20th American Trails National Symposium


Chattanooga, Tennessee ~ November 14-17, 2010


This Symposium’s theme is "Trails: The Green Way for America." Our programs emphasize the benefit of trails to America’s economy and environment.

arrow Download the full Symposium Program (pdf 14.75 mb)

arrow See meeting room locations in the Marriott and Convention Center

arrow Download the Symposium Attendee Contact List (pdf 440 kb)

American Trails and our member organizations, communities, and agencies support efforts to bring trails into our daily lives. As our nation looks closely at public health, transportation, urban development, and the environment, we see lots of problems. We know trails, greenways, bikeways, and other routes to be part of the solution.

American Trails’ vision is of trails within 15 minutes of every American home. And, we support efforts to link community trails to neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. The health of our children, as well as our cities, will depend on preserving parks, open space, transportation choices, and places for recreation.


Sunday, November 14


Building Public Awareness for Trails Event


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Discover, Learn, & Celebrate Trails!


Building Public Awareness for Trails
is partially sponsored by Cordura

Date: Sunday, November 14

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Location: Exhibit Hall

Cost: Free – Open to the Public

Music, Presentations, & Food

This event will 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. In addition, dozens of trail-related user groups from around Chattanooga will provide information booths, presentations, and workshop activities for all ages in the Exhibit Hall. We hope to see you there and be sure and bring your family and friends!


“Meet the Horse”



Date: Sunday, November 14

Time: 5:45 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. during Happy Trails Hour Time

Location: Exhibit Hall C & D

Cost: Free – Open to the Public

Join Angie Farrell, DVM and meet Cujo the horse! Angie graduated from Ohio State Univ, then went on to practice in Illinois, California Ohio and finally Tennessee. She’s always done general equine practice except in Ohio when doing exclusively dental work and limited her hours so that she could focus on family. Angie has ridden horses all of her life primarily dressage when growing up in Ohio and in Germany, then she rode on the intercollegiate equestrian team for Kenyon College in Ohio. Now Angie is very involved in ex-race horse rescue and has re-homed over 200 ex-race horses to loving homes in the past five years.


Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall

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Welcoming You to the Path

Date: Sunday, November 14

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location: Exhibit Hall

Cost: Included with Registration ($20 for guests)

Expect a warm welcome from Bob Searns, Chair of American Trails; Ron Littlefield, Mayor of Chattanooga (invited); Claude Ramsey, Mayor of Hamilton County (invited); and additional dignitaries at the kick-off event for the 20th American Trails National Symposium! Check out the extensive Exhibit Hall and meet with vendors offering you the latest in cutting-edge products and services! Enjoy local music, walk the Labyrinth, enjoy light hors d’oeuvres (chips and dip) and a no-host bar, as you visit with past acquaintances and meet new friends! More surprises are in store for you!


Monday, November 15

Opening Keynote Luncheon

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The Trail to Sustainability

Date: Monday, November 15

Time: 11:40 a.m. – 1:20 p.m. (BALLROOM — CC)

Cost: Included with Registration ($30 for guests)

American Trails Welcome, Meeting of the Membership and Board Election ~ Chair Bob Searns

Welcome by Senator Bob Corker, Tennessee, and past Mayor of Chattanooga (invited) will talk about the movement to make the City more sustainable for its citizens and visitors. He will also talk about federal legislation important to trails.

book cover




Chris Balish is a nationally known keynote speaker on topics such as how to thrive in a down economy, active lifestyles, sustainable transportation, building green cities, sustainable development, promoting mass transit, bicycle commuting, and green living. He is a seven-time Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist, television news anchor and reporter, a best selling author, and an on-air contributor for NBC’s The Today Show, MSNBC, and CNN.

The first book in his "How to Live Well" non-fiction series, How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Out of Life, was on Amazon.com’s environmental best seller list and NPR’s best seller list. Chris’s environmentally friendly lifestyle has been featured on more than 800 radio and television programs and in more than 140 magazine and newspaper articles. In 2007, Sierra Magazine named Chris a national trendsetter.

