Wednesday, March 6 – Sandra and I are driving from our home in Columbia, SC to Bethesda, MD for the 13th National Trails Symposium hosted by American Trails. (today known as The International Trails Symposium) We made it to Roanoke Rapids, NC by 7:30 pm. We got a room at Days Inn for $34.
Thursday, March 7 – We left at 9 am. Rained all day. We got to Bethesda at noon. We stopped at a Fresh Fields market for food. We checked in to Holiday Inn on Wisconsin Ave at 2 pm. We talked with Skye Ridley, Executive Director of American Trails, group that is hosting the Symposium. Then we saw Pam Gluck, Arizona Trails Coordinator, so stopped to talk awhile. We walked five blocks to catch the Metro to Mall. Went to Smithsonian visitor center to get brochures. Then toured the new United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Mr. Helms, our neighbor back in Columbia, SC was one of the troops that liberated Dachau Concentration Camp and he suggested we visit the museum. Very moving experience to walk through the museum. Caught Metro back to Hilton. We drove to Fresh Fields on Wisconsin Ave to stock up on juice and snacks. Got back to room at 8 pm. Hotel gives out free passes to Bally’s fitness center that is next door. So walked over to work out. Got back to room at 9:30 pm.
Friday, March 8 – Up at 7 am. Walked to Bally’s to workout. Had snowed last night. Worked out and walked back to hotel to get cleaned up. Attended the all day State Trail Administrators meeting organized by Stuart Macdonald, head of National Association of State Trail Administrators and Christopher Douwes, Manager for Federal Highway Administration Recreational Trails Program.
We talked about the Symms trail grant process. Broke for lunch at 12:30 pm. Hotel provided group sandwiches and salad. We finished up at 4 pm.
Here’s blurb about me in the meeting notes taken by Stuart.
South Carolina: Jim Schmid recently moved back to South Carolina to take State trails coordinator job. NRTF is a good opportunity to start a new program and build the trails constituency. State set up a new statewide trails committee with 25 members, half users and half agencies, to figure out the trail needs. Brought in new people like canoeists and outdoor retailers. Has time budgeted to do a State trails plan.
After the meeting Sandra and I took the Metro to a shopping area and went on a walk. Got back to hotel at 8 pm. Called a guy from Trimble who is helping with tomorrow’s GPS workshop. He’ll be here.
Saturday, May 9 – I went downstairs at 8 am to check on workshop room. Good thing. A bit of confusion. There were folks there thinking we’d start at 8 am, but start time is 9:30 am. Also we didn’t have a slide projector or screen so tracked them down. Two guys from Trimble showed up at 9 am. They brought lots of GPS equipment. We had 35 folks in our workshop. Quick around the room to gauge experience with GPS. Wide range, but most have used a unit some. Lively discussion. I talked first about projects and showed some of my GPS slides. Then Mark Bryant with Trimble, did his Powerpoint GPS presentation. Really good. We broke at noon. Hotel provided bag lunches. I went back to my room to get more clothes. Cold. Also walked next door to an Army Navy Surplus to buy hand warmers and water proof matches. We all got back together at 1 pm. We walked across the street to check out an area we can GPS. We didn’t go far cause it’s 27 degrees and windy. We went back to conference room to make a data dictionary. We broke into small groups so everyone could get experience using a GPS unit to collect data. We didn’t stay out to long. Went back to room to differentially correct the data. Trimble guys had brought one unit that collects data in real time so doesn’t need correcting. Neat. Sure glad I had reached out to Trimble to help with workshop. They do a great job. We wrapped up at 4:30 pm. Helped Trimble guys carry GPS equipment to their car. Sandra and I caught Metro to Metro Center. More walking and shopping.
Sunday, March 10 – Went downstairs at 8 am. People were busy setting up in the exhibit hall. There wasn’t a table set aside for Trimble. Had to ask around to get them one. I went to opening session of Symposium at 8:30 am. Sandra and I sat at a table with mostly people we knew from Arizona – Pam Gluck, Steve Anderson, Jim Coffman, and Jerry Whaener. I left a 10 am to check on our workshop room. None of the rooms had been set up. Had to rush around to get hotel folks moving. Our GPS session started a little late. Took awhile for folks to find the workshop rooms. We had 20 folks in our session. I went through my GPS slide show and Mark Bryant with Trimble did his Powerpoint. Went well. I’m done with my part of teaching at conference. Walked through the exhibits to talk with folks and pick up some handouts. Sandra and I walked to the Metro with Pam Gluck and Jim Coffman. Sandra and I got off at Foggy Bottom Station and walked to Georgetown. Walked and walked – lots of shops. Caught Metro and got back to hotel at 6 pm. I attended a meeting to learn about a new college course on OHV management. Sandra and I went out to dinner with Pam, Jim, Steve, Jerry and Don Charpio – all from Arizona. Tim Blumenthal and Gary Sprung with International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) joined us. We walked to a French café. I ate quiche. We ate and talked until 10 pm. We all walked back to hotel. I hung out in lobby with them and talked until midnight. Steve Elkinton with National Park Service joined in.
Monday, March 11 – Sat in on opening session 8:30 am to 10 am. I had brought my mtn bike so after the session I put on warm clothes and biked some of the new Capitol Crescent Trail. Clear but very cold day. Rode out 5 miles and came back. Went back to room to eat and clean up. Went to a 1:30 pm session on trail benefits led by Ed McMahon with American Greenways Program and Tim Blumenthal with IMBA. Then went to a session on backcountry trail design and construction. Got out at 5:30 pm. Got cleaned up and went to awards ceremony that started at 6 pm. Sat with some folks from Forest Service and NPS. Awards and talk went until 9:30 pm. Steve Anderson got an award for his Arizona advocacy. Neat.
Tuesday, March 12 – Walked to Bally’s to workout. Went to a session on long distance trails from 8:30 to 10 am. Went to the exhibit hall. Bought a couple of trail books and a trail bandanna. Talked with Steve Anderson then Skye Ridley. Went back to room and Sandra and I made three trips to get all our stuff to the van. I checked us out (was $500 for the room). We drove to Silver Springs, MD so I could visit with two guys who work for American Hiking Society. Wanted to talk with them about National Trails Day. Stayed an hour. We took off at noon headed home to Columbia, SC. We stopped in Roanoke Rapids, NC to spend the night then on home the next day.