers regulatory and aesthetic issues. Part three provides detailed descriptions of three systems, including the moldering privy. Part four includes case studies, a decision-making matrix for choosing appropriate systems and information on gray-water management. Finally, there is a detailed appendix that includes a glossary, troubleshooting tips, examples of stewardship signs, and other helpful documents.

    The Backcountry Sanitation Manual is available on ATC's Website as a pdf file. We encourage you to share the manual with fellow Trail maintainers and look forward to hearing your comments.

    Matthew Stevens
    Associate Regional Representative - New England
    Appalachian Trail Conference
    P.O. Box 312
    Lyme, NH 03768-0312
    Phone: 603/795-4935
    Fax: 603/795-4936
    email: mstevens@atconf.org

    VMBA Washington County Mapping Project

    Vermont Mountain Bike Advocates received a $10,600 grant from the Vermont Trails and Greenway Council to assess and map class four roads in Washington and part of Orange Counties, and this summer a dozen VMBA members hit the trails with questionnaires and the charge to locate, ride and assess legal roads and trails. The information was then forwarded to a consulting business from Underhill, Grassroots GIS, owned by Chuck and Judy Bond. Chuck and Judy are avid mountain bikers themselves, and they combined their expertise with VMBA's volunteers to design a spectacular and complex map of Washington County's class four roads (approximately 270). Information includes mileage, level of difficulty, parking, and a brief description of each segment. 

    A project of this kind is important to rail-trails that must find detours around missing bridges and landowner 'problems'.

    Conversely, any rail-trail becomes an important means of access to the nearby lightly used rural roads and old roads that can be used for trail purposes. By integrating rail-trails with these maps of 'old roads', bikers can be encouraged to leave their bike at home or a rail-trail parking area instead of adding to the traffic on the drivable rural roads and parking on these narrow roads. Rural bus lines that feature bike racks must likewise be featured on these maps so that bikers can use the bus to the degree possible to reach the beginning of their ride! 

    Equestrian Land Conservation Resource

    Dedicated to promoting access to and conservation of land for equestrian use.

    Loss of open land has been identified as the greatest threat to the future of all equestrian sport, recreation and industry.  By educating horse people and encouraging partnerships with conservationists at the local level, the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource is mobilizing thousands of equestrians to work for land access and protection in their communities.  We recognize that without such concerted efforts, the equestrian world as we know it is at great risk.

    New Hampshire Horse Council

    The purpose of the New Hampshire Horse Council Inc. is to promote the interests of the entire equine industry of New Hampshire, to act as liaison among various horse groups, to disseminate information and educate both the legislature and the general public, act as official voice of the state equine industry, and as an advisory body to the University of New Hampshire, College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture and the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Horse Advisory Committee regarding the horse industry and related horse activities or programs.

    Membership brochure

    Summer 1998 (President's letter & officer listing)

    Bay State Trail Riders Association, Inc.

    The largest equine trails advocacy group in New England working to develop a region wide system of all purpose trails and keeping access open to equestrian use. Benefits: monthly newsletter, legislative updates and information, subscription to Equine Journal full calendar of events, and year end awards.

    Vermont Agency of Transportation

    Policy and Planning Division

    Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan (December 1998)

    Electric Scooters

    An electric scooter is a battery-powered, three or four-wheeled vehicle designed for individuals who have difficulty walking. 

    The Webmaster suspects that the widespread availability of moderately priced electric scooters should enable elderly and other citizens with moderate disabilities to utilize most rail-trails. Furthermore, the Webmaster believes that there are numerous reasons why it makes far more sense to encourage these citizens to use low-powered electric scooters on the trail instead of high-powered All Terrain Vehicles (ATV). Accordingly, present and potential owners of these scooters must be considered as yet another strong source of public support for rail-trail development. 

    Note that many of these scooters do not meet ADA specifications for wheelchairs. Thus changes in the bureaucratic rules may be required to specifically include these scooters along with electric wheelchairs on trails where all-terrain vehicles are specifically not permitted.

    Railbike resources

    Railbikes are ordinary bicycles with adaptations for use on standard railroad track. This unusual concept allows public usage of a dormant or abandoned railroad line during an interim period before the rails and ties are removed for rail-trail purposes. Community acceptance of this unusual concept would also allow long-term retention of the rails as an inexpensive alternative to a traditional Rail-Trail conversion effort!

