2024 Eastern PA Greenways & Trails Summit

“Endless Mountains, Endless Access”

September 18-20, 2024

Best Western Grand Victorian Inn

255 Spring Street, Sayre, PA 18840

For the very first time, the Eastern PA Greenways & Trails Summit will be held in Bradford County, located in the scenic Endless Mountains region of northeastern Pennsylvania.
Co-hosted by the Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR), one of 12 PA Heritage Areas designated by the DCNR, the 2024 Eastern PA Greenways & Trails Summit will allow attendees to experience the beauty of the area’s pastoral landscapes, historic downtown Sayre and Athens, the Susquehanna River North Branch Water Trail (2023’s PA River of the Year), and incredible greenspaces like the Diahoga Trail and Round Top Park. The 2024 Eastern PA Greenways and Trails Summit is being funded in part by the DCNR, WeConservePA, and generous sponsors. We look forward to seeing you in the Endless Mountains, where we strive to create “endless access” to the outdoors!

When: September 18-20, 2024

Where: Best Western Grand Victorian Inn (255 Spring Street, Sayre, PA 18840)

These Greenways & Trails Summit events bring together a network of various agencies, organizations, and outdoor enthusiasts who are involved in planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, promoting, and utilizing trails and greenways in eastern Pennsylvania to improve outdoor recreation in the Commonwealth.

What else is there to do in the Endless Mountains?

Following the Summit, the EMHR and partner organizations will be hosting the Endless Mountains 430 Challenge https://emheritage.org/the-endless-mountains-430-challenge/, a self-supported race along the 430-mile Endless Mountains Gravel Bikepacking Loop (EMGBL) that begins on September 21st. The EMGBL boasts nearly 42,000 feet in elevation changes throughout the four counties that make up the Heritage Region. Summit guests are welcome to register for the Challenge or take the time to visit our many historic sites and recreational areas in the rest of the Endless Mountains region or even take a short ride north to the Finger Lakes region of New York State.

We would like to thank our sponsors for the 2024 Eastern PA Greenways & Trail Summit. A complete list of sponsors can be found at the bottom of this page. If interested in being a sponsor for this event, please select a button below to complete the form:

Eastern PA Greenways Trails Summit Logo
Canyon Vista Biking
EMHR Youth Sojourn Launch
EMHR Hiking

Eastern PA Greenways and Trails Summit

Agenda
September 18th – 20th, 2024
Sayre, PA

Wednesday, September 18th 

Pre-Event Paddle and Reception at Blue Stone Brewery

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM  *Pre-registration required

5-mile paddle along the North Branch Susquehanna River Water Trail from the Barton Landing Launch in Waverly, NY to Sayre Riverfront Park with Endless Mountain Outfitters. Attendees should meet at Sayre Riverfront Park (100 Riverfront Park Rd, Sayre, PA 18840) at 1:00 PM.

6:00 PM: Networking Reception *Pre-registration required

Bluestone Brewery (18 Pitney St, South Waverly, PA 18840)

Thursday, September 19th

7:30 AM Registration/Breakfast

8:30 AM Welcome & Opening Remarks

    • Bradford County Tourism & Promotion Agency Director Robyn Cummings
    • Sayre Mayor Henry Farley
    • Endless Mountains Heritage Region Director Cain Chamberlin

8:45 AM Keynote Speaker – Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, PA DCNR

Secretary Dunn is the sixth Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Her leadership helped make PA one of the top 10 best outdoor recreation locations within the U.S. Her efforts have also implemented advancements in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Outdoor Recreation Economy, and Climate Change within the Commonwealth.

9:30 a.m. Panel Discussion – Outdoor Recreation, Tourism & Economic Development

    • Moderator - Nathan Reigner, PHD., Director of Outdoor Recreation, PA DCNR
    • Jerry McAward, Lehighton Outdoor Center
    • Sierra Fogel, Pocono Biking
    • Noah Phillips, Take It Outdoors
    • T Thompson, Progress Authority
    • Katie Wickert, Department of Community and Economic Development

10:45 a.m. BREAKOUT SESSION 1 (90 Minute Sessions)

Session 1a. - Funding Trails on the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) of Your MPO

The Circuit Trails Coalition has fought for significant funding for trail planning and development on the TIP of the DVRPC (Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission) the MPO for Greater Philadelphia. Most recently, we succeeded in having $100 Million of Carbon Funds from the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill allocated for trail corridors in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. What's more, this is in addition to a prior TIP "line item" dedicating CMAQ funds and TA funds.

