Sustainable Tourism Along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in the Ohio River Valley

  • August 06, 2020
  • 1:30 PM
  • Virtual Event

Organization: Ohio River Recreation Trail

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With the 1,200-mile extension of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in May 2019, a fourth major North American river became an official part of the Trail – the Ohio River, joining the Mississippi, Missouri, and Columbia Rivers. Beginning at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Ohio is formed by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. It ends 981 miles later at Cairo, Illinois when it empties into the Mississippi.

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience project is designed to support the public’s use and enjoyment of The Trail without adversely impacting the resources along it. This Geotourism project engages residents, enterprises, communities, and visitors in shared environmental and cultural heritage stewardship. The National Park Service has built a new travel website -- — specifically designed to bring together businesses like yours (attractions, landmarks, and other points of interest) to help promote sustainable tourism. We are working with the Ohio River Recreational Trail to garner as big a following as possible in and around the Ohio River in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.

The second component of the webinar is to focus on state resources to develop tourism infrastructure of river towns. It will focus on the value of being designated as a trail town by your state. Kentucky’s designated Trail Towns put you near the best outdoor sites in the state, including hundreds of miles of trails, woods and waters but keep you in cities and towns offering hotels, restaurants, attractions, entertainment and other conveniences to round out your stay. To be a certified Kentucky Trail Town, these popular destinations have made a commitment to share their area’s outdoor opportunities, culture, history and stories to visitors hungry for adventure. Since its inception, this program under the state’s Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet has designated 20 communities across Kentucky to serve as official gateways


photo of Seth Wheat

Seth Wheat

Director of tourism development @Kentucky Department of Tourism

Seth Wheat has worked for Kentucky Tourism for 10 years. Currently, he works for the Department of Tourism in tourism development. In this role, he oversees the Kentucky Adventure Tourism initiatives and sports tourism initiatives. Prior to joining the Department of Tourism in October of 2016, Seth worked in the Adventure Tourism Program for the Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet, where he helped implement the Kentucky Trail Town Program, the Cross Kentucky Master Trail Plan and managed all digital content. Seth is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee but grew up in Pikeville, Kentucky. He studied Political Science at Georgetown College, and has worked for the Commonwealth of Kentucky since June of 2010. An adventure enthusiast himself, Seth enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and paddling.

photo of Derek Schimmel

Derek Schimmel

Project & Communications Manager @Solimar International

Derek Schimmel has worked as a consultant to various government ministries and tourism operators in creating new product development strategies, focusing primarily on community-based tourism. Along with his work in sustainable tourism, Derek utilizes his five-plus years experience in digital marketing to educate and assist destinations in the various methods of building an effective online strategy. He has visited over 50 countries, traveling both professionally and leisurely, and has garnered an innate ability to communicate, consult and interact with local people and tourism operators across the globe.

photo of Dan Wiley

Dan Wiley

Chief of Integrated Resource Stewardship @Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters

Dan manages the Integrated Resources Stewardship Team, which includes the cultural resources manager, natural resources manager, environmental protection specialist, geographer, and outdoor recreation planner. Together, they work to protect cultural, natural and recreational resources of the trail and accessibility for visitors. It was his love for conservation that brought him to the National Park Service. Since he considers the National Parks the highest standard for conservation, it is the perfect fit! Working for the National Park Service has been a dream of his since he was seven years old. He told us how his mother had taken him to the Lewis and Clark Monument and Scenic Overlook in Council Bluffs, Iowa and how he thought the Lewis and Clark expedition was such an incredible adventure--we’d have to agree! He loves going out onto the trail and seeing firsthand the resources and meeting the partners responsible for the management of resources.

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