Chris will hold a book signing following his talk. Purchase his book in advance at the Bookstore in the Registration Area.


“Trails Rock” Party at the Hunter Museum of American Art

Photo of long glass building


Date: Monday, November 15

Time: 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Location: Hunter Museum of American Art

Cost: Included with Registration ($35 for guests)

Photo of dancing

Come enjoy great food, friends, dancing and a Live Auction at the state-of-the-art Hunter Museum of American Art! This will be an excellent time to network with many other trail enthusiasts as well.

Perched on an 80-foot bluff on the edge of the Tennessee River, the Hunter Museum of American Art offers stunning views of the Tennessee River Blueway National Recreation Trail, the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge (one of the longest in the country), and the surrounding skyline and mountains. This panorama is equaled only by the exceptional collection of American art inside recognized as one of the country’s finest.

Sponsored by


Once inside, the inspiration continues. You will see art with new eyes as a way to better understand American history and to learn more about what makes us Americans today. The Hunter Museum focuses on American art from the Colonial period to the present day.

Photo of dancing men


The museum is located in a historic mansion and a sleek contemporary building on the bluffs overlooking the Tennessee River. The collection includes paintings, works on paper, sculpture, furniture, and contemporary studio glass covering a diverse range of styles and periods. Enjoy dinner and dancing to the flavor of the area.

The 2010 American Trails National Symposium is proud to present the Bud Lightning Band from Chattanooga, TN! Bud Lightning was chosen as the Chattanooga Times Free Press Cover Band of the Year for the last two consecutive years and they are looking forward to keeping the dance floor packed and the “Trails Rock” Party hopping all night long!

Live Auction

And, don’t forget your wallets as you bid for great items provided by generous donors during the Live Auction – you will be supporting American Trails at the same time! For more information on the Hunter, visit www.huntermuseum.org.


Tuesday, November 16

General Session: the future of trails

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Emerging Issues and Opportunities

Date: Tuesday, November 16

Time: 8:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. (BALLROOM — CC)

Cost: Included with Registration

Trails are an investment in the future of our communities and our public lands, while connecting people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to the environment – which is good for them and good for the world that surrounds them. Trails transform communities and transform people.

This in-depth session will address the future of trails. We will explore strategies to be successful in increasing funding for trails in the next federal transportation bill. Can we protect and grow the Recreational Trails Program, the Transportation Enhancements Program, and others important to trails? What will happen in your State if these programs disappear? How can we decrease the huge backlog of unmaintained trails and stop the ongoing cuts to our Federal land-managing agency budgets? There is strength in numbers and we need to present a unified voice for trails, to tell the story of them, to present their endless benefits, and to make the case for funding them. How can we most effectively do this?

This session will also be a celebration of how far we have come – how trails are being thought of and incorporated as infrastructure. We will celebrate the President’s “America’s Great Outdoors” and the First Lady’s “Let’s Move Outside!” initiatives, learn more about the work of “Physicians for Healthier Americans Through Fun Outdoors,” and other cutting-edge programs and projects. We must learn about and assist in developing new funding sources, partners, and approaches that we might not have considered before. There are many demands on resources, and we are going to need to be creative as we move into the future!


American Trails 20th National Trails Awards Celebration Banquet

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On the Path of Excellence

Date: Tuesday, November 16

Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Cost: Included with Registration ($35 for guests)

Celebration of 20 Years of the National Trails Symposiums! The National Trails Awards program is one way American Trails recognizes the exemplary people across the landscape of America who passionately work to create a national system of trails to meet the recreation, health, and travel needs of Americans.

