I just returned from Portland, Oregon, where I attended the 2015 International Trails Symposium. Every two years at this event, the ever-growing parks, trails and recreation crowd shares best practices and attends an exhibition, AKA trade show, featuring products of interest. Here are my key takeaways.
1. There were lots of different types of bridges represented!
As an outdoors enthusiast and a manufacturer, I consider bridges to be an important part of any park. There were a number of bridge suppliers represented at the symposium, exhibiting traditional wood bridges, steel bridges and aluminum bridges. In addition, there were two FRP bridge suppliers, showing generally complementary bridge products. Our FiberSPAN trail bridges are prefabricated for fast installation. The other FRP bridge product (from ET Tectonics) is built up using FRP stick sections. The latter product works well in remote areas where small pieces must be carried in and assembled.
2. Shows like these are invaluable.
We love the International Trails Symposium and meetings like it! Of course, they're a great chance for us to show off our products to new customers. Secondly, I'm able to get valuable feedback from potential customers on what they like and don't like. And finally, it's always nice catching up with colleagues and competitors (who are often one and the same!).
3. Location, location, location.
Portland was a great place for this conference given the large number of trails in the area (not to mention that beautiful bridge at Multnomah Falls). Closer to home, I was proud to see an exhibit touting the Dayton region's large number of recreational trails and waterways. Because we have such resources, we hope Dayton is able to host the symposium in the near future.
Did you make it to the symposium? Share your thoughts!