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|Happy Trails: National Trails Symposium Comes to the Quad Cities|
|News/Features - Local News|
|Tuesday, 17 October 2006 22:30|
Normally Joe Taylor would be excited about a convention of this size coming to the Quad Cities. This week's National Trails Symposium is even sweeter because it dovetails with the community's strengths.
Taylor, the president and CEO of the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, heard about the every-other-year symposium in 2000. The community first applied to host the event in 2002.
"We are much further along in our trail development" than many other communities, Taylor said. "Trails are really all about connections," and in the Quad Cities, trails have been connected to regional systems and crossed physical barriers (such as the Mississippi) and political boundaries. People who attend the National Trails Symposium are "going to understand that the Quad Cities have been a leader in trail development. ... We can showcase to the nation what we have to offer." The Quad Cities trail system includes two national trails and one regional trail in additional to local trails.
The 2006 National Trails Symposium will be held from October 19 to 22 in the Quad Cities. The event's exhibit halls in downtown Davenport's RiverCenter will be open to the public from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 19, featuring more than 100 trail exhibits along with tabletop activities.
All other symposium activities are open to registered participants only. On-site registration costs $465 for people who are not American Trails members. Single-day registrations are also available for $175 per day for nonmembers.
The symposium features three components, Taylor said: workshops on issues impacting trails, keynote speakers, and field trips. Key issues that will be addressed include connecting trails to regional systems and the funding and maintenance of trails. Field trips include a mountain-bike tour, an equestrian trail ride, and a canoe trip.
According to Taylor, 525 people had registered for the symposium as of Monday, and 1,300 hotel-room nights are being used for the event. He estimated the direct economic impact of the symposium at $1 million.
Aside from the economic benefit to the community, the event could pay dividends to the Quad Cities in the years to come. Because the symposium will include key decision-makers in federal agencies such as the National Park Service, Taylor said, future grant applications from the Quad Cities won't just be stacks of paper. The symposium "can impact future trail development here in the Quad Cities," he said.
For more information on the National Trails Symposium, visit (http://www.americantrails.org).
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