September 1, 2014

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Regional trails conference set May 2 in Napoleon

NAPOLEON – The Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor (MVHC) will host a regional trails conference, “Connecting Us, Connecting Uses: Using Trails for Healthy Maumee Valley Communities” from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, May 2 at Oberhaus Park in Napoleon.

The Maumee Valley has a wealth of fine local and countywide trail systems, as well as statewide and national trails, and connectivity between communities and trail systems. This conference will highlight the economic impact of trail systems for local economies, and provide opportunities for our regional systems to network and plan for future connectivity between systems.

This all-day program is designed for local municipalities, trails groups, park departments, destinations (recreational, cultural, historical, and natural) business owners, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, and related organizations.

Featured keynote speaker Harry Burkholder describes the importance of trails: “Trails were once considered to be undesirable and unnecessary infrastructure in communities; the outdated worry was that trails would bring crime into neighborhoods. In reality, trails have proven to be sought-after amenities - not only do trails increase nearby property values, they contribute to a community's sense of place and offer new economic development potential. In addition, comprehensive multi-jurisdictional trail systems can provide an economic boost to an entire region.”

Burkholder is an AICP certified Community Planner II with the Land Information Access Association (LIAA), a non-profit community service organization located in Traverse City. For the last 10 years, Burkholder has assisted in the development and implementation of LIAA’s Partnerships for Change Program and Planning for Resilient Communities Program - an intergovernmental planning and resource management grant program which has assisted over 40 communities in Michigan on joint land use planning.

In addition, Burkholder has worked with several communities to develop joint recreation authorities, collaborative recreation plans and community-wide efforts designed to leverage recreation assets and trails for economic and community development opportunities. He is currently working on several local and regional Trail Town program across Michigan.

His presentation will be an interactive and entertaining session, and attendees will learn how communities across Michigan are using the Trail Town concept to leverage trail-based tourism and recreation for local economic and community development.

Other presenters include Angie Quinn, MVHC and Betsy Yankowiak, director of preserves and programs, Little River Wetland Project, Fort Wayne; Rory Robinson, National Park Service; and representatives of the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Buckeye Trail.

Registration is $20, and includes lunch. Attendees may register via mail to the organization’s Indiana office address, 4330 Pembroke Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 46807. Please include the names of attendees.

Please contact Angie at Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor at 260-450-2057 for more information.