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Why is a Camping Lean-To Being Built Inside the Oncenter?

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Hundreds of trail workers and enthusiasts from across the country and the world are gathering at the Oncenter starting Sunday to raise awareness about the importance of building, maintaining, and using trails.  American Trails is hosting its 24th International Trails Symposium that will include educational sessions, off-site workshops and the opportunity to work with the Professional Trail Builders Association.  

Director of Operations Candace Gallagher says their purpose goes beyond how people use the trails, but also about the benefits.

“It’s about families, it’s about health, it’s about spirituality. For the most part, everyone goes out there for the same reason, which is to recreate, but other people might go out there just for stress relief, or they might go out there because their doctor recommended, ‘I need to walk,’ or ‘I need to ride my bike.”

Gallagher says the organization will do more than host conferences here.  They’ll also promote the region’s trails and work with local trail builders to find solutions to their problems.  She says the biggest challenges are marketing, funding and retaining volunteers. Gallagher says the conference allows people from all around the world to have their voices heard.

American Trails is the only trails organization that supports all types of trails.

“We realize not everyone should be on the same trail, like not every trail should be multi-use. But it’s just great for us to come together for the conference that brings all trail types together at the International Trail Symposium, and to feed ideas off of each other.”

The conference runs from April 28th-May 1st and the theme is health, happiness and heritage.