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American Trails

Highlights of the 17th National Trails Symposium

The American Community Exhibit Hall
Introducing the American Lifestyles Trail & Greenway

  • Thursday, October 21, 3:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
  • Friday, October 22, 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 23, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

This will be the largest trails exhibition ever! The Exhibit Hall will feature over 150 exhibits representing trail-related businesses, agencies, and organizations from all over the country. This year we'll offer a new special attraction: Symposium supporters will work together to construct the American Lifestyles Trail & Greenway that will traverse the indoor Exhibit Hall to showcase exhibitor's products, services and contributions to trails in America. Here's where you'll also find the Poster Gallery and Silent Auction, as well as the place you'll enjoy Happy Trails hours. This project, with its central gathering area, will surely be a centerpiece and "place to be" at the Symposium. Another new feature will be the opportunity to share the beauty of your trail bridge or overpass in the Creative Crossings Photo Gallery. Non-registrants may visit the Exhibit Hall and experience the trails community during the conference by purchasing a ticket on site for $25. See the current list of sponsors and exhibitors, and to join in the project, download the Symposium Sponsor/Exhibitor package or contact the American Trails office at (530) 547-2060.

Design Charette

In a new featured event at the 17th National Trails Symposium, design professionals and trails enthusiasts from around the country will have the opportunity to influence the emerging role of trails in master planned communities. The design charette will focus on the Kingsborough Master Planned Community in Kaufman County, Texas, and will explore state-of-the-art concepts for creating new communities that sustain a trail-oriented lifestyle. The charette will occur in Dallas, Texas, approximately one month prior to the symposium, and the charette results will be presented in one of the symposium’s concurrent sessions. Special thanks to Kingsborough for sponsoring the design charette, and to HNTB Corporation for coordinating the activity.

Silent & Live Auctions

Thanks to our generous contributors, we have a great selection of auction items from which to choose. Bring your wallets æ you won't want to miss out on these great items! Silent Auction bidding begins on Thursday, October 21 at 3:00 p.m. The Live Auction will be held at Fiesta on Friday, October 22. Contact the American Trails office at (530) 547-2060, if you would like to contribute items to the auctions.

Party for the Trails
6:00 p.m. • Cost: $12.00 (see how to make reservations)

The Equestrian Land Conservation Resource is hosting the Party for the Trails at the Hyatt Regency to bring trail riding enthusiasts together.

Thursday ~ October 21

photo of walkers

Volksmarch event

Volksmarch Around Town Lake
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. • Cost: $5.00 (Pay on site)

Join the Texas Volkssport Association for a 10 km volksmarch (walk) on the trails around beautiful Town Lake. This is a great way to see the hidden beauty of Austin and Town Lake. Leaving from the Convention Center, you may walk this route at your own pace or in a group with local volkssporters starting at 12:00 noon. The Volkssport program is international, and the term "volkssport" in German literally means "sport of the people." Volksmarches are oriented toward all age groups from active seniors to families with babies in strollers. Every participant receives a recognition pin or patch, with the first 150 registered receiving a special commemorative award unique for this walk. Register, pay fees, and receive walk instructions at the AVA table in the registration area.

Building Trails Public Awareness Event
3:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

To provide the local community with an opportunity to visit exhibitors and learn about the Symposium, the Exhibit Hall will be open to attendees, guests and local trail enthusiasts at no charge. The Opening Reception will start at 6:30 p.m. and a limited number of reception tickets are available for those not registered for the Symposium and may be purchased at the Registration Trailhead for $15.00.

Welcoming You To The Path ~ Opening Reception
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Expect a warm welcome from Roger Bell, Chair of American Trails; Lloyd Doggett, Congressman (invited); Walt Dabney, State Parks Director for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department; Toby Hammett Futrell, City Manager, City of Austin; and Dr. John R. Collins, President of Texas Trails Network, at the kick-off event for the 17 th National Trails Symposium! Enjoy live music and hors d'oeuvres as you visit with past acquaintances, meet new friends, and check out the extensive American Community Exhibit Hall!

