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Alabama Trails Conference to be Nov. 1-2 in Jacksonville, AL

Get a foot up on some of Alabama’s top trails and their evolution during the second Alabama Trails Conference Nov. 1-2 at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville.

“Dream, Plan, Build,” a two-day conference at the university’s Houston Cole Library, will include programs involving some of Alabama’s top trail planners, designers and builders and how they are helping make the state one of the premier destination for trail enthusiasts whether they prefer peddling, paddling, throttling or trekking.

The conference will feature several sessions and panels involving using volunteers, trail promotion, economic and related benefits of trails and funding opportunities. In addition, the conference will include vendors and exhibits demonstrating the latest trends and equipment in outdoor adventures and trail development and maintenance. Additional vendors and sponsors are being sought.

“It is no accident that recreation trails are fast becoming a drawing card for Alabama and its communities,” said Jim Byard Jr., director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, one of the conference’s sponsors. “The combination of cooperation, enthusiasm and community pride have shown to be the right formula in building some of most challenging and rewarding trails anywhere, and much of that has been done with volunteers.”

Registration is $150 and includes access to programs and discussions, several meals and social and networking opportunities with those involved in trail development. For registration and more specific information on the conference, go to www.landoftrails.com or call (334) 242-5525
The conference is also being sponsored by the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, Jacksonville State University, the Cheaha Trail Riders Association and the Alabama Trails Commission.

Jacksonville, Anniston and Calhoun County are home to the Pinhoti and Chief Ladiga trails, the acclaimed Coldwater Mountain mountain biking trail and several nearby navigable streams and waterways.

The trails conference was initiated in 2011 by trail organizations, outdoor enthusiasts and state agencies, including ADECA. ADECA administers the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Recreational Trails Program and annually allocates funding for building and maintaining trails and recreational areas in Alabama.