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American Trails presented "Leveraging Cross-Sector Partnerships and Technology to Develop a Healthy, Vibrant Trails Community" on June 23, 2016 as a part of the American Trails "Advancing Trails Webinar Series"




"Leveraging Cross-Sector Partnerships and Technology to Develop a Healthy, Vibrant Trails Community"

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Credit Island Shared Bridge, Iowa


American Trails presented this Webinar on June 23, 2016. This webinar is presented by:

Read more and learn about the presenters...


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WEBINAR PRICES: This webinar is FREE for American Trails Members. Nonmembers pay $55. If you are an American Trails member at the Trail Professional ($75) level or higher, you can attend our webinars for FREE. This new member benefit will take effect with our June 2016 webinar and only applies for webinars during the same time that your membership is current/active.

The prices for all past archived webinars are $25 for members and $55 for nonmembers, in which you can access recordings to. If you are a new or renewing member, you can add a membership to your order at the same time. View our membership levels and benefits...



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Rapids City Trail


Communities across the country are seeking to promote their trails and natural spaces as part of an overall effort to create a healthier community. Leveraging cross-sector partnerships and new technology platforms can assist with this goal. This webinar will explore, a free, user-friendly, interactive, and mobile-responsive website which serves as a comprehensive resource that highlights multi-purpose trails, parks, and side-paths in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Users can track their physical activity progress in real-time and share their experiences with friends through social media. This webinar will feature the impact that a site like can have on the health of a community for both residents and visitors.

Nicole Carkner, Executive Director of the Quad City Health Initiative, will provide background on how the community health assessment for the Quad Cities has repeatedly identified nutrition and physical activity as key priority areas of opportunity for the health sector. She will also detail the impact of forming coalitions made up of cross-sector organizations and how they have been instrumental in the development of
Lisa Miller, Data/Graphics/GIS Director of the Bi-State Regional Commission and project leader for the Web-Based Interactive Trails Map,, will present how opens trail experiences to all members of the community regardless of age or ability and offers perfect opportunities for Quad Cities’ residents to move more and be active outdoors. Additionally, she will speak to the technological aspects of QCTrails, as well as how QCTrails fosters strong connections with trail managers throughout the community.

Joe Taylor, President and CEO of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, will speak to the impact trails can have on creating a healthy community by supporting local businesses and economies through tourism. He will offer insight on the many benefits a trails website can offer to communities throughout the country.


Key Learning Points—Leveraging Cross-Sector Partnerships and Technology to Develop a Healthy, Vibrant Trails Community:

1. Learn how a cross-sector community collaborative dedicated to community health improvement partnered with a metropolitan planning organization to promote the health benefits of our community's built environment.

2. Review the process, infrastructure, and technology leveraged to create a web enabled map of our community's many options for outdoor recreation.

3. Discuss the potential future connections for promoting our community as a healthy community to residents and tourists alike. 



Nicole Carkner

Ms. Nicole A. Carkner is the Executive Director of the Quad City Health Initiative which she has led since 2001. As Executive Director, Ms. Carkner develops and facilitates cross-sector collaborative partnerships to create a healthier community in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Formerly, Ms. Carkner was a health care management consultant working across the country with hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies, health care insurers, and health-related government agencies. Her expertise includes strategic planning, community health assessments, population health, and project leadership. Ms. Carkner serves on the national Advisory Council of the Association for Community Health Improvement and as a Senior Fellow for the Health Research and Educational Trust. Ms. Carkner holds an M.B.A. in Health Care Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and an A.B. with majors in Biology and Government from Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.  Ms. Carkner currently resides in Bettendorf, Iowa and enjoys the scenic Mississippi River Trail near her home. Email:


Lisa Miller


Lisa Miller is the Data/Graphics/GIS Director of the Bi-State Regional Commission, where she has been the project leader for the Web-Based Interactive Trails Map, She holds a BFA in Art/Emphasis: Visual Communication from Northern Illinois University. She oversees the data services, geographic information system/mapping, graphic design, and website activities at Bi-State and has been involved in a coordinative role in multi-jurisdictional acquisition of region-wide aerial imagery, the development of a data portal/warehouse for the QC Region, and numerous technical assistance projects to local governments in the five-county Bi-State (Iowa/Illinois) Region. She is a lifelong resident of the Quad Cities and enjoys the outdoors and traveling, especially exploring new trails. Email:




