Dayton, Ohio
May 07 - 10, 2017

We were proud to feature for a second Symposium the Professional TrailBuilders Association’s (PTBA) Sustainable Trails Workshop Series, Legacy Trail, and Technical Track. This was an inspiring and educational conference as we came together as a trails community.

Browse educational sessions


Trails Take Flight: Connecting People, Places, and Possibilities


Because Dayton is where the Wright brothers developed their pioneering aviation designs, of course we think of that great advance in transportation that opened up the skies. But in many other ways, trails also evoke the idea of flight. Just as “flight” is more than just flying, trails are more than just getting people from place to place. Trails are also the most intimate way to see nature’s hidden treasures and the easiest way to encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles.

Connecting people to each other and the world

Even though our world becomes more connected through news flashes and sound bites, we seek a more meaningful connection. Trails are the way to experience the life of another country, and they are a wonderful opportunity for visitors to come to America.

We’re also becoming more aware of how we can enable and encourage people of all ages, interests, and abilities to discover the benefits of trails. And effective ways to encourage volunteers are improving our trails, as well as nurturing new friendships worldwide.

Inventing possibilities

Trails help our spirits take flight, from the delight in playing to the peace of spiritual reflection. Trails set our imaginations free as we meditate along the path, or delight in sheer physical exertion. We are constantly inventing new ideas and ways to enjoy trails. In recent years we’ve seen bicycles become a way to experience the backcountry, the evolution of all-terrain vehicles, and the popularity of boating on water trails. The future of trails is also the future of our shared imaginations. Let’s share the possibilities!


Keynote Speakers

Stephen Wright

Stephen Wright is the great grandnephew of Wilbur and Orville Wright. He is the great grandson of Lorin Wright the second of ve Wright brothers born to the Bishop Milton Wright and Susan Koerner Wright. His great grandfather Lorin lived his entire life in Dayton and often worked closely with his two, more famous younger brothers in the capacity of book keeper, unof cial photographer, aircraft handler, secret agent, and most importantly, close, life-long con dant.

Steve lives and has worked in Dayton as a commercial photographer for 30 years and, along with his sister Amanda Wright Lane, serves as a trustee of the Wright Family Foundation. The Wright Family Foundation was founded by Amanda and Steve’s late father Wilkinson Wright to bene t scholarly causes in the eld of aviation history and the preservation of artifacts relating to aviation. In recent years the Wright Family Foundation has been dedicated to the preservation and restoration of one of Dayton’s great architectural treasures, Hawthorn Hill, the home of the Wright Brothers.


Mark Rentschler

Mark Rentschler is the Board President of the Miami Conservancy District (MCD). The MCD protects communities in southwest Ohio from ooding, preserves the quality and quantity of water, and promotes the enjoyment of the waterways. Mark’s passion for the Miami Conservancy District (MCD) may be genetic. He is the fth member of his family to proudly serve on the MCD board of directors. His great, great-uncle, Gordon Rentschler, was one of the three founding board members. Another great great-uncle, George; his grandfather, Walter; and his father, Tom; also have served on the board of directors.

Mark has continued his family’s passion to serve the region. All of the Rentschlers have been true to Arthur Morgan’s vision of combining recreation with ood protection. About 3,300 acres of land in the retarding basins behind the dry dams are part of a system that reduces ood risk for about one million people. The Rentschlers, in their work on the board of directors, have made certain that MCD-owned land in places like Taylorsville and Germantown MetroParks continues to provide opportunities for recreation activities including hiking, birdwatching and paddling. And more than 50 miles of bike trails in this region are built on MCD land, much of it on or along levees that protect cities from flooding.


Panel of speakers with Rails to Trails Conservancy

Healthy people. Healthy places. Sustainable Communities. These aspirations are the driving force behind a revolution that’s changing how we think about the places where we live, work, and play. Changing mindsets, advances in technology, and evolving ideas about quality of life are inspiring a cultural shift toward active lifestyles and neighborhoods built around trail networks for both recreation and transportation. The time is now to put trails, biking, and walking at the center of people’s lives. Join us and imagine what’s possible with trails at the heart of communities.


Economic Impact