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How were nominees selected?

For the past year, we asked our members and supporters to nominate those whose contributions have resulted in a successful trail or trail-friendly environment. Criteria included (but were not limited to):

Donation of labor, expertise or finances to trail building, advocacy and awareness;

Leadership, volunteerism or organization in service of rail-trails or trail-friendly initiatives;

Coordination or management of rail-trail maintenance or improvements;

Organization of rail-trail awareness events and initiatives; and

Advocacy for trail projects, funding or legislation on local, state or federal levels.

Rail-Trail Champions

To commemorate Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) 25th anniversary, we are excited to announce the honorees for the Doppelt Family Rail-Trail Champions Award!

Established through the generous support of the Doppelt family, this award program was designed to honor 25 individuals who have made significant contributions to the rail-trail movement through their work, volunteerism or support—in short, people who have gone above and beyond in the name of trails.

On October 1, 2011, RTC hosted an award reception in Washington, D.C., to honor the Rail-Trail Champions. Each honoree received a commemorative silver-plated railroad spike, as well as $1,000 to donate to his or her favorite local trail or trail organization. We will publish short bios and photos of each honoree soon, so check back to learn more about the enormous contributions these supporters have made to the rail-trail movement.

Thank you, as well, to everyone who submitted nominations. We received compelling letters for dozens of candidates, and narrowing down the final choices took several months. As a result, even though we could not honor everyone nominated, we concluded the selection process feeling hugely inspired. In every corner of the country, the rail-trail movement has impressive allies, and we are proud to work with and on behalf of so many driven and accomplished advocates!

The 2011 Doppelt Family Rail-Trail Champions

GREG COX
San Diego, Calif.
STEVE KINSEY
San Rafael, Calif.
DAVID BURWELL and
BARBARA BURWELL*
Bethesda, Md.
PETER HARNIK
Arlington, Va.
BRIAN SMITH
Clearwater, Fla.
LINDA B. CRIDER
Palatka, Fla.
ED MCBRAYER
Decatur, Ga.
MARK ACKELSON
Pleasant Hill, Iowa
MAY THEILGAARD WATTS*
Highland Park, Ill.
THE HONORABLE RAY LAHOOD and GEORGE BURRIER
Washington, D.C.; Morton, Ill.
DAVID DIONNE
Birmingham, Ala.
FRED MEIJER
Grand Rapids, Mich.
CAROLYN KANE
Vestaburg, Mich.
JIM OBERSTAR and
TERRY MCGAUGHEY*
Brainerd, Minn.
EDWARD* and HILDA P. JONES
Williamsburg, Mo.
DARWIN HINDMAN
Columbia, Mo.
JOSHUA DAVID and
ROBERT HAMMOND
New York, N.Y.
ED HONTON*
Columbus, Ohio
TOM MURPHY
Washington, D.C.
ROBERT THOMAS
Philadelphia, Pa.
LINDA MCKENNA BOXX
Latrobe, Pa.
DAVID BRICKLEY
Woodbridge, Va.
CHARLES MONTANGE
Seattle, Wash.
RON SIMS
Washington, D.C.
SALLY C. JACOBS
Orono, Maine
 
*Indicates posthumous award

To learn more about the Rail-Trail Champions Award, contact us at media@railstotrails.org.

The Doppelt Family

Frederick and Lawrence Doppelt © Jeff DoppeltThe Doppelt family connection to rail-trails extends back to the railroads themselves. Brothers Frederick and Lawrence Doppelt were long-time investors in numerous rail companies, such as Burlington Northern, Florida East Coast, Missouri Pacific, Penn Central, Union Pacific, Western Maryland and others, and enjoyed being able to use trains for their daily transportation needs. They provided their families with a wealth of opportunities to experience the romance of train travel, seeing the country from the special vantage point of the rails. These experiences fed a love of both history and of the outdoors, and in the years since, Doppelt family members have been generous supporters of efforts designed to protect and promote both the historical and natural resources found along the thousands of miles of rail corridors spanning the United States.

Even as it took legions of workers to construct America's rail system in the 19th and early 20th centuries, building today's network of rail-trails takes the combined efforts of thousands of individuals in communities coast to coast. In recognition of and gratitude for these dedicated individuals, Jeffrey Doppelt and the members of the Doppelt family are pleased to fund the Doppelt Family Rail-Trail Champions Award.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037
+1-202-331-9696