The Fourth Annual Bike Trail Tourism Conference – Capturing More Trail Potential will be Thursday, March 30, 2017 at the Hotel Pattee in Perry. The focus of the day will be on (1) helping businesses on or near the trails think about strategies to reach more trail users and (2) help communities on or near the trail develop to economic development strategies that capture the growing economic potential of our trails, said Deb Bengtson, director of Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce and one of the conference organizers. The conference registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the program runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“We’re so fortunate to have the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle trails here in central Iowa,” said Bengtson. “Those trails are a great linkage between our communities and the larger metro area, as a great ‘quality of life’ asset and a real opportunity for our trail towns to attract more trail users out from the metro area. Our primary audience is businesses and local leaders of towns on the trail. We want to give them ideas and strategies to get more economic benefit from our trails. We’ll also be discussing the progress to complete the final link between Woodward and Perry that will connect these two major trails.”

The conference begins at 9 am with an opening presentation from Michael Gould, manager of business development at the Iowa Economic Development Authority. He will set the stage for the conference and discuss the larger picture of trails and tourism in Iowa and the potential of central Iowa trails to draw people from beyond central Iowa and how this can impact towns on and near the trails.

The conference will then focus on four trail-related topics;

A Trail Economic Impact Study, presented by Mike Wallace, Director of Dallas County Conservation. Key findings from a trail study conducted by students at Iowa State University.

What the ISU trail study means in the larger context of economic development for individual trail businesses and for communities in the region, presented by Michael Gould, manager of business development at the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Targeted Marketing on a Small Business Budget; Christina Moffatt and Kristine Reeves of the Greater Des Moines Partnership will discuss how small businesses on and near the trail can target market their products and services to trail users.

Marketing the Des Moines area; Erin Haines and Addison Bratvold of the Greater DM Convention and Visitors Bureau will discuss how the CVB markets the area to visitors and discuss how individual businesses and trail communities could utilizes some of the same strategies in marketing to trail users and trail visitors.

“Trail counts are going up every year, and when we get the connection between Woodard (High Trestle Trail) and Perry (Raccoon River Valley Trail, linking these two great trails, I think the numbers will soar,” said Jay Hartz of Hotel Pattee. “We’re pleased to host the 2017 bike trail tourism conference. It can help all businesses on the trail if we can get more trail users out of the metro area, and get more of them into our local businesses. One of our strategies to grow our business is to focus on bike trail users and do all we can do to give them a great experience when they eat a meal here or stay overnight with us. We continue to see a steady increase in trail users coming to the hotel.”

Conference sponsors are Common Thread, a regional consortium of towns on the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail, the City of Perry, and the Center for Towncraft in Perry, a collaboration between Iowa State University Extension & Outreach and the City of Perry, and Bolton & Menk Inc.

Conference registration is $25 per person which includes lunch and all conference materials.

PRE-REGISTRATIOIN IS REQUIRED by March 24, 2017. Information and registration is online at:

To register send your name and address, along with a check to:

City of Perry, Attn: Bike Conf., PO Box 545, Perry, IA 50220.

Please make checks payable to: City of Perry

For more information contact Butch Niebuhr, 515-249-8696;

Sven Peterson, 515-465-2481, or Alan Vandehaar, 515-537-3964.