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$500K is given to Arkansas Tech University to establish a trail management institute



Little Rock, Arkansas – Arkansas Tech University received a $500,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation to establish the Arkansas Trail Management Institute.

According to ATU, the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program and Recreational Trails Program of the U.S. Department of Transportation provided the grant funding.

The institute’s primary objective is to raise trail construction, upkeep, and user safety. To support workforce development and the more practical and effective use of natural resources, it will also offer trail management training. Additionally, efforts will be made to make each trail’s design more sustainable and to keep Arkansas in the forefront of the state’s trail offerings.

“We will offer online courses on trail management and in-person trail school and workshop events to help develop Arkansas’s trail workforce,” wrote Dr. Julie Furst-Bowe, ATU interim vice president for academic affairs, in a memorandum to the ATU Board of Trustees when the grant application was approved by the board in June 2023. “Courses will focus on the safe and sustainable management of trails and trail systems (new and old trails). These courses will be asynchronous, allowing flexibility to complete when and where someone has time. The hands-on trail schools and workshops will focus on the hard skills needed in the trade. The focus will be to give credentials such as, but not limited to, wilderness first aid, chainsaw safety, mini excavator safety, and Leave No Trace. With these curriculums and platforms established, this can provide consistent training for years to come with updates for the trends.”

Dr. Jay Post, an associate professor of recreation and park administration at ATU, is the project’s main investigator. The institution announced that Dr. Post would serve as the institute’s director.

The project’s secondary investigator is Dr. Michael Bradley, head of the ATU Department of Agriculture and Tourism and associate professor of recreation and park administration.


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