Alabama Trails Design Summit

Getting on the Fast Track

What would you create if you had no constraints? It’s a thrilling—and often stifling—challenge. Our workshop with the Alabama Trails Commission brought structure, strategy and speed to concept development.

The health, wealth and social vitality of a region is largely connected to the success of its “outdoor recreation economy,” the third largest economic driver in the United States. Yet the state of Alabama has no comprehensive outdoor recreation policy. The Alabama Trails Commission (ATC) was established to tackle this problem. In November 2013, the ATC and the Alabama Innovation Engine (a partnership of The University of Alabama and Auburn University) sponsored a design summit to develop a clear vision for building Alabama’s first organized trails system.

Tomorrow Partners was invited to design and facilitate a two-day workshop to determine how the Alabama Trails Commission could support local organizations and attract national and international attention to one of Alabama’s greatest assets—its natural beauty.

Working with a diverse group of government, industry and academic leaders, we led immersion and vision exercises to create alignment around the role of the ATC. The group then turned to how: defining the organizational structure, focus, funding, and specific projects that would most effectively accomplish this shared vision.

Attendees also had an opportunity to think in the other direction, imagining how the ATC could enhance and support what their organizations are already doing in Alabama. The outcome of the workshop was a detailed and actionable path forward for the ATC and everyone involved.

Our ongoing collaboration with ATC and Alabama Innovation Engine will further test the hypotheses that emerged from the design summit, and will be used to define the organizational structure, funding opportunities, partnerships, and specific programs that will establish Alabama as a premier destination for outdoor recreation in the South.

Photos: Lindsay Kincade, David Blumberg

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