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2016 Trails Conference Starts Thursday Evening!

We look forward to seeing you at the Red Lion Hotel in Richland during the next few days!  Thanks to our generous sponsors REI, the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, Green Trails Maps, Parametrix, and Visit Tri-Cities we are ready to host the most exciting Washington State Trails Conference to date.

You will be joining over 200 trails leaders from businesses, non-profits, and municipal, county, state, and federal agencies.  You can download the full Conference Program in advance and we will have hard copies available when you check in as well as a full list of attendees.  Check with your friends and coworkers, if they aren’t joining you at the conference there is still time to register.

Arriving on Thursday?  Check in with registration early and join us for light appetizers and drinks in the lounge from 5 – 7PM.

There are four off-site, field sessions available for you to participate in, before, during, and after the conference.  Learn more, including  contacts, on our website field sessions .

Plan to join the festivities on Friday evening at the REACH Museum from 6 – 9PM.  In addition to relaxing with friends old and new you will also be on hand for the presentation of the first ever Washington State Trails Awards.  Celebrate four deserving winners while enjoying refreshments and a light dinner.

I want to welcome you to the conference and encourage you to introduce yourself to the Washington State Trails Coalition board of directors.  You’ll be able to identify us by the “Board” ribbons on our name tags!   

We hope you are excited to participate and we will see you on Friday – breakfast is available beginning at 7:30AM and the program begins at 9:00AM.

Washington State Trails Coalition Board of Directors


Conference Field Sessions Now Available!

The 2016 Trails Conference includes the opportunity for you to participate in four interesting and informative off-site field sessions to local trails.

Thursday, October 13
    • Badger Mountain Hike, Wine, Dine
          Hike Badger Mountain followed by wine tasting and dining at Bookwalter Winery in Richland.  During the hike, participants will hear stories of the Friends of Badger Mountain’s successful volunteer effort to preserve 648 acres of Badger and to build and maintain four trails.
    • Bike Ride – Lewis & Clark and Early History of the Area
          The 11 mile round trip ride on the Sacagawea Trail  will stop at points of interest along the way including:  early agricultural history of the region; a quote from William Clark that marks the furthest point north the party traveled on the Columbia; a description of wildlife in the region; a “purple heart” from native plants; a statue of Sacagawea with a quote from Meriwether Lewis; and a description of early settler history in the area.   The ride will take about two hours.
Friday, October 14
    • Urban Greenbelt Trail Walk
          Local history buffs will lead this excursion on Richland’s Urban Greenbelt Trail, a 3.2-mile city trail that traverses Richland’s central business district, alternating between parks and city streets.  Parks and Recreation volunteers will point out features that recall the city’s World War II history as one of the three atomic cities of the Manhattan Project.
Sunday, October 16
    • Yakima River Kayak Trip
          Take a kayak trip down a portion of the Tapteal Water Trail on the Yakima River.  The Tapteal Water Trail is a 30-mile section of the Yakima between Benton City and its confluence with the Columbia River in Richland.  This trip will cover about 9 miles of the trail, putting into the river at Snively Landing and taking out at Tapteal Bend.  Both of these locations are within Richland near the conference hotel.

Preregistration is required so learn much more, including the contact person for sign-up, on the Field Session page.


2016 SponsorsWe want to thank our amazing Presenting and Gold Level Sponsors Recreational Equipment Inc and Green Trails Maps and Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office for their help with the 2016 Washington State Trails Conference coming to Richland, WA in October! Trails are part of what makes Washington an incredible place to live and these three are supporting our efforts to make them even better.

We still have opportunities for your organization to exhibit at the conference.  If you have a business that caters to trail users, a health-promotional or non-profit organization, are a land manager or agency representative, or simply an outdoor recreational advocate, this is your chance to increase your exposure at the largest gathering of trail professionals in Washington State.

Learn more about exhibiting and find an application here.

Presentation Highlights

Register now for the Washington State Trails Conference in Richland and you’ll have three dozen great presentations to choose from during two days, October 14-15. Here’s a sampling of just a few of those planned offerings:

