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Building Capacity of Volunteers

Legal issues, staffing, communications and planning are as important as enthusiasm when it comes to getting a trail on the ground. There are a number of helpful resources available to guide your organization through the process of developing a unified voice and vision, recruiting and sustaining a workforce, holding successful events, communicating, fundraising, accounting, insurance and incorporation.

Virginia's Greenways and Trails Toolbox, prepared for DCR by Parsons Harland Bartholomew & Associates, Inc. in 2000, has a chapter on creating and managing greenway and trail organizations. This chapter offers insights into forming the organization, building, strengthening, and managing the organization, greenway and trail ownership alternatives, obtaining and using public input, working with landowners and neighbors, working with public officials and non-governmental organizations, marketing and publicity, finance and funding, and continuing the mission.

Find a wealth of information in the Recreation, Trails and Conservation Assistance Community Toolbox.

More articles on building capacity are available online.


A sample volunteer handbook may also be helpful. Check out The Fairfax County Park Authority Volunteer Handbook.

More information on Volunteers is available at the American Trails.

Also check out IMBA's tips for Attracting and Keeping Volunteers and Volunteer Management: 10 Tips for Successful Events.


A sample set of bylaws are available from rails-to-trails conservancy.


The American Hiking Society has developed a National Trails Day Event Organizer's Manual.

The League of American Bicyclists has developed a step-by-step guide to creating a successful National Bike Month Event.