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Events at the National Trails Symposium

See bios of speakers and keynote presenters

Special events day by day:

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

The Exhibit Hall features over 125 exhibits from trail-related businesses, agencies, and organizations

Thursday: Oct. 19, 3:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Friday: Oct. 20, 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Saturday: Oct. 21, 8:00 a.m. - 12 Noon
Location: Great River Hall

The Exhibit Hall will feature over 125 exhibits representing trail-related businesses, agencies, and organizations from all over the country. Once again, the Exhibit Hall will be designed as a greenway with two trails running through it-- the Mississippi River Trail and American Discovery Trail. Symposium supporters will work together to construct the American Lifestyles Trail & Greenway, with all the amenities, including a central gathering area, 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, Auction and the Creative Crossings Photo Gallery, as well as the place you'll enjoy "Happy Trails" hours. As a special treat, this year's Symposium will feature a 42-foot diameter Labyrinth that you'll actually be able to walk. The Trail & Greenway will surely be a centerpiece and the "place to be" at the Symposium. Non-registrants may visit the Exhibit Hall and experience the trails community during the conference by purchasing a ticket on site at the Registration Trailhead for $25. See the Guide to view the list of sponsors and exhibitors. A special thanks is extended to Aunt Rhodie's Landscaping and Design Studio for the creative design of the Exhibit Hall and Trail and Greenway system, and to Pat Frese of Event Management Unlimited for coordinating the Exhibit Hall.


Thanks to our generous contributors, we have a great selection of auction items from which to choose. Bring your wallets-- you won't want to miss out on these great items! Auction bidding begins on Thursday, October 19 at 3:00 p.m. and closes on Saturday, October 21 at 6:00 p.m. The Live Auction will be held on the Riverboat Cruise on Friday, October 20.

Early Morning Bike Rides

Daily: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Location: Meet at RiverCenter's south entrance
Time: 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
Cost: one smile + bike rental
If renting a bike, meet at the Quad City Bicycle Rental Booth at 6:30 a.m. near the Registration Trailhead

Have you ever heard the rumors about how easy-going and friendly people are in the mid-west? The Quad City Bicycle Club (QCBC) is no exception. Feel the awe and attraction to the Mississippi as you explore the parks and sites along our great river parkway.

Daily 7:00 a.m. rides will be lead by our local trail authority and advocate, Chuck Oestreich, and will depart from the RiverCenter's south entrance by 7:00 a.m. sharp. Please be ready and waiting 15 minutes early in case there is a last minute repair. Rides will head out in a different direction each day and return to the convention center by 8:00 a.m. to allow time to freshen up before attending seminars.

Educational opportunities exist for learning local history, eco-culture, trail and park development in a setting that highlights our great river basin and green spaces.

Bike rentals are limited: It would be to your advantage to bring your own bike, if possible. It is highly recommended to reserve your bike in advance. A liability waiver and a helmet are required. Weather may be a limiting factor, which may require modifying, or canceling a ride.

Trail Talk - Breakfast with an Expert - see bios of these and other speakers

Location: Mississippi River Hall

Early risers, we are offering an opportunity to do some networking with trail experts as a part of the continental breakfasts on Friday, October 20 and Saturday, October 21. We have invited experts in various trail related areas to convene a topic table and facilitate an informal discussion/exchange of ideas during breakfast. The "big ideas" discussed at your table will be recorded and posted on the American Trails website. The schedule is below, but if there is something that YOU would like to lead a discussion on, extra tables, table tents and report forms will be available so you can convene a group to discuss your favorite topic. Pastries and strong coffee and tea will be available!

Friday, October 20, 7:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.

