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See details of how to submit a proposal

19th National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, Arkansas, November 15-18, 2008

Call for Presentations

(deadline for submissions passed) Attendees were invited to help develop an exciting and motivating program for the Symposium; see important topics and submitting a proposal in support of the Symposium's theme: "Innovative Trails: Transforming the American Way of Life."

You may download and print the Call for Presentations in pdf format (200 kb)

photo of classroom
A workshop at the 2004 National Trails Symposium in Austin, Texas

Concurrent sessions

We expect to offer 40 concurrent sessions, each lasting 75 minutes.


Another opportunity, in a smaller scale format, to display information about your project or issue to a wide audience is creating a poster. Posters will be displayed in a common area throughout the Symposium. Individuals displaying posters will also have an opportunity to share their "story" and to meet with interested attendees at designated times during the Symposium.

Potential topics

The Program Committee is particularly seeking presentations that introduce new ideas, convey useful strategies, identify lessons learned, and strengthen participants' existing skills and knowledge in the spirit of the Symposium theme. Potential topics for presentations include, but are definitely not limited to, the suggested topic areas attached. For additional information about the program, please contact the Program Committee Chair: Rory Robinson, Outdoor Recreation Planner, National Park Service, RTCA Program, 2179 Everett Road, Peninsula, OH 44264; Tel: (330) 657-2951; Fax: (330) 657-2955;

See how to submit a proposal for presentations for the National Trails Symposium

You may download and print the Call for Presentations in pdf format (200 kb)

Symposium Theme: "Innovative Trails: Transforming the American Way of Life"

Trails have been transforming our nation and the way we live from its beginnings. This transformation continues today as trails have become a prominent factor in how and where we choose to live our lives creating transportation, recreational and educational opportunities; encouraging health and well-being; exploring history and heritage; bringing together people of all ages and abilities; and connecting communities. This theme is also a brand for American Trails, an innovative organization working on behalf of all trail interests to enhance and protect America's growing network of interconnected trails by finding common ground and promoting cooperation among all trail interests.

Presentation Topics to Consider

Advocacy: build and sustain advocacy for trails organizing; lobbying; outreach

Benefits of Trails: the triple bottom line; economic, environmental and health; other benefits; recognizing and promoting

Building Strong Organizations for Trails: leadership; how to recruit, organize, educate, implement organizations; board selection and development; liability; membership; fundraising; use of volunteers; website development

Cultural/Historical Issues: trail development in historical context; preserving working landscapes; diversity of users; preserving/using historic structures; working with Native Americans; the arts

Design and Construction: sustainability; accessibility; Universal Trail Assessment Process; design standards; mapping; viewshed analysis; funding; trail-building techniques, materials, products and equipment; specialized construction practices; hybrid contracting; citizen-built trails; signage; multi-season and multi-use trail design, minimizing user conflicts; art and trails;

Economic Issues: ecotourism; greenways and trails to support infrastructure; projects in low-income areas; projects in brownfields

Educational Opportunity of Trails: trails developed or used as non-traditional classrooms; teaching opportunities for history, natural history, geography, survival skills, cultural issues, orientation/geocaching, or other topics.

Environmental Issues: Stewardship; benefits; impacts of projects; designation and protection of ecological infrastructure; wildlife interface; trails as a resource management tool; global/green living

Funding: Public funding, private sources, creative funding, funds for operations and maintenance

Future of Trails: anticipating change; emerging technologies, trends; new trail users or user groups, meeting the needs of changing demographics

Health: health benefits of trails; promoting trails for mental, physical, social, and spiritual well-being; partnering with/engaging the health community

Information Systems: internet/websites; software applications; GIS/GPS;

Land Acquisition: strategies; tools for acquiring, partners, mineral rights, NIMBY's

National Trails System: future of the system; partnerships, management, NRT program

Natural Disasters and Trails: impacts on trails, reconstruction strategies; trails for access

Operations and Maintenance: funding; partnering; volunteers; effective management organizations; equipment; cost-effective maintenance

Partnerships: partnering for trail funding, construction, or maintenance; partnering with agencies, different trail user groups, developers, private landowners, utility companies, stakeholders; coalition building; consensus building tools; sustaining long-term relationships; diversity

Policy: legislation; funding, federal highway funding reauthorization; compliance; liability; access; user fees

Promoting Greenways & Trails: selling benefits; fundraising; media; special events; designation and recognition

Safety and Security on Trails: building safe trails; changing perceptions; emergency access and communications; trails as community watch

Trail System Planning: objectives; laying out the trails; agency involvement & cooperation, environmental impacts; funding; regional and national connectivity; crossing boundaries; ecological infrastructure; master planning; the urban/rural interface; shared use; user conflicts; alternative transportation; rails with trails

Trail User Groups: opportunities to partner; securing easements; shared-use; design; operations; maintenance; funding

Water Trails: design; facility needs; management; signage

Youth and Trails: engaging youth in design, construction, operations; getting them on the trail

PLEASE NOTE: The Program Committee looks forward to receiving your ideas. Due to the tremendous number of proposals expected, we will not be able to accept every proposal, and we may combine individual proposals with similar topics to create a Panel Session. If you know of someone who would complement your proposal, please forward the Call onto them. We anticipate over 150 presenters. We hope you understand with these numbers, we are unable to cover expenses, so speakers are expected to pay the Symposium registration fee and travel expenses. It is considered an honor to present in front of your peers. A limited number of scholarships may be available to offset some costs. But these scholarships are primarily for presenters outside of the trails community that wouldn't otherwise be attending.

Registration and Accommodations

Online registration will be available June 1, 2008 and a detailed registration booklet will be sent out in July. But to help you plan now, the cost of the Symposium will range from $325 early registration for an American Trails member to $450 for regular registration, non-member. Lodging will range $79 $95, plus tax. Hotel information will be released in March. The main events and Exhibit Hall for the National Trails Symposium will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

See how to submit a proposal for presentations for the National Trails Symposium

You may download and print the Call for Presentations in pdf format (200 kb)

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