If they could have taken a trail all the way to Tennessee to pick up their national recognition, they would have.
American Trails recognized R. "Scat" Scatterday, manager and project engineer of the Wheeling-Ohio Valley Rails to Trails, and Ben Stout, project scientist, as the co-recipients of the 2010 National Trail Advocacy Award for the United States at the 20th National Trail Awards Banquet of the American Trails National Symposium on Tuesday night in Chattanooga.
Of the 150 nominations the American Trails board received, Scatterday and Stout, who were submitted as one nominee by the West Virginia State Trail Officials, came away with the national recognition on behalf of the city and Ohio County.
Photo by Ian Hicks
R. “Scat” Scatterday, manager and project engineer of the Wheeling-Ohio Valley Rails to Trails, left, and Ben Stout, project scientist, prepare to head to Tennessee to bring home the 2010 National Trail Advocacy Award.
"I was told last March that I was being nominated. I said I would not accept it unless Ben was part of that decision," Scatterday said.
With review of the board's bylaws for exceptions showing they could accept the award together, the two trail leaders became the first-ever co-recipients.
However, Scatterday and Stout do not feel their actions alone led them to bring the honor back to Wheeling.
"I am part of an unofficial team of people who have the same personal attitude and philosophy and when suggested to do something, respond by saying, 'How can we make this happen?' as opposed to all the reasons why it can't," Scatterday said.
"We're accepting this award for the team, who do everything," Stout added, referring to the Ohio Valley Trail Partners, who he said organized the Wheeling Heritage Trail tour, which is "one of the premiere trail riding events in the region," and has been working with other communities like Brooke, Belmont and Marshall counties to extend the trails from Wheeling.
Stout also said the award is symbolic of the working relationship he and Scatterday have with the city and community.
Though the two are working together to support the community, Stout said nothing would be possible without assistance from nearly all city departments and the trail ambassadors who volunteer their time to observe and report trail activity.
Scatterday and Stout extended gratitude to all those who lent their expertise to the project and made them eligible for the award.