Presenters:
Patrick Starr, PA Environmental Council; Elaine Schaeffer, Schuylkill River Greenways Association, Shawn Megill Legendre, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

Session 1b. - Plan for Success: The Path to Shovel Ready Trails

Demand for high quality trail experiences is increasing from users, land managers, and funders, but navigating the design process can pose unique challenges for organizations both big and small. This session will guide you through each step in the design process from initial concept to shovel-ready detail design, sharing real-world challenges and solutions from the field to equip you with the knowledge to confidently navigate the trail design process for your next trail project.

Presenter:
Sarah Walter, Penn Trails

Session 1c. - Planning & Zoning for Outdoor Recreation

From biking and hiking, kayaking, and visiting corn mazes and orchards to holding barn weddings and enjoying beer gardens, the industries of ecotourism and agritourism, and outdoor recreation in general, have brought new life to rural places across Pennsylvania. This workshop will dive into planning strategies and municipal partnerships that look to maximize the benefits from this boom while limiting the negatives that the renewed interest in rustic places and outdoor recreation brings.

Presenter:
Katie Wickert, PA Department Community & Economic Development

12:00 PM Lunch

1:00 PM BREAKOUT SESSION 2 (60 Minute Sessions)

Session 2a. - Getting Creative with Federal Grant Opportunities for Trail Funding

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offers multiple new programs at the federal level that can be used to fund trails in both rural and urban areas. Hear about the various programs that are available and how public agencies and non-profits can get creative about using non-traditional sources of federal funding to catapult trail development in their communities, and how they can find the resources to get the applications done.

Presenter:  Matt Ludwig, NV5

Session 2b. - Two Years In: Early Lessons from the Circuit Trails Community Grant Program & Inspiration from Camden

 Since the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) established the Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program in late 2022, PEC has distributed $317,000 to 16 grantee partners across greater Philadelphia. Grantee programs aim to increase awareness of the trails and a sense of welcome and belonging among under-represented groups. Hear from PEC about lessons learned and from Neighborhood Collaborative Community Gardens, a shining example of community engagement in environmental initiatives.

Presenters: Emilia Crotty, Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Jacqueline Santiago-Vicente and Erielys Vicente, Neighborhood Collaborative Community Gardens

 Session 2c. - Accessing the Outdoors for All - Mastering Where to Go and How to Get There

 Sometimes the biggest obstacles to enjoying our natural, cultural and historic treasures are not knowing where to go, and then not knowing how to get there inexpensively. The two speakers, one from Philadelphia and the other from rural Pennsylvania, will share their decades of planning and leading hundreds of walks, hikes, and bicycle and river trips across much of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Participants will learn the secrets of getting sources of information and having successful adventures.

Presenters:  Robert Thomas, Campbell Thomas & Co.; James Laird, LAIRD LA, Laird Landscape Architecture, PLLC

2:15 PM BREAKOUT SESSION 3 (60 Minutes Sessions)

Session 3a. - Securing Sustainable Pathways: Navigating Funding for Trail and Recreation Projects

Learn about current funding opportunities for your next trail or recreation project and how agencies such as NTRPDC, DCNR and PennDOT can assist in these projects coming to fruition, with examples from across the region.

Presenters: Kim Jennings, Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission, Christine Dettore, Department of Conservation & Natural Resources; April Hannon, PennDOT

Session 3b. - River Accesses: A First Step Toward Developing Multi-modal Communities

“This presentation will showcase various case studies in Pennsylvania of communities along rivers who took the initiative to develop recreation plans, greenway plans, and/or trail feasibility studies and have successfully developed river access parks as a first step towards achieving full regional multi-modal connections." -PA/DE ASLA

Presenters: Jayson Wood and Emily Wood, Woodland Design Associates, Inc.

Session 3c. - Active Transportation: Connecting It All Together

Active transportation: any mode of transportation that is powered by PEOPLE! In 2023, over 40,000 people died on our nation's roadways, which compared to pre-pandemic numbers in 2019 was 36,000. Join us as we discuss how we can help reduce this fatality number by promoting more nonmotorized modes of transportation. This session will touch on who needs active transportation and why we need to prioritize it, basic steps to start developing a plan, and approved active transportation facilities.

