3 ways to be part of huge international recreation conference coming to Dayton

With a 300-plus mile paved recreation trail network and six high-quality waterways offering 400 miles of paddling opportunities, the Dayton area has long been recognized as a local gem but, now, the “Outdoor Capital of the Midwest” is reaching international status as Dayton – in conjunction with American Trails – will host the 23rd International Trails Symposium May 7-10.

The four-day event – held primarily at the Dayton Convention Center – is expected to bring in participants from across the country as well as at least 11 other countries. Many of the sessions are geared toward those who work for federal agencies and non-profits as well as trail builders, planners and managers, but many events are open to the public.

“This is a big deal for Dayton,” said Andy Niekamp, of the Dayton Hikers. “The International Trail Symposium celebrates all trails – including hiking, cycling, mountain biking, horse trails and ATV trails. And there are several ways the public can get involved.”

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>> RELATED: Dayton hiking guide

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The Dayton region is home to the largest bikeway network in the United States with more than 300 miles of paved, off-street, connected bikeways. CONTRIBUTED (Contributing Writer)


1. Two family-friendly large-scale events will help kick off the symposium – a free public event at the Convention Center on May 7 and the Trails Rock Party on May 8 at RiverScape MetroPark. Both events are free and open to the public.

  • What: Family fun with adventure presentations, exhibits, indoor climbing wall, pumptrack, RiverMobile traveling exhibit, replica WrightFlyer plane, silent auction, ponies and more
  • When: Sunday, May 7, noon-5 p.m.
  • Where: Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. 5th St.
  • Cost: Free
  • What: Trails Rock Party: An evening of live music, food, craft beer and entertainment. Spend time with outdoor adventurers from around the world.
  • When: Monday, May 8, 7-11 p.m.
  • Where: RiverScape MetroPark
  • Cost: Party is free; food and beverages available for purchase

2. Mobile workshops – essentially interactive field trips that range from paddling to pier building – are another great way to get involved. And mobile workshop participants don’t need to be registered for the symposium.

3. Local outdoor enthusiasts can also get involved as volunteers – earning themselves a sporty “Trail Boss” T-shirt, enjoying refreshments and receiving free admission to various sessions in exchange for their time. There are more than 250 volunteer spots to fill. 

>> READ MORE: Why this symposium is a huge deal for Dayton

Local hiking clubs are more than 2,000 members strong. CONTRIBUTED (Contributing Writer)

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