The Wyoming Bike Walk Trails Summit – 2018 and Beyond

This past May, Wyoming Pathways partnered with traditional partner, Platte River Trails and new partner, Friends of Pathways to hold the third Wyoming Bike Walk Trails Summit in the town of Jackson.  Each iteration of the event, first held in 2013, has grown, becoming a “must-attend” event for Wyoming’s transportation, planning and recreation professionals, biking, walking and outdoor recreation advocates and enthusiasts and anyone interested in increasing cycling and walking in the state. The 2018 Summit was no different, with attendees from all of these groups and from all around the state.  As we look forward to the next Summit, we are seeking your input to make it even more relevant, impactful and just plain fun to attend.  Please take our survey to let us know.

2018 Summit Recap

With a theme of “Pathways to Prosperous Communities”, the 2018 Summit brought together a world-class group of presenters to engage attendees and provide them with the knowledge and tools make their communities better places to live through biking and walking.  From Keynote Speaker Dan Burden, world renowned urbanist, to key presenters Johan Diepens of Dutch firm, MobyCon, Joe Gilpin of Alta Planning and Clark Anderson of Community Builders, the Summit provided a varied group of experts to learn from.

Held at Jackson’s famous Snow King Resort, the Summit kicked-off on the evening of Monday, May 21st to beautiful “shoulder-season” weather.  As attendees arrived at Snow King’s Grand View Lodge, they were greeted by Jackson’s stunning scenery and the smiling faces of Friends of Pathways volunteers to check them into the event.  The evening of the first day were all about “Pecha Kucha’s” and Dan Burden. 

The Pecha Kucha’s, inspiring images and stories from around Wyoming presented in a “12 slides in six minutes” slideshow format, shared lessons from ten groups learned in their e­fforts to build healthier active communities around the state.  These were varied, interesting, humorous and very well received.

After a wonderful catered dinner by Snow King’s world-class chefs, the group was officially welcomed to the event by Andy Schwartz, Jackson’s Representative to the Wyoming House.  Andy then gave the floor to Keynote Speaker, Dan Burden, and the real fun began.  Dan is an enthralling speaker and this evening, he did not disappoint.  Known as one of the top urbanists of all time, Dan presented compelling arguments for rethinking urban planning to help people live longer and happier lives through active livable communities.  Attendees left the first evening of the Summit inspired and armed with knowledge to make a real difference in their communities, but this was just the start.

Day two of the Summit opened with an early breakfast buffet to prepare attendees for a full day of presentations and activities.  Following breakfast, attendees were welcomed to Day 2 by the Mayor of Jackson, Pete Muldoon and immediately jumped into a rousing panel discussion featuring leaders of state agencies key to the development of active and prosperous communities moderated by Dan Burden.  Next up was Joe Gilpin, Vice President of engineering firm, Alta Planning, to give attendees a thorough analysis of the recently released Wyoming Bicycle & Pedestrian System Report.

Immediately following Joe’s presentation and building on concepts presented in the agency panel, attendees learned about how to improve health outcomes with active living programs from a panel of health and wellness professionals.  The morning’s presentations were rounded out by presentations about national bicycle and rail trail routes by Rail to Trails and Adventure Cycling representatives, after which, attendees were treated to another great Snow King meal, giving them an opportunity to also digest all that they had learned before moving on to the afternoon’s presentations and activities.

Clark Anderson of Community Builders led off the afternoon of Day 2 with his presentation entitled “Making the Economic Case for Active Transportation”, an in-depth discussion of how rural communities have improved economic outcomes and livability through main street enhancements and collaborative community planning e­fforts.  Moving from rural to urban, Johan Diepens of MobyCon brought a Dutch flavor to the event by sharing his expertise on adapting international best practices for biking and walking to an American model with his presentation entitled “From Living City to Living Street: Dutch Solutions for Walking and Biking in the US.”  Both presentations provided attendees a new perspective on community development that can provide a happier and healthier environment for their communities.

After such “meaty” presentations, it was time for attendees to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful scenery in Jackson via the Active Field Trips.  These included compelling options to participate in a walking audit with Dan Burden, explore local natural surface trails with Forest Service representatives and take a tour of Jackson’s world-class pathway system on their new bike-share bikes.  The evening was open for attendees to experience the ambiance of Jackson on their own and many opted to attend the special get-together at Summit sponsor, Snake River Brewing to relax, enjoy the local fare and complete a very full day.

The final day of the Summit offered attendees the flexibility of “breakfast on your own” and the option of attending two bonus workshops led by Community Builders’ Clark Anderson and MobyCon’s Johan Diepens.  Clark’s workshop entitled “Bring Home a Plan for Your Community Main Street” and Johan’s workshop entitled “Vision Zero + Complete Streets in Action: Safe streets for All Road Users” provided actionable direction and tools to empower attendees to plan for the future development of their communities and make them better and safer places to live.

With that, the 2018 Summit concluded.  Immediate feedback from attendees leaving the event was universally positive and longer term feedback has reinforced that.  It is with that in mind that Wyoming Pathways looks forward to the next Wyoming Bike Walk Trails Summit, with the promise of making it more compelling and impactful than ever.  It is an event that brings a diverse group of  folks together to work toward a common cause, happier, healthier and more prosperous Wyoming communities.  The more people we can touch and inspire through this event and others, the brighter the future looks for Wyoming.