PTBA Annual Conference

Posted by Ryan Spates in S&S Trails Blog on Mar. 30, 2010 - 12:50 pm

March 22-27 PTBA Conference
S&S Trails traveled to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to participate in the first members-only conference for the Professional Trail Builders Association (PTBA). In the past a conference was held every year that was open to the public and governmental agencies, in addition to the professional trail contractors that comprise the association. As a member of the board of directors, Susan was involved with discussions to change the conference format to an every other year event that would alternate with the National Trails Symposium and IMBA biennial summits. Because those two conferences occur on even-number years, the large PTBA conference that’s open to the public will occur in odd-number years starting with 2011.

The 2010 mini-conference was a fun and productive event, with about 30 participants representing member companies from around the United States and Canada. We were there primarily for continuing education and business networking, but it was also nice to catch up with colleagues and friends that we hadn’t seen in a while. Several informative sessions were presented, including: how to write a legally binding trail contract; creating EPA storm water protection plans; professional liability insurance guidelines; federal DOT (department of transportation) guidelines for hauling mechanized trail building equipment; and creating an individualized company safety policy and manual.

Eureka Springs is a quant little town surrounded by incredible natural beauty, and just around the corner from the conference center was a beautiful piece of land where we hoped to build a legacy project together with our colleagues. Unfortunately the weather had other plans for us and we got rained out—we don’t mind getting dirty, but there was so much mud and flowing water it made the conditions unsafe for work, especially with machinery. But it was still nice to go out to the site and brainstorm trail design options with other trail builders and gather ideas for what the local companies can do when conditions dry out. Overall it was a good trip, and we returned to Texas with several ideas for ways to improve our company procedures and productivity.