A Helping Hand for Communities
How the National Park Service can provide free design assistance for your town.
By Don Benson, ASLA, and Alexandra Stone, ASLA
Deb Willis, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
A national partnership between a small federal
technical-assistance program and ASLA
delivers pro bono planning and design assistance to selected community projects
dealing with rivers and trails. The federal program, the National Park
Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program—better known as
Rivers & Trails—can serve as a catalyst for projects such as trail systems,
riverfront parks, greenways, water trails, and land and river conservation.
Based on the success of a seven-year collaboration with its
Washington state program and the Washington State ASLA Chapter (WASLA),
Rivers & Trails formalized a relationship with ASLA on the national level in 2000 and renewed it in 2005 for
a second five-year term.
The partnership, which operates locally through ASLA chapters and Rivers & Trails
regional and field offices, provides chapters with an easy, practical means to
sponsor community service, offer professional development, mentor students in
the field, and gain visibility for the profession at the community level. Yet
many landscape architects and their rural and smaller municipal clients are not
aware of the program.
Armed with information about the mutual benefits of Rivers
& Trails partnerships, landscape architects can help educate their clients
about the program and its opportunities.
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