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2017 International Trails Symposium -
General Sessions and Keynotes


Conference Materials

Happy Trails Hour and Welcome Reception

Date: Sunday, May 7 Time: 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. (Happy Trails Hour–no-host bar starts at 4:00 p.m.)
Location: Exhibit Hall 102
Cost: Included with registration ($29 for guests, includes light meal)


Welcome, one and all, to the International Trails Symposium (ITS)!

The evening will begin with a brief welcome from American Trails, as well as our partners, including:


American Trails has worked hard to pull together the best and the brightest trail advocates, designers, builders, and developers from across the globe to attend this years’ Symposium. We honor just a few of those notable individuals in our biennial State Trail Awards. Honorees from across the nation have been received, and the best have been selected by our board of directors for special recognition. Tonight’s Welcome Reception will celebrate their unique accomplishments. (You can view the winners and their bios on the American Trails website following the Symposium and via the printed Awards Program that will be made available on Tuesday evening (May 9) during the Awards Banquet.)

In addition to all of the State Awards, American Trails has chosen to give a special award commemorating Emma Rowena “Grandma” Gatewood’s impact in Ohio and across the nation in promoting and developing the role of women in our nation’s long distance trail system. Ohio’s own Grandma Gatewood is hiking royalty and may be one of the most recognizable names within the Ohio hiking community, she is a legend.

Emma Caldwell was born around 1887 at Raccoon Creek in Gallia County, Ohio; she was one of 15 children. Emma spent most of her life on farms along the Ohio River. She married at age 19 and raised 11 children. Surprisingly, she had never hiked much. Then, in 1954, when she was 66, she read in the National Geographic magazine about the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail (AT). That year, she started hiking the Trail, but she didn’t get too far. The next year, 1955, she made it, hiking in her legendary KEDS sneakers with a laundry sack over her shoulder and a shower curtain to sleep on. She became the rst woman to thru-hike the AT by herself and in a continuous hike.

Her story has recently been brought to lm in the movie Trail Magic produced by Peter Huston based on the book “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.” We will show the Trail Magic movie this evening following the Welcome Reception in the theater on the 3rd oor of the Convention Center. Show times are 5:00 p.m. for the public, and 8:30 p.m. for ITS attendees. We will hold a Q&A following each showing with the director Peter Huston and Grandma Gatewood’s great granddaughter Marjorie Wood.


Opening Keynote Luncheon “Trails Take Flight”

Date: Monday, May 8
Time: 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Location: Exhibit Hall 101
Cost: Included with registration ($29 for guests, includes meal)


We welcome attendees to Dayton by first introducing our 16 Emerging Leaders scholarship recipients. This year, the worthy recipients join us from all over the United States as well as Nepal, Turkey, and El Salvador.

Dayton, Ohio is the home of the famed Wright Brothers, and is arguably the innovation hub that made American’s the high- ying visionaries of the world. In many ways, though far less dramatic, the visionary history of Dayton has also developed a leading role in trails in our nation. The bicycle was the basis for both ight and for America’s burgeoning transportation system, including trails. Combine that with the invention of the dry dam, which was integral to the development of parks and trails in Dayton and across the country.

Our exciting opening keynote speakers will celebrate the accomplishments and unique position Dayton holds in the history of America, and America’s trails.

Join special guests and keynote speakers:

Stephen (Steve) Wright is the great grandnephew of Wilbur and Orville Wright. He is the great grandson of Lorin Wright the second of ve Wright brothers born to the Bishop Milton Wright and Susan Koerner Wright. His great grandfather Lorin lived his entire life in Dayton and often worked closely with his two, more famous younger brothers in the capacity of book keeper, unof cial photographer, aircraft handler, secret agent, and most importantly, close, life-long con dant.