    The Railbike Home Page & RAILBIKE INTERNATIONAL

    These pages contains publication information about the book Railbike by Bob Mellin with pictures and other information about railbikes and also provides advice and access to plans for the necessary adaptations to ordinary bicycles.

    Coati Express railbikes & Railbike Tours of Astoria (RTA) of Oregon

    Coati Express manufactures bikes designed for rental use on Railbike Tours, while RTA conducts a Railbike Tour on a regularly scheduled basis as a profitable community enterprise!

    Railbike Tours of Costa Rica is now in a position to offer our safe and durable railbikes for sale to short line railroads, tourist railroads, persons interested in starting a railbike tour operation and groups who are interested in riding railbikes as a club or organization (who can show that they have permission to use sections of tracks for this purpose.  I can help arrange insurance coverage and other items needed to make railbiking a reality, rather than an outlaw activity.

    Michael Rohde
    Railbike Tours of Costa Rica, Bicicletas Sobre Rieles en Costa Rica
    5243 Shincke Rd Ne, Olympia, WA  98506
    360/438-2010 voice, 360/493-1739 FAX

    Rons Riders

    Rons Riders offers plans as well as wheels and other parts required for Railbikes.

    Rons Riders also offers a unique four wheel hand-pedaled rail car, and also offer adaptations to this basic design for disabled users. Note that this firm is located in Franklin, New Hampshire!

    Rails with Trails: Lessons Learned Study

    Alta Transportation Consulting is pleased to announce the release of the draft of the "State of the Practice," Phase 1 portion of the "Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned" study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Railroad Administration. 

    The draft State of the Practice in Rails-with-Trails report is posted here in a portable document format (pdf) file. You will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader to view the file.

    The Rails-with-Trails study is still underway, with research on and development of the recommended best practices continuing. The first draft of the next phase, "Lessons Learned:Conclusions" will be available in Fall 2001. The study will be complete in Spring 2002.

    Pictures of a Rail-with-Trail

    Two pictures of York County Heritage Trail in Pennsylvania by Michael Heaton, along with several links to the Web Sites that provide information about the Trail and its associated railroad line.

    Trail Bridge Resources

    This Web Page lists Web Links to several Trail Bridge Vendors, information about Bailey Bridges, and information about old highway bridges and the like that are potentially available for trail purposes.

    POROUS PAVEMENT - Pavement That Leaks

    Porous pavement is an innovative technique which can lead to environmental and economic improvements in the way we pave our parking areas and roads. The demonstration project at Walden Pond State Reservation - the parking surfaces beyond the entrance booth - is New England's first look at porous pavement and has been working well since 1977.

    Support Organization Bylaws - VT

    The text of the bylaws of the Northwest Vermont Rail Trail Council.

    Support Organization Charter & Bylaws - NH

    The text and bylaws of the Friends of the Northern Line Rail-Trail in Grafton County.

    National Register of Historic Places

    This Web Site provides the name and location of numerous historic places in every county. Note that Rail-trails are particularly likely to pass within reasonable hiking and biking distance of historic places as they follow the rivers through the oldest parts of cities and towns. Listings of nearby Historic Places may be helpful in obtaining competitive grants, and should likewise be helpful in attracting potential users to the completed trail.

    Brownfields and Bikeways

    Note that Rail-trails are particularly likely to pass important sources of pollution as they follow the rivers through the oldest industrial areas. Indeed, such highly polluting industries were most likely to be built next to railroad tracks to take advantage of the low-cost transportation offered by railroads. A new page lists various resources that assist with the problem of currently operating and abandoned industrial sites near planned and existing rail-trails.

    Manual of Traffic Signs

    This Web Site lists (with graphics) the most commonly used traffic signs in the United States. The site has recently been expanded to include the series of brown signs used within the National Parks. The main part of this site can be used to specify the traffic signs that would be appropriate in the vicinity of a Rail-trail, while the brown sign series can be used to specify the signs used on the trail itself. Non-profit trail organizations and individual volunteers are encouraged to request permission to copy the sign graphic '.gif' images for use on their Web Sites and trail literature.  

    Parks Font 

    A computer font for both Windows and Macintosh computers that contains the symbols and pictographs used in the creation of National Parks Service maps. These symbols and pictographs are identical to the standard brown signs available from the preceding site. In many situations, the fonts provide a more satisfactory solution than the usage of the corresponding '.gif' images.

