GIS Mapping Initiative
- July 2006 marked the beginning of a new partnership between the Tawani Foundation and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The $400,000 Program Grant helped Rails-to-Trails fund the mapping of open rail-trails, project trails, and unused rail corridors using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This grant allowed Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to improve the trail finder sections on its web site and guidebook series which will make finding a rail-trail easier for the public – an initiative that Tawani Foundation stands firmly behind.
- Through the support of a tirelessly motivated staff, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has set the ambitious goal that by 2020, 90 percent of Americans will live within three miles of a local network of public trails created from former rail lines and connecting corridors.
- Tawani Foundation is pleased to continue support for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy through a new Program and Matching Grant of up to $400,000.
- Rails-to-Trails Conservancy provides the Tawani Foundation with the unique opportunity to support two of its program categories at once. While supporting the health and wellness that rail-trails promote, we are also thrilled to support the Conservancy’s efforts to protect America’s irreplaceable rail corridors by transforming them into multiple-use trails.
Support from the Tawani Foundation has allowed us to expand and improve our GIS Mapping Initiative, including enhancement of our interactive trail mapping site, Traillink.com. The foundation’s current grant of $300,000 over three years, with an additional $100,000 to be provided if matched by other donations, has allowed us to improve the usefulness and visibility of traillink.com. The site has, in turn, made trails more accessible to an increasing number of people nationwide.
Since the initiation of the grant, thousands of people have benefited from this project. We have:
- Increased the number of registered TrailLink.com users from 8,000 in July 2008 to 28,323 as of May 2009. This surpasses our goal of 25,000.
- Grown traffic to the site so that we achieved 71,625 unique visitors and 497,085 page views in the last 30 days. This has been the busiest 30 day period thus far, and brings us significantly closer to our goal of 100,000 visitors per month by September 2010.
- Made more trail information to all Americans in rural, suburban, and urban communities nationwide.
Tawani's generous support has helped Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) provide more than 12,500 miles of detailed trail maps and information to the public for free, promoting and encouraging trail use across the country through RTC's trail-finder Web site TrailLink.com. Additionally, RTC has been able to establish a powerful GIS infrastructure for in-depth analysis in support of our trail-building programs and partnerships. Thanks to Tawani, RTC is making it possible for biking and walking routes to be easily accessible to all Americans as an alternative means of healthy, active transportation.