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Read the details of winners of the 2008 National Trails Awards

19th National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, Arkansas, November 15-18, 2008

American Trails presents the National Trails Symposium

View all of our sponsors bios & contact info...

The Symposium provides an opportunity for the worldwide trails community to come together for an inspirational and educational conference. The 2006 Symposium was held in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois. The Symposium agenda addresses both non-motorized and motorized issues and our vision for trails and greenways nationwide. Dozens of speakers and keynote presenters cover the top topics in the trails community with presentations from across America. Have breakfast with a trail expert and discuss the topic of your choice, and attend poster sessions on individual trail projects. And, mobile workshops give you the opportunity to walk, ride, hike, or paddle some of the great local trails. We also celebrate with the 40th Anniversary Parade of Trails.

photo of bicyclists


Besides the educational opportunities found at this biennial symposium, networking with a wide variety of knowledgeable people working on trails today, including advocates, agencies, land managers, designers, planners, technicians, vendors, builders, developers, and enthusiasts, is one of the best benefits of attending this conference. See the Symposium schedule for details.

The Symposium also provides sponsors and exhibitors from across America a place to showcase their products and services. Download the Sponsor/Exhibitor packet (pdf 120 kb) and Download the Exhibitor Rules & Regulations (pdf 40 kb).

Another highlight of the Symposium is the National Trails Awards, wich recognizes the people, agencies, and organizations that are creating trails for all Americans. We'll also be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the National Trails System.

Health and art on the trails in Little Rock
By Pam Gluck, Executive Director, American Trails

Photo of long curving bridge
The "Big Dam Bridge" in Little Rock, Arkansas

As we are all trying to make the connection between trails and health, you'll want to see Little Rock's Medical Mile project, coordinated by trail innovator Terry Eastin, a linear outdoor health museum. It is "lighting the way" for us to learn how to work with the medical community and bring hospitals and physicians across the country "on board" with trails. Healthcare is a big business in Little Rock, which has helped provide major support for the trails system.

Then there is the Big Dam Bridge project, over the Arkansas River, that is a shining example of how to take a BIG vision and make it happen. Judge Buddy Villines of Pulaski County had the concept and worked tirelessly to make it happen. He says "We build roads because we have to move cars in commerce. We build trails to improve the quality of life for our citizens." The project won a 2007 Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives Award from the Federal Highway Administration. See 2008 BDB events...

Photo of trellis over trail

Medical Mile Trail in downtown Little Rock

May 17, 2008 saw the grand opening of yet another new bicycle/pedestrian crossing of the river. Junction Bridge has served as a backdrop to both Little Rock and North Little Rock’s skylines for over 100 years. The bridge is a great place to view the Arkansas River. Yet another project to convert an abandoned railroad crossing of the river into a trail is the Rock Island Bridge, which will link to the Arkansas River trail right at the Clinton Presidential Library.

The mayors of both Little Rock and North Little Rock live trails. Jim Dailey, Mayor of Little Rock, believes "The artistry of our landscape, the health of our citizens, and the desire for innovative economic stimulus that harmonizes with the environment have given us a mandate for developing the Arkansas River Trail."

Mayor Patrick Hays says, "The North Little Rock River Trail is one of the most scenic bicycle and walking trails in the country." This proud and enthusiastic "father" of the trail actually helped lay out sections of it.

More about Little Rock - Turning Little Rock into a "City in a Park"

Photo of woman running on trail

View of downtown Little Rock

Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas, located on the banks of the Arkansas River. The six-county Little Rock-North Little Rock metropolitan area has a population of 643,272. For a video tour of the city: see low resolution video - or see high resolution video.

This year Little Rock was recognized by Prevention Magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association as the best walking city in Arkansas. Cities were evaluated on 14 criteria, including the percentage of adults who walk to work, number of parks per square mile, use of mass transit, and percentage of adults who walk for fitness. New this year, a Best Walking City was also named in each of the 50 states, from an evaluation of its 10 most populated cities. We applaud Little Rock; it's a great place to walk!

Map of Little Rock

CLICK to enlarge map


Some interesting areas of the city are:

Quapaw Quarter: Turn of the century Little Rock includes three National Register historic districts with over a hundred buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available showing the many Victorian and Antebellum homes.

Riverfront Park, located in downtown, hosts the annual Riverfest music festival, and home to La Petite Roche (the little rock).

River Market District is a refurbished former warehouse district and subset of downtown including an old-fashioned bazaar-style market hall, and various shops, bars, restaurants and galleries.

Arkansas River Trail


photo of bicyclists

Biking on the Arkansas River Trail

When completed, the Arkansas River Trail will reach from downtown Little Rock to Pinnacle Mountain State Park on the southern shore, and from downtown North Little Rock to Cook's Landing on the northern shore. A 14-mile loop will be created by a the "Big Dam Bridge" across Murray Lock and Dam and the Rock Island Raillroad Bridge, planned for a pedestrian crossing near the Presidential Library Center and Park. The Junction Railroad Bridge is also being converted to pedestrian and bicycle use, linking both sides of the Arkansas River. The trail will also connect to the 225-mile Ouachita Wilderness Trail.

The William J. Clinton Presidential Center, designed by architect James Polshek, cantilevers over the Arkansas River, echoing Clinton's famous campaign promise of "building a bridge to the 21st century." See the video of Bill Clinton's introduction to his Presidential Library.

Photo of long curving bridge

The city has two major universities that are part of the University of Arkansas System. The campuses of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences are located within Little Rock.

National Trails System Turns 40 in 2008

October 2, 2008, marks the 40th anniversary of passage of the National Trails System Act. This Act opened the door to Federal involvement in trails of all types, from city centers to remote back country. It also formally established both the Appalachian and Pacific Crest as America's first two National Scenic Trails. Eight more National Scenic Trails and 17 National Historic Trails totaling over 50,000 have also been designated. In addition, the Act authorized the designation of National Recreation Trails and the ground-breaking railbanking of abandoned railway corridors. Come join us as we celebrate four decades of America's National Trails System!

For more information on the National Trails System, visit these websites:

Photo of canoe

Medical Mile Trail in downtown Little Rock

More about Arkansas trails:

photo of bicyclists


More links to information:

General sessions
Keynote speakers
Featured workshops
Mobile workshops
Concurrent sessions

More things to do

Exhibit Hall
Be a sponsor
Sponsorship levels

National Awards
Be a volunteer

Volunteer signup
Planning team


Logistics + contacts

Quad Cities 2006
Austin 2004
Chattanooga 2010

2006 Awards
2008 Awards


The "Medical Mile" project

Art and Health on the Medical Mile

More photos: Cool Trail Solutions

The "Big Dam Bridge" project

Little Rock's Arkansas River Trail

Download New Arkansas River Trail Brochure

Arkansas conquers a trails funding crisis

Little Rock Parks & Recreation

The Mississippi River Trail

Clinton Presidential Library ties into Arkansas River Trail

Junction Bridge

Trail of Tears Project in Arkansas

Arkansas Trails page

Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

Ouachita National Forest

Ouachita Hiking Journal

Devil's Den State Park

Blanchard Springs Caverns (USFS)

Fayetteville's trail system is part of its "clean, green way of life"

Arkansas tourism and visitors information

Bell Slough nature trail renamed to honor former AGFC employee

Symposium will celebrate 40th anniversary of National Trails System Act



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