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Read bios of the many Symposium speakers and presenters...

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

Opening & Closing Keynotes

Join us for inspirational keynote presentations at the 19th National Trails Symposium!

Opening Keynote Luncheon ~ Trails: Prescription for Better Health

Download the Powerpoint presentation from Dr. Richard Jackson's talk (.ppt file, 18.3MB).

photo of lDr. Richard Jackson
Dr. Richard Jackson in Yosemite National Park

The Opening Keynote for the Symposium will be Dr. Richard Jackson, an internationally recognized environmental health expert who in recent years has focused on the links between urban sprawl and human health. He is a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health.

Prior to his current position, he was an adjunct professor in public health at the University of California at Berkeley, the Public Health Officer for the California Department of Health Services, and the Director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As co-author of the much-acclaimed book Urban Sprawl and Public Health, Dr. Jackson argues that the way we build cities and neighborhoods is the source of many chronic diseases: “The modern America of obesity, inactivity, depression, and loss of community has not ‘happened’ to us. We legislated, subsidized, and planned it this way.”

Dr. Jackson understands the important role(s) trails and greenways can play in changing the way we create healthy and livable communities and sensible ways to help our citizens stay safe. He makes the case in “dollars and sense” so that our leaders can fully understand that trails should be a part of infrastructure.

He states, “The fact is that we do know how to build healthy communities. We just have to make it happen. I think we are at the right moment to reinvent American communities back to what they were at their absolute best.”

Dr. Richard Jackson will hold a book signing following his talk. Plan to purchase your copy of Urban Sprawl and Public Health!

  photo of Richard Luv
Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods

Closing Keynote Luncheon ~ Getting Kids Out on Trails!

Plan to sit back and absorb the inspirational words of our Closing Keynote, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods.

The recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal, Richard Louv identified a phenomenon we all knew existed but couldn't quite articulate: nature-deficit disorder.

Since its initial publication, his book Last Child in the Woods has created a national conversation about the disconnection between children and nature, and his message has galvanized an international movement. Now, three years later, we have reached a tipping point, with the book inspiring “Leave No Child Inside” initiatives throughout the country.

Hailed as "an absolute must-read" by the Boston Globe and "too tantalizing to ignore" by Audubon magazine, Last Child in the Woods is the inspiring work that proves children need nature as much as nature needs children.


Richard also serves as chairman of the Children & Nature Network, an organization helping to build the international movement to connect children with nature. He also serves as honorary co-chair of The National Forum on Children and Nature. Co-chaired by four state governors, the Forum, sponsored by the Conservation Fund, will fund programs around the country designed to get kids outside. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at Clemson University. Learn more about Richard and his extraordinary work at and

Be sure and pick up the newest edition of Last Child in the Woods at Mr. Louv’s book signing following his talk. Richard Louv’s presentation will be the perfect capstone to a great Symposium!

“Celebrating 40 Years of the National Trails System Act”

photo of Richard Luv
Steve Elkinton

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 backcountry. Virtually every trail in the country has benefited from the Act and many trail initiatives over the last 40 years can find their roots in it. There are now 8 National Scenic Trails and 18 National Historic Trails, totaling over 48,000 miles. In addition, the Act authorized the designation of National Recreation Trails. There are currently 1,051 trails in the System, totaling over 19,000 miles. It also established the ground-breaking railbanking of
abandoned railway corridors, resulting in over 14,000 miles of rail-trails.

The Keynote for the evening will be Steve Elkinton. Steve has served as the National Trails System Program Leader in the Washington Office of the National Park Service since 1989. He has been intimately involved with developing and implementing policy relating to National Scenic and Historic Trails, and in recommending changes to the Act. No one speaks more eloquently to the history of the National Trails System Act and how it has influenced the trails movement today.

Come join us as we celebrate four decades of progress! You will walk away with a new awareness of the significance of this milestone and how you and your trails fit into this national system of trails. As excited as we are for all that been accomplished through the National Trails System Act, we look forward to it being the route to future recognition of additional trails across the country. We hope to see you there!

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

Arkansas conquers a trails funding crisis

Little Rock Parks & Recreation

The Mississippi River Trail

Arkansas Trails page

Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

Ouachita National Forest


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