December 16, 2015 – Bi-State staff has teamed up with Quad City Health Initiative (QCHI) and other local partners to create a new interactive trails map and website for the Quad Cities Area.  Funding for the project is from the Partnerships to Improve Community Health grant through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  It’s one of four local efforts focused on improving access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities.  Bi-State staff have been primarily involved in the creation of Safe Routes to School plans, as well as development of the new trails website, QCTrails.org.  The primary goal of the project is to provide a resource showing the trails in the Quad Cities Area, in one convenient website.  It will also show landmarks, points of interest, infrastructure, and other valuable resources such as parking, water, restrooms, information kiosks, parks, and much more.

It has taken building partnerships to bring all of this information together.  So far key partners in the project include:  Bi-State Regional Commission; QCHI and its partner organizations; Bi-State Region Trails Committee & partners; Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau; River Action; Friends of Off-Road Cycling (FORC); Rock River Trail Initiative Council; the Cities of Bettendorf, Davenport, East Moline, Moline, Rock Island, and Silvis; Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission; and Scott County Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Conservation Departments.  It will take continued cooperative efforts to maintain and sustain the information on the website.

The goal is not only to provide information on the trails, but to engage users and provide opportunities and incentives for active living by using the trails in the Quad Cities Region.  The website provides tools to make it exciting to use the trails.  QC Trails users can create a login profile to log their trails, keep track of their progress and accomplishments, and earn online badges when they’ve completed certain trail activities.  For example, complete one trail and you’ll earn the “Headwaters Hurrah” badge.  For those a little more serious, completing 26.2 miles of trails will award the “Marathoner” badge, and by completing all of the trails, the user will earn the “Trail Master badge.”  There are currently 16 badges to earn.  In addition, users can share their accomplishments via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and many more.

The final goal is to reach the community with this valuable tool.  QCHI has begun a Be Healthy QC marketing campaign, including billboards, social media, digital ads, and incentives such as posters, magnets, water bottles, etc.  To date, more than 50 trail systems have been identified and posted to the QC Trails website.  The site is scheduled to go live in late January.  Watch for it!