Friday ~ October 22

The Emerging Role of Trails in American Lifestyles ~ Opening Keynote Luncheon
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

  • American Trails Meeting of the Membership
  • American Trails Board Election
  • Presentations by:
    • The Honorable Mayor Will Wynn, City of Austin ~ Austin in Motion
    • Dr. Stephen N. Blair, Cooper Institute (Invited)
    • Richard H. Carmona, Surgeon General (Invited) ~ Healthier US: Get Fit with US

river boat picture

River boat shuttle to the Fiesta


Time: 6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Party & Ground Shuttle included with Registration
River Boat Shuttle: $10 round trip, limited seating; first come, first served

Looking for the best party in town on Friday night? Join us just two miles downstream from the Hyatt Hotel at Fiesta Gardens, on Town Lake, for a fun-filled evening with a decidedly Tex Mex flavor. Arrive via ground shuttle provided free with admission— or on the paddle wheel Lone Star Riverboat for an additional $10 round trip (limited seating; first come, first served). The trip will be sure to charm you with nostalgia and the gorgeous city skyline, as you experience the exhilaration of the outdoors, the abundant waterfowl, and beauty that is Austin. And, if you're lucky, witness the spectacular emergence of 1,000,000 Mexican free-tail bats from the Congress Avenue Bridge at sunset. When you arrive, the grounds and pavilions of Fiesta Gardens will be aglow with luminaria. The menu? Fajitas of course, with all of the accompaniments. And, for your listening and dancing pleasure, the Latino sounds of Del Castillo, chosen Austin's band of the year in 2003! Bid for great items provided by generous donors and support American Trails at the same time. This will be an excellent time to network with many other trail enthusiasts, while relaxing under the stars. If you need special accommodations, please contact us. Extra tickets may be purchased for compadres (companions). Boat trip tickets are available for pre-purchase on the Registration Form.

Saturday ~ October 23

Informal Horse Trail Caucus meeting
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Please meet at the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource's booth at 7:00 a.m. We will meet-and-greet, discuss what we have learned and what we want to learn more about in a brief meeting before breakfast on this busy Symposium day.

Celebrating the Emerging Role of Trails in America ~ Morning General Session
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Join American Trails and our federal partners for a recognition of the 1st anniversary of Take Pride in America, the 15th anniversary of Tread Lightly!, the 100th Anniversary of the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the 100th anniversary of the USDA Forest Service. In addition, celebrate historic milestones in national legislation including the 40 th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the 35 th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act. These Acts were enacted under President Lyndon B. Johnson, a favorite son of Texas.

Honored Speakers: Luci Baines Johnson (Invited) and Hulet Hornbeck, American Trails Board Member

To top off the celebration, hear from the invited leaders of our federal partners as they reflect on these legislative milestones and share the future direction in which they are taking their agency’s trails programs and initiatives:

  • US Army Corps of Engineers, General Carl Strock
  • USDA Forest Service, Chief Dale Bosworth
  • US DOI Bureau of Land Management, Director Kathleen Clarke
  • US DOI Fish and Wildlife Service, Chief of National Wildlife Refuge System, Bill Hartwig
  • US DOI National Park Service, Director Fran P. Mainella
  • US DOT Federal Highway Administration, Administrator Mary E. Peters

On The Path Of Excellence ~ American Trails' 17th National Trails Awards Celebration Banquet
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

The 2004 National Trails Symposium will honor outstanding efforts made by agencies, trail professionals, volunteers, the private sector, corporations, media, and others in this awards program. Robert M. Searns, American Trails Vice Chair, Founding Owner of Urban Edges, Inc., and a member of The GreenWay Team, will speak to us about "Creating Excellence in Trails." In addition to announcing award winners, American Trails will highlight important trail milestones by recognizing organization anniversaries. The awards program this year will also pay tribute to the newly designated (2003 & 2004) National Recreation Trails.

Sunday ~ October 24 ~ programs officially end at 3:45 p.m.

The Path Ahead: Achieving Great Things for America's Trails ~ Closing Keynote Luncheon
Time: 12:00 noon - 1:30 p.m.

Join us for a rousing and inspirational conclusion to the Symposium. First, get a peek at the excitement in store for the 18th National Trails Symposium to be hosted by the Quad Cities in 2006, and learn how your community might host a Symposium in the future.

Then, sit back and absorb the inspirational words of our keynote who will share the importance of striving for our dreams and not letting obstacles stand in the way of achieving great things for America's trails. It will be the perfect capstone to the exciting program that awaits you in Austin.

The Symposium officially ends at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday.

2004 National Trails Symposium Theme: The Emerging Role of Trails in American Lifestyles

Trails are no longer the exclusive domain of the solitude-loving wilderness seeker or the dedicated fitness enthusiast. Whether facilitating transportation alternatives, providing recreational and educational opportunities, encouraging well being, exploring history and heritage, or bringing together people of all ages and connecting communities, trails have become a prominent factor in how and where we choose to live our lives. The prominent role of trails in the American lifestyle contributes significantly to its phenomenal popularity and growth. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that President Bush is proposing $125 million for a new "healthy cities" initiative that would provide money for trails and other programs to combat a national crisis of obesity and associated health problems. Communities are already "walking the walk" and leading the way in demonstrating the correlation between trails and healthy minds, bodies, spirits, and communities.