Presenter: Marvin Ta, Pennoni 

2:15 – 4:00 PM

Session 3d. - Mobile Walkshop with Eastwick Solutions and the Progress Authority – Outdoor Recreation’s Benefit to the Local Economy and the Sayre Revitalization Project 

The outdoor economy supports the emergence of recreation destinations, but is your town ready for visitors? Using the Community Assessment template featured in the Outdoor Towns Toolkit, Eastwick Solutions, and Sayre stakeholders will conduct a “Walkshop Lite.” Participants will experience portions of a full walkshop and learn about this process that engages residents and stakeholders to identify opportunities for improvement and engenders buy-in to help establish a framework for revitalization. For the past several years, the Sayre Revitalization Initiative team has been tasked with identifying the needs of not only the local community, but also of the entire region. Many factors were indicated as being crucial for the economic development of the region, one being the vast outdoor recreational opportunities which exist. Our hometown and the overall SRI project connect seamlessly to areas like Diahoga Trail, the Susquehanna and Chemung Rivers, and nearby Round Top Park.

Presenters: Kimberly Stever and Steven Nelson from Eastwick Solutions; T Thompson of the Progress Authority

3:30 PM Breakout Session 4 (60 Minutes Sessions)

Session 4a. - Building Local Wealth and Regional Vitality through Trail Networks

We can't maximize the economic and social potential of trails without engaging communities. This session will use three recent planning and research projects related to the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, Central Ohio Greenways, and the North Central Appalachia MTB Summit to explore ways of ensuring local benefit when it comes to trails and trail networks. Together, we'll consider how planning can help mitigate growing pains and why we must commit to building local wealth through trails.

Presenter: Amy Camp, Cycle Forward

Session 4b. - Using Visitor Analysis Software to Quantify the Impact of Your Trail

Most trails and greenways professionals rely on field surveys and infrared counters to document visitation, but advanced tools now allow us to track visitation using aggregated cell phone data. This session will introduce participants to a leading visitor analytics tool, and the types of visitor data and economic insights trail managers can extract from its use, including total visitation trends; average duration of visit; home zip code of visitors; visitor socio-demographics and much more.

Presenter: Silas Chamberlin, Firefly Outdoor + Economics

Session 4c. - Commuting, Community, and Connections: Spotlighting an Award-Winning Trail Project in Allentown

The Jordan Creek Greenway in the City of Allentown was recently named the 2023 ASCE Lehigh Valley Section Civil Engineering Achievement of the Year. The trail’s design team will provide an in-depth discussion on the project, from planning through construction. This 1.9-mile section of greenway features pedestrian scale lighting to allow for 24/7 commuting, connectivity to many local parks, two RRFB crossings, five retaining walls, sidewalk construction, and custom gateway and wayfinding signing.

Presenters: Bill Torr, Chris Stanford and Mike Szilagyi from Michael Baker International

5:00 - 8 PM  Happy Hour/Dinner – Hotel

Friday, September 20th

7:30 AM Registration/Breakfast/Networking

9:00 AM Breakout Session 5

Session 5a. - Protecting the Resource – Threading the needle between outdoor recreation and sustainable ecology:

Creating a balance between protecting natural ecosystems and building sustainable outdoor recreation
Balancing outdoor recreation and ecological conservation is crucial. This session focuses on identifying native flora and fauna, planning trails and water access carefully to avoid habitat disruption, educating visitors about local ecosystems, and preserving riparian buffers. Collaboration among stakeholders ensures sustainable practices that protect natural habitats while providing recreational opportunities.

Presenters: Kelley Stewart, Keystone College; Emily Baldauff, Trout Unlimited-National

Session 5b. - The Call to Action is Coming from Inside the Community: Taking DEI initiatives outside the organization and into the community, with the community

Trails may seem inclusive, but due to ingrained inequity in our cities and towns they're not always equitably utilized. Communities of color, low income, disabilities and limited English proficiency are some that have been traditionally underserved, mis-served or left out of decision-making processes including trail development. Join DLNHC as they share the insights, strategies, and adaptable tools from their multi-step Take Action campaign to diversify and motivate D&L Trail users.