Steve lives and has worked in Dayton as a commercial photographer for 30 years and, along with his sister Amanda Wright Lane, serves as a trustee of the Wright Family Foundation. The Wright Family Foundation was founded by Amanda and Steve’s late father Wilkinson Wright to bene t scholarly causes in the eld of aviation history and the preservation of artifacts relating to aviation. In recent years the Wright Family Foundation has been dedicated to the preservation and restoration of one of Dayton’s great architectural treasures, Hawthorn Hill, the home of the Wright Brothers.

We are honored to be able to include a replica of the Wright Brothers Valentine Flyer plane in our exhibit hall, which also serves as a backdrop to the Opening and Closing Keynote Luncheons at the 2017 International Trails Symposium.

Mark Rentschler is the Board President of the Miami Conservancy District (MCD). The MCD protects communities in southwest Ohio from ooding, preserves the quality and quantity of water, and promotes the enjoyment of the waterways. Mark’s passion for the Miami Conservancy District (MCD) may be genetic. He is the fth member of his family to proudly serve on the MCD board of directors. His great, great-uncle, Gordon Rentschler, was one of the three founding board members. Another great great-uncle, George; his grandfather, Walter; and his father, Tom; also have served on the board of directors.

Mark has continued his family’s passion to serve the region. All of the Rentschlers have been true to Arthur Morgan’s vision of combining recreation with ood protection. About 3,300 acres of land in the retarding basins behind the dry dams are part of a system that reduces ood risk for about one million people. The Rentschlers, in their work on the board of directors, have made certain that MCD-owned land in places like Taylorsville and Germantown MetroParks continues to provide opportunities for recreation activities including hiking, birdwatching and paddling. And more than 50 miles of bike trails in this region are built on MCD land, much of it on or along levees that protect cities from flooding.

Cocktail Hour at National Museum of U.S. Air Force

Join the Party!
Attendees will have the opportunity to attend two great offsite events (included with a full registration) on Monday night during the Symposium.

Date: Monday, May 8
Time: 5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. (transportation starts at 5:00 p.m.)
Location: National Museum of U.S. Air Force
Cost: Included with registration (no-host bar)

The museum will be closed to the public but opened for a private party for International Trails Symposium attendees! Complimentary transportation (courtesy of Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority) will be provided to all attendees to join us for cocktail hour “under the wings” at the Air Force Museum. There is no charge to visit the museum but a no-host bar will serve cocktails. With a new fourth hangar, we understand that a lot of time can be spent admiring and learning the history of the aircrafts. If you didn’t get to see all that you wanted to on Monday night, we invite you to visit the museum again during your trip to Dayton. Admission to the museum is free and regular business hours are from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. seven days a week. Learn more at http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/.

Trails Rock Party and Live Auction

Date: Monday, May 8
Time: 7:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m.
Location: RiverScape Pavilion
Cost: Included with registration (includes $10 food truck voucher, no-host bar)


Sponsored by  


Proceeds from beer purchases will be split between local trail organizations.

Attendees who visited the museum will then be transported to the Trails Rock Party at the RiverScape Pavilion, which is located along the Great Miami River National Water Trail (recently named a national water trail in June 2016, it is only one of 22 national water trail systems in the country).

Attendees can enjoy a stroll or bike ride along the trail system, check out the recent modi cation of a low- head dam and construction of a white water play area just upstream, yummy food from a variety of food truck vendors, a no-host bar, live auction, and will rock out to The Sly Band— an 11 piece ensemble including horns!

Complimentary transportation (courtesy of Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority) will also be provided from the host hotels on a continual basis throughout the evening.

Attendees also have the option to walk or use the Link Bike Share (attendees will get a free pass for Link during their visit).

Awards Banquet and 50th Anniversary Celebration

Date: Tuesday, May 9
Time: 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. (Happy Trails Hour starting at 6:00 p.m.)
Location: Theatre, 3rd Floor
Cost: Included with registration ($49 for guests, includes heavy hors d’oeuvres)


Happy Trails Hour sponsored by  

We are excited to announce that we have completely redesigned our biennial National and International Trails Awards program. This year’s awards program will be much shorter (we heard your feedback) and will focus on the following awards:



After we celebrate this year’s award recipients, we will turn our attention to a visual and audio celebration of the kickoff of the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System.

