The Rendezvous Region Tourism Council (RRTC) is building a Talking Trail Tour to promote the many historic sites, scenic byways, museums, heritage areas, nature trails, art, and state parks in our own area. Talking Trail is an app for your phone or tablet that brings you stories of those locations while you are visiting them.
“This is a great opportunity for our local stories to be told,” said Kelli Truver, board member of the RRTC. “We can create stronger connections with tourists and visitors as they are able to understand more about our history and culture. Talking Trail will help the community to share its voice.”
Truver is the chair of the subcommittee that will be doing the legwork of putting the Rendezvous Region Tour together to be published in the Talking Trail app.
“Currently, the subcommittee has chosen 80 locations to place a talking point,” said Truver. “However, we are interested in hearing any ideas people may have about additional talking points. We are making connections within each community to determine which story should be told at the locations, identifying people to voice each talking point, and finding financial sponsors to help bring each talking point to the community.”
The Gunlogson Farmstead in Cavalier, the Roxy Theater in Langdon, and the Gingras Trading Post in Walhalla are examples of locations included in the tour.
It is the goal of the RRTC to have local voices tell the stories, either from people who lived them or were handed down the story through the generations. Once a story is created and written down, it is sent to Talking Trails for editing. They send it back, and the storyteller records it on something like an iPhone. The recorded file is sent to Talking Trails for polishing and kept on file.
“Funding for this program will come from local and regional partnerships,” said Truver. “The Rendezvous Regional Tourism Council is paying a portion of the initial set up fees and will pay for continued maintenance of the program.”
Local donors who sponsor a site will have their logo permanently on display on the talking point sign. Truver said a local sponsorship is a donation of $500.
“This is a great opportunity for businesses to support the region and to place a permanent ad in a location that will be heavily utilized by tourists and visitors,” said Truver. “If any businesses are interested in sponsoring a site, please contact me.”
The Talking Trail app is available for free for iOS and Android in the App Store. There is also a sign at each talking point location that has the QR code to download and install the app. Once you have downloaded the app, you can scroll through the tours already published and download a tour any time prior to arrival or once you are at the talking point. It is simple, user friendly, and pretty straightforward.
Users can be notified when they are within a specified distance of a Talking Point, and the Apple connected map gives users step-by-step directions to the Talking Point location. Once you’ve completed a trail, you can delete the downloaded content for that trail by going to the general information section of that trail and select remove media. If you do not want to use the app, you can still listen to the talking point on your phone. There is a phone number on the sign at each location that you can call to listen to the story.
“Per Talking Trail, there will be an option coming soon (by the time we launch) that will allow the talking points to be streamed rather than downloaded,” said Truver. She said they hope to have the Rendezvous Region Tour available on the app by early summer of 2022.
If you want to be a sponsor or have an idea for a talking point location, contact Truver or one of the other subcommittee members: Emily Laaveg – Icelandic State Park; Rachel Morrison - Cavalier Chamber of Commerce; Barb Mehlhoff - Executive Director Langdon Chamber of Commerce; or Shirley Burns – secretary/treasurer Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Currently available on the Talking Trails app: the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot, ND; Jamestown, ND; Fargo Air Museum; Northern Plains National Heritage areas (four counties in North Dakota along the Missouri River); Prairie Legacy: German-Russian Country (Emmons, Logan, and McIntosh counties); Former Governors’ Mansion State Historic Site – Bismarck, ND; Camp Hancock; Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway; Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park – Mandan, ND; Otter Trail Scenic Byway - Otter Tail County, Minn.; Enchanted Highway – metal sculptures by Garry Greff; Logan County, Colo.; and the ND State Capitol Arboretum Trail (Coming soon).