Presenters: Liz Rosencrans and Brit Kondravy from Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor 

Session 5c. - Simple Approaches to Finding Social Media Success

The overall goal of this session is to help organizations understand and develop social media strategies to improve their marketing efforts and raise public awareness about their organization.

Presenters: Mary Kolessar, Kristen Lombardo and Isabella Cordaro from DiscoverNEPA

10:30 AM Breakout Session 6

Session 6a. The Legacy of the Susquehanna River Water Trails: What a Water Trail can do for a Community

From the headwaters in Cooperstown, NY to the confluence with the Chesapeake Bay in Havre de Grace, MD, Susquehanna River has been the lifeblood of this region for centuries. To travel the length is to take a historic journey through endless forests, rolling farmland, urban communities, historic towns, and locations of historic events that shaped our region. Conserving this water trail and finding unique ways to expose people to its legacy will shape the future of the Watershed.

Presenters: Emily Baldauff, Endless Mountains Heritage Region; Poppy Breining, Susquehanna Greenway Partnership

Session 6b. Insider Tips and Tricks for Conducting Effective DEIB Research: Must-Dos for Gathering Solid, Usable Materials

This session will serve as a comprehensive guide to conducting DEIB research in your area. You'll gain essential insights into best practices and common pitfalls to avoid when undertaking your study. Key topics include selecting the right researcher, identifying crucial information to consider, gaining an insider’s perspective on the research process, and understanding the nature of the results. Additionally, you'll receive practical suggestions on how to effectively utilize the collected data.

Presenters: Holly Komonczi, Lumber Heritage Region of Pennsylvania

Session 6c. The Opportunity and Value Proposition of Gravel Cycling Route Development

Learn about how gravel cycling and bikepacking is growing in popularity and provides a unique value proposition for tourism initiatives and local communities. Route development is relatively low costs and links tourism assets via well-curated routes and visitor information. Various case studies will be presented to show what is happening in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region and how connectivity between communities is filling gaps and opening new opportunities for growth and impact.

Presenter: David Landis, V2V Trails

11:45 AM Mobile Workshops

*Those joining the mobile workshops should note there will be walking/hiking involved, so please bring appropriate footwear and a supply of water. Boxed lunches will be provided for participants.

Mobile Workshop 1: The Diahoga Trail – Walk the trail with Borough Manager David Jarrett and learn about this incredible trail along the Susquehanna River North Branch that extends through multiple communities.

Mobile Workshop 2: Round Top Park – Check out the ATV trail system with Athens Township Parks and Rec Committee member Meade Murtland and learn about this local treasure.

I will not be participating in a mobile workshop

2:00 PM Busses Return; Eastern PA Greenways and Trails Summit ends.

Hotel Lodging Information

Grand Victorian Inn
255 Spring Street, Sayre PA
Western. Route 17, Exit 61

SPECIAL EVENT RATE:

Call Hotel Direct 570-888-7711 *Mention Hotel Block Name
EASTERN PA GREENWAYS & TRAILS SUMMIT HOTEL BLOCK-
SEPTEMBER 18-21, 2024
1 King Bed includes Breakfast: $95
2 Queen Beds for additional $5 fee
Balcony Kings for additional $15 fee
Whirlpool Room for additional $20 fee
ALL OF OUR ROOMS INCLUDE BREAKFAST
Plus additional amenities listed on back of card

Note: ** Earlier check-in for additional $10/hour fee
Must note when making your reservation
Please make your reservations AUGUST 28, 2024

Eastern PA Greenways and Trails Summit 2024 hotel reservations

SPONSORS

Eastern Pennsylvania Trail Leaders

Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency

Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency

Endless Mountains Heritage Region

Endless Mountains Heritage Region

Endless Mountains Trail Partner

Best Western Grand Victorian Inn

Best Western Grand Victorian Inn

Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor

Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor

Hunt Engineering

Hunt Engineering

Trail Supporter

B&K Equipment

B&K Equipment

Global Tungsten & Powders

Global Tungsten & Powders

Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc.

Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc.

Michael Baker International

Michael Baker International

Sayre Borough

Sayre Borough

Wilson Consulting Group

Wilson Consulting Group

"The significance of the region lies not in a few individual landmarks of national merit, but in hundreds of local resources knit together into a single, richly textured regional blanket."