Mississippi River Trail announces new executive director

Mark Ackelson, Chairman of the Board, announced the selection of Terry Eastin as the new executive director of Mississippi River Trail, Inc.. Established in 1995 by the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Commission to promote a world class bicycling trail along the Mississippi River in the Delta Region, Mississippi River Trail, Inc. was expanded to include all ten states in 2001. Mississippi River Trail, Inc. currently works with federal, state, and local partners to coordinate route development and bicycling promotion from the headwaters of the Misssissippi in Minnesota, to the Gulf of Mexico.

Ms. Eastin, Co-owner, Eastin Outdoors, Inc., a Fayetteville, Arkansas-based multi-discipline trails firm, is a graduate of the University of Arkansas. Her involvement with outdoor recreation and trails design/construction spans 20+ years. Since the establishment of Eastin Outdoors, Inc. in 1997, Terry and her husband, Ken Eastin, L.A., have managed trails advocacy programs, grant writing, and design/construction projects in almost every part of Arkansas.

A Consultant for Little Rock Parks and Recreation since 2000, Terry is responsible for creating the Headwaters Partnership for the Arkansas River Trail in conjunction with the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program in St. Louis, Missouri. Thirty-four member federal, state, county, and municipal public and private municipal organizations make up the Headwaters Partnership. The project includes two major Arkansas cities, the state's largest county, six national organizations, five state agencies, three elected state offices (Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor and Governor), the state's largest cardiology clinic and an additional sixteen public and private coalitions, businesses, and organizations. Collaboration between these agencies led to the addition of $4.9 million in trail funding for the capitol city since 2003.

Creator of the Arkansas River Trail Medical Mile Project, Terry has led an effort to raise more than $800,000 since 2004 from the state's medical community. This money, while funding construction for a mile of trail, has also been earmarked for the development of the nation's first "outdoor linear health museum" through one of the capitol city's premiere riverside parks.

As Chair of the Arkansas Trails Council and President of Friends For Fayetteville, Terry hosted the first Arkansas Trails Conference in over twelve years in 2001. The Arkansas Trails and Greenways Forum, held in Fayetteville, was attended by more than 230 mayors, council members, parks and recreation professionals, and trails advocates. A lifelong recreation and trails advocate, Terry has devoted her professional career to forwarding the trails movement in Arkansas and elsewhere.

In her new position, Terry will lead MRT, Inc.'s growth and development by expanding outreach, marketing, and technical assistance services. Her focus will include route development, tourism, fundraising, and trail advocacy.

Note that maps of the Mississippi River Trail route through Missouri are available on MoBikeFed's web site.