Sponsored by

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American Trails will honor outstanding efforts made by agencies, trail professionals, the private sector, corporations, advocates, media, those creating healthier communities and people, groups dedicated to getting kids out on trails and into the out of doors, and others in this evening’s awards program. Please join us for this gala affair (business or dress attire) and help celebrate the worthy recipients of these awards:

• The “Hulet Hornbeck” Award
• Lifetime Service Award
• Best Trails State Award
• Community Service Award
• Corporate Award
• Kids and Trails Award (New Award)
• Outstanding Media Award
• Outstanding Trail Sharing Award
• Partnership Award
• Planning/Design Award
• State-of-the-Art Technology Award
• Trails and the Arts Award
• Trails for Health Award
• Trails Public Service Award
• Trail Advocacy Award
(1 award per state)
• Trail Worker Award
(1 award per state)

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Developer Recognition Award

In addition to the National Trails Awards, American Trails also recognizes quality, well-designed multi-use trails systems that are integrated into private developments to encourage active lifestyles, reduce reliance on automobiles, connect the development to other public and private pathways and destinations, and preserve and promote natural areas.

The first ever American Trails Developer Awards were given to three American communities at the 2008 National Trails Symposium. American Trails has developed this comprehensive national award program to recognize quality, well designed multi-use trails systems that are integrated into private developments. The program is the only one of its kind in the nation. The American Trails Developer Award program award was established by American Trails because of the important role of developers as partners in providing access to trails from the doorsteps of American homes. Trails are increasingly popular within planned developments. In surveys conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders, trails are the number one community amenity desired by prospective homebuyers.

Photo of crowd at meeting

Outgoing Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen



A Special Salute to Outgoing Tennessee Governor, Phil Bredesen (Invited)

Phil Bredesen took office as Tennessee’s 48th Governor on January 18, 2003. In November 2006, he was re-elected in a landslide victory— reportedly becoming the first Governor in over a century to win all 95 counties in Tennessee. Governor Bredesen knows a pro-active conservation strategy is essential to maintaining a strong quality of life in Tennessee. American Trails salutes Governor Bredesen for his vision and leadership in preservation— dedicated to protecting greenways, developing and promoting trails, and protecting the beauty and character of Tennessee for its citizens and visitors.




Wednesday, November 17

Closing Keynote Luncheon

Photo of crowd at meeting


Celebrating our Public Lands ~ A Legacy for the Future and for our Kids!

Date: Wednesday, November 17

Time: 12:15 -2:00 p.m. (BALLROOM — CC)

Cost: Included with Registration ($30 for guests)

• Welcome by Dale A. Ditmanson, Superintendent, Smoky Mountains
National Park (invited)
• Join us as we reminisce about where we’ve been over the past four days. Then sit back and absorb the inspirational words of our Closing Keynote.


arrow See a video interview with Dayton Duncan by Channel 12 in Chattanooga

Dayton Duncan has been a writer and filmmaker for over 20 years and is Ken Burn’s producing partner for The National Parks: America’s Best Idea documentary, which won two Emmys – one for best nonfiction series and one for best writing. Duncan wrote and co-produced the 12-hour mini-series in which the birth of national parks is traced from the mid-1800s and follows the evolution of park creation over the course of 150 years.

Duncan first had the idea to showcase the story of the national park system while on a cross-country vacation with his children in 1998. His love for parks began at the age of nine when his family took a vacation to the Badlands, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Dinosaur National Monument, and Rocky Mountain National Park. The experience had a profound impact, but it wasn’t until he took his children on a national parks trip, that he realized just how important the trip he took with his parents was.

Dayton’s message is very timely, especially with the trails community’s interest in getting kids outdoors and healthy, and in creating good stewards of our public lands for the future:

Dayton believes, “The creation of a park establishes that sense of a special place. When you enter a park – you think differently. You pause and it takes you a little bit out of the rush of time and I think that is why so many families take their kids back and why those kids will take their kids back because it encapsulates an imperishable moment that you experience as a child. Then you can see that experience once again through your child’s experience. There are very few things that pass across generations and across time the way that does. That’s what makes it so special.”

Duncan is also the author of nine books, including Out West: A Journey Through Lewis & Clark’s America, Miles From Nowhere: In Search of the American Frontier, and The West: An Illustrated History for Children. Dayton will hold a book signing following his talk. Purchase his book in advance at the Bookstore in the Registration Area.

Read more about Dayton Duncan...

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