  • Trails and Accessibility: Bill Botten, Accessibility Specialist, Office of Technical and Information Services, U.S. Access Board; Gary Robb, Executive Director of the National Center on Accessibility
  • Rail Corridor Acquisition: Charles Montange, Attorney
  • Building Sustainable Trails: Brigit Brown, Parks and Recreation Specialist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Scott Linnenburger, Director of Field Programs, International Mountain Bicycling Association
  • Risk and Liability: Doug Wyseman, Risk Management, Municipal Risk Services, Ltd.
  • Funding: Kandee Haertel, Executive Director, Equestrian Land Conservation Resource; Terry Whaley, Executive Director, Ozark Greenways, Inc.
  • Accessible Trail Gate Barriers: Peter Axelson, Director of Research and Development, Beneficial Designs, Inc.; Jeremy Vlcan, Trails Project Assistant, Beneficial Designs, Inc.; Patti Longmuir, UTAP Master Trainer, PEL Consulting; Mike Passo, UTAP Master Trainer, Owner, Elakah Expeditions LLC, and American Trails Board Member

Saturday, October 21, 7:45 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

  • Trails and Health: Terry Eastin, Executive Director, Mississippi River Trail, Inc.; Helen Mahan, Project Officer, Active Living by Design Program
  • Water Trails: Paul Sanford, Director, Stewardship and Public Policy, American Canoe Association
  • Motorized Trails: Dana Bell, Project Coordinator, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Inc.; Jack Terrell Project Coordinator, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Inc.
  • National Recreation Trails Program: Cherri Espersen, NRT Coordinator, RTCA Program, National Park Service; Stuart Macdonald, Project Manager, National Trails Training Partnership
  • Trail Maintenance: Jim Schneider, Assistant Director and Trail Manager, Greene County Parks, Ohio; Julia Rundberg, State Trail Coordinator, Trails and Waterways, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • High Efficiency Trail Assessments: Peter Axelson, Director of Research and Development, Beneficial Designs, Inc., Jeremy Vlcan, Trails Project Assistant, Beneficial Designs, Inc.; Patti Longmuir, UTAP Master Trainer, PEL Consulting; Mike Passo, UTAP Master Trainer, Owner, Elakah Expeditions LLC, and American Trails Board Member

Volksmarches in Quad Cities

Time: At your convenience


Symposium attendees can enjoy three Volksmarches in the Quad Cities—in two states, Iowa and Illinois. The Mississippi Ramblers Volksmarch Club offers the following walks, all sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association (AVA):

  • In Davenport, Iowa, the start/finish point is Mojo's coffee shop, 2nd and Main, downtown Davenport, just a few blocks from the meeting space of the Symposium. Two walks along the Mississippi River and through the campus of St. Ambrose University are available.
  • In Moline, Illinois, the start/finish point is Centre Station Gift Shop, 1200 River Drive, downtown Moline. The route follows John Deere sites and the Mississippi River Trail in downtown Moline.
  • In Geneseo, Illinois (about 20 miles east of the Quad Cities), the walk starts at the Geneseo Campground office, 22978 Illinois Highway 82, Geneseo. The walk is along the historic towpath of the Hennepin Canal.

Please be sure to ask for the "walk box" at the starting location for directions and to sign the registration book. There are no set times for people to walk – it is at their convenience. For more information, contact: George Grilley, (309) 797-1362 or email geo58@mchsi.com.

Wednesday, October 18


A Taste of the Mississippi River Trail

Location: Skybridge in Davenport
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Cost: No cost

The Davenport Skybridge provides easy access to the Mississippi River Trail

Trail on over to the glassed-in Davenport Skybridge for a taste of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT)! Join board members, friends, Symposium attendees and special guests as we eat, drink, and enjoy exhibits from Lake Itasca all the way to the Gulf of Mexico!

Take the ten state challenge: sample wares and fares from the delta to the headwaters, put on your party dress in New Orleans, grab some Mardi Gras beads, get "lost" in Arkansas' Big Woods, and kick up your heels to the Memphis Blues! Scale the St. Louis Arch or hit the slots in the Quad Cities Isle of Capri. Leap over Minneapolis' Stone Arch Bridge and wind up in Minnesota's northern heartland where Ojibwe Indians harvest wild rice by hand!