Joe Taylor


Joe Taylor has degrees in History from Black Hawk College, Moline, Illinois and Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for ten years before accepting his first tourism position at the Galesburg Illinois Chamber of Commerce. He has been employed the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau since its inception in 1990. He served as Director of Marketing and Communications before being named President/CEO in 1998. He has always had a personal interest in hiking and trail advocacy but his offices in the Quad Cities have always been located adjacent to his community’s trails. He simply looks out his office window to know how important trails are to recreation, community development, and health and wellness. He co-hosted the National Trails Symposium in the Quad Cities in 2006, served on the board of American Trails, Inc. from 2006-2013, and his office currently serves as the headquarters of the American Discovery Trail. Email:



Questions and Answers


Q: What are the critical elements to forming and maintaining a cross-sector community collaborative like QCHI?

A: At QCHI, we’ve found the literature on “collective impact” very helpful in defining critical elements for maintaining our cross-sector community partnership. Essentially, we work to create a common agenda, develop common definitions of success (or measurements), align activities across organizations for maximum impact, and provide ongoing communication across and between partners. QCHI provides the coordinating infrastructure to support and promote cross-sector collaboration in our community.


Q: How does the QCHI decide what issues it will work on?

A: The work of QCHI is rooted in our periodic community health assessments. The findings from each health assessment are discussed with our Board and with a subcommittee of our Board called our Project Committee. The Project Committee identifies those health issues that are of the greatest priority and those become focal points for organizing QCHI’s work.


Q: What was the cost to develop QCTrails?

A: The project was funded through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) grant. In Years 1 and 2 of the grant funding, just over $150,000 has been awarded with roughly 50% to website development/consultation and 50% to staff support and coordination of the overall effort.


Q: Can I measure how far I go on a trail on QCTrails?

A: Yes, each trail posting on lists the total miles for that trail – whether it is a network, one-way, loop, or round-trip. In addition, by hovering over and clicking on a segment of trail, the trail segment becomes highlighted, and a user can find the distance for that section. Most trails are broken up at logical access points, such as where there is parking or trailheads.


Q: What has been the level of coordination with local parks and recreation department and you state park system?

A: This is basically a local effort to collect information on the trails in the Quad Cities Region and provide this information on a single website and interactive trails map. Bi-State staff worked with various trail mangers to collect information about the trails in the Quad Cities area, including local jurisdictions (Geographic Information System coordinators, Parks & Rec. Departments, Conservation Departments), not-for-profits, state agencies, and even national trail organizations. We will be working with these various entities to develop partnerships to maintain the trails information on the website in the very near future.


Q: How did you go about selecting your consultant in Maine? Did they have special knowledge of the project?

A: Bi-State Regional Commission staff developed a Request for Proposals and conducted an objective (team approach) review of the proposals we received based on six criteria, with the selected consultant, Center for Community GIS based in Farmington, Maine scoring 93 of 100 possible points.


Q: What amount of traffic is the website currently getting?”

A: We launched the website publically on January 30, 2016. Media coverage the week following the launch garnered us approximately 840 users per week on the website. From February to April, user traffic averaged around 160 users per week (still winter in the Midwest). Website traffic spiked again the week of our media event, April 19, 2016 with 1200 users to the site. Since April the average number of users on the site has been approximately 450 per week.


Q: With the Log My Trails app, what are you using for a platform and is it similar to other similar apps such as Strava?

A: The Log My Trails app works wholly within the public interface website and certain elements are developed and maintained in “Branch,” the proprietary Content Management System for the website. Users are able to download KML or GPX files that contain the trails geography and points of interest and upload them to fitness apps such as Strava, etc.


Q: How has the use of trails benefitted the senior communities in your Quad city area? Is it a growing use by more seniors?

A: We are currently identifying ways to work with organizations that serve seniors and what the special needs are for this sector of the population. We’ve had interest from a center for active seniors in our community, have met with their director, and have tentatively scheduled a “Lunch and Learn” session with the center’s interested members. As far as use of the website by seniors: unfortunately, our current website analytics do not allow for the collection of demographic data for website; however, we are implementing a user feedback survey soon, which will ask for voluntary demographic information.


More Resources


American Trails Homepage

American Trails “Resources & Library” webpage

Quad City Health Initiative

Be Healthy QC

QC Trails

Bi-State Regional Commission

Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau

Association for Community Health Improvement

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