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General Sessions at the National Trails Symposium

2006 National Trails Symposium Theme: Trails for America: Every Where, Every Way, Every Day. The story of America's trails is as old as the story of America. Transcending time, linking past with future, trails weave into the fabric of our lives: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Whether for transportation, recreation, conservation, or health, when we use a trail, we go beyond the workaday world into the essential realm of viewing life as an unfolding gift. Connecting us to ourselves, to each other, to the land, to our shared histories and cultures is the way of trails in America.

See biographices of the keynotes and other speakers, and the list of concurrent sessions.

Thursday, October 19

Welcoming You to the Path ~ Opening Reception
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Expect a warm welcome from Bob Searns, Chair of American Trails; Joe Taylor, President of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Mayors of the Quad Cities; Sam Flood, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Jeffrey Vonk, Director, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Thomas Vilsack, Governor of Iowa, at the kick-off event for the 18th National Trails Symposium!

Enjoy hors d'oeuvres as you visit with past acquaintances, meet new friends, and check out the extensive Exhibit Hall!

Friday, October 20

What is the Future of Trails and Greenways in America? ~ Opening Keynote Luncheon
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Location: Mississippi River Hall

American Trails Board Election & Meeting of the Membership

Welcome by: Ernie Quintana, Regional Director, National Park Service

American Trails will set the keynote for the Symposium with a special "Ten Steps to Save our Outdoors" forum. We have invited the current and likely U.S. Presidential hopefuls to each offer up three things they would do to save our outdoors and to create a positive future for trails and greenways. You will also be asked to put forward your suggestions. These will be compiled in to a letter of "ten steps" that American Trails will send to the Presidential hopefuls, the White House, each Cabinet Secretary, each member of Congress, and the national media.

Saturday, October 21

On the Path of Excellence
~ American Trails' 18th National Trails Awards Celebration Banquet

Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

The 2006 National Trails Awards will honor outstanding efforts made by agencies, trail professionals, volunteers, the private sector, corporations, media, and others in this evening's awards program. Doug McConnell, Bay Area Backroads TV Series, will be our emcee for the evening and speak to us about Creating Excellence in Trails. "Backroads" explores the paths less traveled across the country. Doug has created, produced and hosted many series, special programs, and news projects on travel, the environment, and natural resources for local, national and international distribution.

Please join us in the beautiful Adler Theatre and help celebrate the worthy recipients of these awards:

Award Recipient: Hudson River Valley Greenway; Presented by: Jim Wood (left), American Trails Board Member


  • Lifetime Service
  • Trails for Health
  • Partnership
  • Trails Public Service
  • Outstanding Media
  • Trails and the Arts
  • Planning/Design
  • Corporate
  • State-of-the-Art Technology
  • Outstanding Trail Sharing
  • Trail Advocacy Award (1 award per State)
  • Trail Worker Award (1 award per State)

In addition to announcing award winners, American Trails will highlight important trail milestones by recognizing the anniversaries of several organizations and programs.

The awards program this year will also pay tribute to the newly designated (2005 & 2006) National Recreation Trails.

Sunday, October 22

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 as we reminisce about where we've been over the past four days. Then, get a peek at the excitement in store for the 19th and 20th National Trails Symposiums.

Gil Penalosa, President of Walk and Bike for Life in Ontario, Canada


Then, sit back and absorb the inspirational words of our Keynote, Gil Penalosa, President of Walk and Bike for Life in Ontario, Canada. Learn how Gil got over a million people walking, running, biking, skating and people-watching in Bogota, Colombia with the Ciclovia - an "out-of-the-box" weekly event. Gil is a global thinker and is passionate about trails, greenways and parks, because of their impact on the quality of life for everyone. He believes trails are great equalizers, where every person has a sense of belonging, of being "equal" as a human being and everyone goes to the trails regardless of gender, age, and economic, social or ethnic background. He will illustrate his E.A.R.T.H.: Environment, Activity/Economic, Recreation, Transportation and Health vision for the trails movement. Read more about Gil's fascinating background, by visiting the Symposium website: www.americantrails.org/quad.

Gil Penalosa will also 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 a great Symposium!

John Deere Buck ATV Raffle Drawing at the Closing Luncheon

Win a John Deere Buck ATV! Buy your raffle tickets NOW! Purchase tickets to win a John Deere Buck ATV, generously donated by John Deere.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased four ways:

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • 1 Ticket: $10
  • 3 tickets: $25
  • 7 tickets: $50
  • 15 tickets: $100

The drawing will take place at the Closing Luncheon at the National Trails Symposium on October 22, 2006. You do NOT have to be present to win. Proceeds go to support the National Trails Symposium and to continue the work of American Trails. Thank you for your support!

To see all of the great trail products John Deere offers, visit their website at www.johndeere.com.

Where to find it:


Won by Joe Walker, from Denton, Texas:






Updated December 1, 2006

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