    National Park Service Sign Manual

    This National Parks Service Web Site contains the text of the manual that defines all of the rules relating to the placement of signs in the National Park System. 

    Collections of clip art of railroad subjects that may be useful for Rail-Trail Web Sites and publications. Included in some collections are the historic logos of major railroads which can be used by the Rail-trail organizations as a quick and meaningful way of identifying the railroad that previously used the right-of-way.

    A collection of fonts that are somehow related to railroads. Consistent usage of appropriate fonts from this (and similar collections) in preparation of the literature produced by a trail organization will provide a gentle reminder of the railroad history of their particular trail. This extensive collection of inexpensive computer fonts includes:

    Historic Railroad Mileage Charts

  • Historic B&M RR Mileage Charts (Slow loading)

  • Historic MEC RR Mileage Charts (Slow loading)

  • Historic CV RR Mileage Charts (Slow loading)

  • Historic Rutland RR Mileage Charts (Slow loading)

  • These historic publications provide 'instant mileage charts' for any trail that uses a roadbed that was operated or otherwise controlled by these respective railroads. Note that this information has been posted as a series of full page images of the pages of the respective books, thus each page will load slowly over a modem connection to the Internet!

    This book published in 1995 by Branch Line Press provides mileage charts for every railroad line that ever existed in Southern New England, as drawn from past issues of the Official Railway Guide. Unfortunately, all mileage figures in these charts are rounded to the nearest full mile. Note that a comparable book for Northern New England was published in November of 2000.

    TopoZone - Current USGS Topographic Maps

    The TopoZone is the Web's center for topographic map users and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. We've worked with the USGS to create the Web's first interactive topo map of the entire United States. If you're looking for maps that don't leave big blank spaces between the highways, welcome!

    We've got every USGS 1:100,000, 1:25,000, and 1:24,000 scale map for the entire United States; Alaska (1:63,360) and Puerto Rico (1:20,000) will be coming soon. Just type a place name in the search box and go!

    We think these maps are great just the way they are, but we've got big plans for the future. We're adding lots of new features to make the TopoZone the place on the Web for topographic map users. 

    Historic USGS Maps of New England

    Through the diligent efforts of Dimond Library friend Christopher Marshall, we are pleased to make available scanned images of many historic New England topographic maps. While the focus of the collection is on New Hampshire, we are collecting many maps from neighboring New England States. This collection of historical maps was assembled for research purposes. They are all from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 15 Minute Series. They date from as early as the 1890s to as late as the 1950s. There is complete geographic coverage of New Hampshire, although many map revisions are missing.

    Some people are sure to ask, why not current maps? The answer is, that current maps are readily available in both paper form and on CD-ROM from a number of sources. They are also often available in the larger public libraries. Historic maps are not readily available, which is why this web site was created.

    These maps should be very useful to rail-trail activents in locating long forgotten railroad lines, trolley lines, old roads, canals, and the like that might be salvaged for use as modern trails. These maps can also be used to demonstrate the destruction of current trail usage and future railroad purposes destroyed by thoughtless land developers!

    Also, folks with laptop computers and Global Position Satellite receivers must remember that software exists to 'georeference' these maps so that they can be transferred to your laptop and used with your GPS receiver in your car to constantly show you where you are on the historic topo map.

    Trail services questionnaire

    While preparing a "Guide to Services" for the Trail, the Northwest Vermont Rail Trail Council (Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail)  asked every business along the trail about the types of amenities and services they provided to trail users. They used a checklist form to document each business' decision. A sample form is included in this posting. 

    Abandoned Rail Corridor Survey Form

    A form used for collecting information about usable abandoned railroad lines from the general public.

    1998 North Carolina State Trail and Greenway Survey

    The State Trails Program sponsored a comprehensive trail and greenway study in 1998 to provide information necessary to assist all interested organizations and partners in planning and developing trails and greenways across North Carolina. This executive summary presents the results of the study, conducted by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University. The statistically valid data for this report were obtained from telephone interviews and mailed survey questionnaires from randomly selected North Carolina residents. A copy of the mailed questionnaire can be found in Appendix D.

    Updated on March 08, 2002 by Kenyon F. Karl <Webmaster@new-england-rail-trails.org>.
      Unintentional errors are likely!

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