The Quad City Health Initiative and Bi-State Regional Commission are pleased to officially launch QCTrails.org, a resource developed as part of Be Healthy QC (BHQC). QCTrails.org is a free user-friendly, interactive, and mobile responsive website which serves as a comprehensive resource that highlights multi-purpose trails, parks, and side-paths. Users can track their physical activity progress in real-time and share their experience with friends through social media. This is an exciting new tool for encouraging and improving physical activity throughout the year. QCTrails.org, developed by Bi-State Regional Commission, was made possible with funding provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in support of the Be Healthy QC project administered by the Quad City Health Initiative.

Ongoing community health assessment processes have repeatedly identified nutrition and physical activity as key priority areas of opportunity for the Quad Cities. In the Quad Cities, only 48% of adults are meeting the physical activity guidelines. Additionally, only 30.7% of our adult residents are at a healthy weight and 57% of children ages 5-17 are at a healthy weight. The simplicity of walking or riding a bike on a trail presents opportunities to improve physical activity throughout the year. QCTrails.org opens trail experiences to all members of the community regardless of age or ability and offers perfect opportunities for Quad Cities' residents to move more and be active outdoors.

QCTrails.org was developed to encourage area residents and visitors to get more active by making information available about the vast number of trails in the Quad Cities, Illinois-Iowa Region. The website provides tools to help users find trails that support a wide variety of activities -- from walking paths and hiking and biking trails -- to paddling/water and equestrian trails. Each detailed trail posting features:

  • An interactive map showing the trail system and important points of interest like parking areas, natural attractions, and parks;
  • Trailhead directions to the primary access points;
  • A description of the trail system and experience;
  • Information and links to trail managers;
  • Photographs and video links; and
  • Comments submitted by trail managers and account holders.

QCTrails.org is designed to work on a variety of devices and can track a users' location as well. Users will also notice current weather information and a link to find nearby geocaches, in addition to tools for downloading trail geography. Additionally, the "Move More" section provides helpful information on using trails and staying healthy through physical activity.

To encourage ongoing use of QCTrails.org, users can create a free QCTrails.org account and save their trail experiences by using the "My Trails" section. Trail users can create a "wishlist" of trails, mark "favorite" trails, add a trail log with comment and photos, earn cool electronic badges when they complete different trail challenges and also showcase their accomplishments. Just for signing up and logging one trail, a user earns the "Headwaters Hurrah" badge! It is a fun way to build excitement about finding QC Trails, getting outside on the trails, and becoming engaged in physical activity.

QCTrails.org staff is currently engaged in outreach activities with a variety of groups and have participated in a number of community events in an effort to increase use and impact of this valuable tool with new and returning users. Future plans include developing and expanding: new trail postings and content; linkages to community run/walk/bike/paddle events; the website's geographic footprint; website functionality; e-badges; and outreach and marketing, to include targeted activities and materials for educators, physicians, and public health service providers.

Be Healthy QC is a collaborative effort of Quad City organizations to increase access to environments with healthy food and beverage options and to increase access to physical activity opportunities. Be Healthy QC projects are funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) Grant. PICH is a 3-year initiative that supports implementation of evidence based strategies to improve the health of communities and reduce the prevalence of chronic disease.

QCTrails.org is an initiative centered around community outreach and collaboration aimed at improving access to physical activity opportunities. The initiative is led by Bi-State Regional Commission in partnership with Quad City Health Initiative, Center for Community GIS (Farmington, ME), and many other Quad Cities community partners. The QC Trails initiative would not have been possible without the support and collaboration of the cities and counties in the QC Area who develop and maintain the trails, side-paths, parks, and greenways; bicycle and walking/hiking clubs/organizations; paddling clubs; environmental/recreation action groups; economic development and tourism organizations; and the website developer/consultant, Center for Community GIS.

The Quad City Health Initiative is a cross-sector community partnership working to create a healthy community. A 25-member community Board oversees the organization, which was established in 1999. The Initiative seeks to be our community's recognized leader for creating collaborative action on health and abides by the core values of commitment, collaboration and creativity. Major financial support of the Quad City Health Initiative is currently provided by the generous direct and in-kind investments of Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health-Trinity. In 2015, additional financial support was provided by Bon Secours Health System, Community Health Care, Inc., Davenport Eye Group, Deere & Company, First Midwest Bank, Hy-Vee, Inc., Illowa Construction and Labor Management Council, KJWW Engineering Consultants, Mississippi Valley Health, Modern Woodmen of America, Palmer College of Chiropractic, QCR Holdings, Inc., Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Rock Island County Health Department, Scott County Family Y, Scott County Health Department, and United Way of the Quad Cities Area.

The Bi-State Regional Commission is a local, voluntary organization established in 1966, serving local governments in five counties in eastern Iowa and western Illinois (Muscatine and Scott Counties, Iowa and Henry, Mercer, and Rock Island Counties, Illinois). The Commission serves as a forum for intergovernmental cooperation and delivery of regional programs and to assist member local governments in planning and project development.