  • When Trails Go Viral: Responsible Web and Social Media Practices for Online Communities. “In an era when Instagram can be the first stop in researching conditions and a trail can literally go viral, how do you cultivate a welcome, inclusive online culture that promotes responsible use and stewardship?”
  • Grizzly Bear ImageGrizzly Bear Restoration and Recreation . ” Will grizzly bear recovery affect access to public lands and hiking, biking, climbing and other recreational activities? If so how? Wildlife biologist Dr. Bill Gaines will explore these and other grizzly bear related issues using real world examples from recreation meccas like Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.”
  • Tahoma to Tacoma: Quantifying the Health, Equity, and Economic Benefits of Trails. ” This presentation will highlight PWI’s Tahoma to Tacoma Trail Network project, for which Alta Planning + Design used an analytical model to quantify how active transportation investments can improve the health, equity, and environmental quality of a region.”
  • Trails on Trial – Protecting Public Lands for Public Use & Enjoyment. ” Come hear how King County is making its case in federal court for property rights within the railbanked corridor and how recent legal rulings are reinvigorating the management of the corridor for public use.”
  • Trails and Critical Areas: the Costs and Benefits of Programmatic Permitting. ” An ever-tightening set of local Critical Area Regulations can unintentionally prohibit, alter, or delay your trail projects. Use of programmatic permitting (a single, long-term permit covering multiple projects with pre-determined conditions) may offer local governments and trail proponents a solution.”
  • Trails to History. ” It will show how historic themes–gold rushes, fur trading, railroad building, labor movements, immigration, suburbanization—can guide a walk through urban downtowns on sidewalks, trails, and waterfronts.”


Exhibitor Opportunities Available Now

ExhibitorThe Washington State Trails Coalition’s 2016 Conference “Creating Communities-Connecting Community” is coming October 13-15 at the Red Lion hotel in Richland, Washington! We are looking for exhibitors that want to be a part of the conversation at Washington’s only state trails conference. If you have a business that caters to trail users, a health-promotional or non-profit organization, are a land manager or agency representative, or simply an outdoor recreational advocate, this is your opportunity.

Here’s why you should exhibit at the conference:

  • Washington’s premier trails conference offers a unique opportunity to get face time with industry leaders, including other trail professionals, organizers, and agency representatives.
  • Hundreds of participants from all over Washington and beyond come, representing non-profit groups, trail clubs, and enthusiasts.
  • We offer exhibitor rates below industry standards that give you outstanding visibility and access.

To learn more about securing your booth, pricing, and special offers, please click here.  We hope to see you there!

Friday Night Out at The REACH Museum

As part of your 2016 Trails Conference registration you are invited to an evening of socializing and networking while enjoying the beautiful and unique setting of The REACH Museum in Richland, Washington.The REACH MuseumOverlooking the Columbia River, The REACH Museum is the newest gem of the Tri-Cities, featuring stories of the natural, scientific and cultural history of the surrounding area, from the expansive wine industry to the world’s first full-scale plutonium production reactor.

Enjoy complementary local microbrew and wine, hors d’oeuvres, and celebrate the presentation of our inaugural Washington State Trails Awards sponsored by REI. A shuttle will be provided to transport you from the site of the Conference, the Red Lion Hotel, to the reception.

This is just one more reason to attend the 11th biennial Trails Conference so don’t miss what is sure to be a delightful evening, Friday, October 14th at 7:00-10:00pm!

Presentation and Awards Deadline Extended!

Your chance to propose a speech or presentation for this year’s Washington State Trails Coalition Conference has been extended!  Due to continued interest, we have extended the deadline so you can now submit your proposal for a presentation, panel, or workshop by August 8, 2016!

This year’s WSTC conference theme is “Creating Community – Connecting Communities” with sessions featuring how to design and build trails, evolving trail management challenges, understanding the value of trails, as well as spotlighting unique and educational trails within the state of Washington.

New this year is the WSTC Trail Awards Program, highlighting exceptional work and achievements with Washington State trails. Learn more about this unique recognition and then nominate your favorite in each category!

Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of the conversation! Showcase your innovative projects and trail successes by submitting a WSTC 2016 Conference Presentation Proposal of your presentation, panel or workshop by August 8, 2016.

Submit your WSTC 2016 Awards Nomination Form with all materials electronically to  Please submit only one nomination per email. Nominations are due by August 8, 2016.

Join the 2016 Conference Team!

It takes a village to pull off the state trails conference – join the fun! Our volunteers help out remotely from the comforts of their home or office, communicating by email and conference calls, to coordinate logistics for the 2016 WSTC trails conference.

We are currently seeking volunteers to assist with the following:

  • Conference outreach:  Help spread the word about our state’s greatest trail event!  We need volunteers who can help us develop a social media awareness campaign and craft email and media announcements in 2016.  Graphic design, writing and web skills are especially welcome.
  • Exhibitor outreach:  We offer affordable opportunities for organizations, businesses and agencies to display their materials and/or products during the conference.  WSTC needs a volunteer to lead the effort to recruit and book conference exhibits.

Please send a short note about your interest in the conference, skills and availability to

Display & Exhibit Space Available

WSTC is proud to open the Washington State Trails Conference to trail-oriented exhibitors.  This year we are providing extended 30-minute breaks to allow for even more mingle time with exhibitors.

We offer rates below industry standard, exceptional contact with clients and outstanding visibility.  Bringing a large contingent of attendees from your organization?  We offer display discounts to groups who register together.