This is a don't-miss event! Check out www.mississippirivertrail.org for more information.

Thursday, October 19

Building Trails Public Awareness Event

Location: Great River Hall
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free -- Open to the Public

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 free of charge. Music entertainment will be provided by The Flip Flops, a husband and wife duo, whose fun, frivolous and crowd favorites are sure to make for a festive evening. Dozens of outdoor recreation groups from the Quad Cities will offer table-top activities for everyone (see descriptions, times and room locations below). There will be a special presentation on the American Discovery Trail and other programs on off-the-beaten-path travel. Iowa's centennial celebration of the Antiquities Act of 1906 will also be featured. An Iowa Congressman, John Fletcher Lacey, authored and championed the act, which allows Presidents to preserve federal lands. Many National Parks were first proclaimed as National Monuments. Federal and state officials will conduct a ceremony to honor this visionary Iowan since the National Trails Symposium is being held in his own state.

You can also register to get your name in a drawing for a $250 gift certificate for a stay at Maplelag Resort in Callaway, MN, a destination cross-country ski resort. Fill out an entry form at the table as you enter the Exhibit Hall for your chance to win!

Building Trails Public Awareness Event Presentations

Time: 3:10 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Iowa River Room

Join us for a dynamic discussion on methods for developing a trail documentary, including partnership and funding options. The focal point of the session will be to watch two touching documentaries on the Nez Perce National Historic Trail: Landscape of History and Surviving Lewis & Clark: The Nimiipuu Story.

Speaker: Sandi McFarland, Administrator, Nez Perce National Historic Trail

Time: 4:10 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Missouri River Room

This presentation will encourage designers, planners, managers, builders, etc. to use the trails created by nature-- not man. The presentation will take you off the asphalt pathways and into the purest parts of this county and in Tanzania, Africa. The purpose is to share Corrie's experience in Africa, on American trails, and to motivate people to travel and use trails that are off-the-beaten-path.

Speaker: Corrie A. Meyer, ASLA, RLA, Landscape Architect, Schmidt Associates, Inc.

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p. m.
Iowa River Room

In the last six years, Ken and Marcia Powers have walked more than 13,000 trail-miles through 30 states. After completing long-distance hikers' Triple Crown: the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and Appalachian Trails. They became the first to "thru-hike" the American Discovery Trail in 2005 for a hikers' Grand Slam. They hiked the entire 4,900-mile length in 231 days. Join Ken and Marcia for slides and stories of their adventures on the ADT from the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Henlopen, Delaware to the Pacific Ocean at Point Reyes, California. Learn what it takes to plan for eight months on the trail, such as training, navigation skills, caching water, and organizing food and fuel drops.

Moderator: Dick Bratton, Vice President-Public Relations & Colorado State Coordinator, American Discovery Trail Society

Speakers: Ken and Marcia Powers

Friday, October 20

The Celebration Belle Riverboat Cruise

Celebration Belle Riverboat Cruise

Location: On river front in Moline
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Party included with Registration
Cost: $45.00

Come enjoy great food, friends and dancing aboard the Celebration Belle Riverboat while cruising the mighty Mississippi River! The Celebration Belle Riverboat Cruise is a family owned and operated business and was named one of the top forty attractions by the state of Illinois. With the popularity of their 100-Mile Day Long Cruise and other cruises such as the Big Band Cruises and Prime Rib Dinner Cruises, along with their privately chartered cruises, the Celebration Belle has significantly boosted tourism along the river.

This party is definitely the place to be on a Friday night! For your listening and dancing pleasure, the blues sounds of The Mercury Brothers, winner of the 2005 Iowa Blues Challenge, will entertain us! Bid for great items provided by generous donors at the Live Auction 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. The Riverboat Cruise is included in your full registration package or in the Friday single day package. Extra tickets may be purchased at the Registration Trailhead for companions.

Where to find it:


Won by Joe Walker, from Denton, Texas:




Updated December 1, 2006

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