Monday Sessions
June 7, 2021

Full Agenda

1:00 pm-2:30 pm
Summit Kickoff: Meet the People and Places of the Industrial Heartland (A)

The Industrial Heartland is a place where stories abound. While the natural resources and beauty of the region are spectacular, the people and communities that call it home are what make it truly special. Join us as we travel around the region to see places transformed by trails, explore the communities impacted by them, and meet the people who are working tirelessly to make these trail development projects a reality. You will experience the Industrial Heartland through engaging video pieces and live discussion on topics like entrepreneurship, community development and identity, elected officials & decision makers and tourism. This session will kick off the week of events ahead, introducing the topics, people and places that will shape our upcoming Summit workshops.


  • Jon Husted, Lieutenant Governor of Ohio
  • Matthew MacLaren, TourismOhio
  • Chelsea A. Ruby, West Virginia Tourism Commissioner
  • Brian Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks
  • Derek Schafer, West Creek Conservancy
  • Andrea Irland, National Park Service
  • Amy Camp, Cycle Forward
  • Cathy McCollom, McCollom Development Strategies
  • Melinda Huntley, Ohio Travel Association
  • Brian Housh, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • Kent Spellman, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • Dan Rice, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition
  • James Hardy, City of Akron, Ohio
  • Grace Hudson, Summit Lake Community Development Corporation
  • Kim Harris, Oil Region Alliance
  • Caytlin Lusk, Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority
  • Shae Strait, City of Fairmont, West Virginia
  • Jenny Selin, Morgantown City Council
  • Rep. Kent Smith, Ohio House of Representatives
  • Ann Nemanic, Laurel Highlands
  • Eric Oberg, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • Amanda Pitzer, Friends of the Cheat

2:30 pm-3:30 pm
Trails Beyond Pandemic – New Approaches from Lessons Learned (B)

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact in our world. Though many effects are negative, trails, parks and public spaces witnessed some positive impacts such as increased use and new users. In this session, emerging leaders in park and community-space management will discuss the pandemic-related implications for trail use, connectivity, equity, health & well-being and especially, how these “lessons from the pandemic” can inform new approaches to facility access, programming, design and operations as we move forward.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Gain understanding the impact and importance trails (and open space) have to overall human health and well-being.
  • Learn how impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic shed light on new considerations for design, programming and maintenance of trail systems.
  • Understand how data and observations obtained during the pandemic can be used to identify opportunities for trail connections and improve equity to communities.

This session is eligible for CEUs.


Annie Pease

Director of Transportation, University Circle

Annie Pease is the Director of Transportation at University Circle Incorporated (UCI), a non-profit neighborhood development corporation in Cleveland, Ohio. University Circle is northeast Ohio’s second largest and fastest growing employment center with 50,000 jobs in 1.5 square miles. In 2016, Ms. Pease was hired to implement a three-part transportation & mobility plan. Her duties include leading district-wide Transportation Demand Management (TDM) for 50,000 employees in University Circle focused on improved transportation communications, fundraising for active transportation projects and advocacy for improved road safety. Ms. Pease comes to Cleveland after completing her Masters degree in City & Regional Planning from Cornell University and three years of community development work with the U.S. Peace Corps in Central Asia.

Sarah O’Keeffe, MBA

Director, Sustainability, The MetroHealth System

In her role at MetroHealth, Sarah leads a collaborative sustainability program that spans the healthcare system with a focus on optimizing operations and creating strategic change using an environmental health lens.  Significant areas of focus of Sarah’s work are to incorporate green building and community building principles, including multi-modal transportation connectivity, into MetroHealth’s culture.  These principles are drawn from international frameworks, including: USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the International Well Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard, the EcoDistricts Protocol and Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence benchmarking.  Sarah is also a multi-modal advocate, loves biking, walking, public transit and promotes all of the health and social benefits of each.

Nate Eppink

Director, Medina County Parks District

What began as a summer internship with Cleveland Metroparks has turned into a rewarding 20-year career in parks and recreation for Nate Eppink. Since October 2018, he has led the “small, but mighty” Medina County Park District, which currently manages 7,200 acres and nearly 50 different trails. Nate describes his position as the best job in Northeast Ohio, helping a staff of fewer than 40 employees make lives better, protect natural resources, and establish new areas for outdoor recreation. A certified parks and recreation professional, Nate serves on the boards of the Ohio Parks & Recreation Association and the Greater Medina Chamber, is an ex-officio trustee of Friends of Medina County Parks, a member of the Ohio Public Works Commission’s District 9 Natural Resources Assistance Council, and a professional advisory board member for Kent State University’s Recreation, Park & Tourism Management Program. He lives in Medina County with his wife and three young children.

3:45 pm-5:00 pm
Showcase of Trails: Projects, Programs & Champions (C)

The Showcase of Trails for the Greater Cleveland area recognizes and awards outstanding trail, water trail and bikeway projects, as well as creative trail programming, creative community engagement events, and people who have made notable contributions to the advancement of trails and bikeways throughout their career.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will:

  • Gain Best Practices and Lessons Learned for recent projects: technical, engagement and funding;
  • Gain a portfolio of transferable programming ideas for use in one’s own community; and
  • Gain a directory of contact information of the professionals who implemented these projects and programs for follow up.

5:00 pm-6:00 pm
Virtual Happy Hour Mixer (D)

Join your colleagues and friends from around the region for this post-summit informal virtual mixer. In lieu of actually going to get a refreshment together, let’s say hello, catch up on the most surreal of years past and look forward to a brighter future.