We are look forward to high caliber speakers including:

In 2018, America will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our National Trails System. But the party has already start- ed! Join the National Trails 50th Birthday celebration by sharing your stories, photos, or favorite memories, or by simply getting out on the trail – and maybe bringing along a friend.

With the 1968 passage of the National Trails System Act, America was given a gift – the creation and protection of some of our favorite places to discover and engage with the great outdoors. National Scenic Trails, such as the Appalachian Trail, celebrate outdoor adventure; and National Historic Trails, such as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, allow us to walk through history.

This anniversary is a golden opportunity for all Americans to not just celebrate trails – all trails – but to learn about them, enjoy them and protect them. For the next two years, the 50th Anniversary Celebration, will engage the American public and spur a new level of awareness and engagement for all generations.


The keynote speakers for the kickoff of the 50th Anniversary are Robert and Martha Manning.

Robert Manning is Professor Emeritus in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. He teaches and conducts research on the history, philosophy, and management of national parks and wilderness. He is the founding Director of the Park Studies Laboratory which conducts a long-term program of research for the U.S. National Park Service and other agencies, and is the author of several books about the national parks. His wife, Martha Manning, is an artist specializing in ber, clay, and printmaking. Her work has been featured in national shows and publications.

Robert and Martha have hiked dozens of long-distance trails and multi-day walks on six continents and write books to encourage others to walk more and to try long-distance walking. Their books, “Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People” and “Walks of a Lifetime: Extraordinary Hikes from Around the World,” have been called “beautiful” and “inspiring” and are endorsed by the Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, and American Hiking Society.


Closing Keynote Luncheon “Trails at the Heart of the Future American City: Trails and Transportation”

Date: Wednesday, May 10
Time: 11:45 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Location: Exhibit Hall 101
Cost: Included with registration ($29 for guests, includes meal)

American Trails is looking forward to a bright future. Challenges will come and go, but we are a strong, diverse, and united group. We endeavor to promote and develop trails as a prime source of recreation, transportation, health, and wellness throughout the world. Thank you all for joining the 2017 International Trails Symposium, and for working toward a brighter trails future.

RAFFLE DRAWING: Bike Path Country and Direct Embed have partnered with American Trails and gen- erously donated a bike wrapped with the American Trails logo to be raffled off at ITS 2017. The drawing will take place at the Closing Luncheon. All proceeds for this raf e will support the 2019 Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program. Thank you to those that donated!

2017 Emerging Leaders Experience Hear from this year’s Emerging Leaders scholarship recipients. What happened this week, and where do they go from here?

American Trails Business Meeting and Board Election AT members will be asked to vote on the current slate of board members and officers.

Keynote Address: Panel of speakers from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Healthy people. Healthy places. Sustainable Communities. These aspirations are the driving force behind a revolution that’s changing how we think about the places where we live, work, and play. Changing mindsets, advances in technology, and evolving ideas about quality of life are inspiring a cultural shift toward active lifestyles and neighborhoods built around trail networks for both recreation and transportation. The time is now to put trails, biking, and walking at the center of people’s lives. Join us and imagine what’s possible with trails at the heart of communities.

Hulet Hornbeck Lifetime Service Award

As American Trails looks forward, we pause to celebrate the Hulet Hornbeck Lifetime Service Award. This award recognizes and honors an individual demonstrating long- standing, signi cant, and exemplary service to the trails movement, just as did the long-time board member and trails guru, Hulet Hornbeck. This year’s recipient demonstrates contributions that are national in scope and have achieved lasting impact for trails.




American Trails

P.O. Box 491797
Redding, CA 96049-1797
(530) 605-4395

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