This symposium series is the result of the foresight and dedication of Dr. Dale H. Arner, Professor Emeritus, Mississippi State University. Through his efforts and with the assistance of a Steering Committee consisting of representatives from industry, government and academia, Dr. Arner initiated and chaired the first symposium, January 6-8, 1976 at Mississippi State University.

The primary objective of the symposium was:

“to present a forum for discussion of the environmental impacts which result from siting, constructing, using and maintaining rights-of-way. A second objective was to draw together and publish practical information on ways of reducing the environmental impacts and of developing multiple uses of rights-of-way which cross rural areas.”

Because of their linear configurations, rights-of-way cross many landforms, habitats, property ownerships and governmental jurisdictions. Additionally, rights-of-way directly affect people with diverse points of view, for example, the landowner, the project engineer and the land use specialist. The first symposium was intended to fill a need for a common meeting ground for individuals and groups concerned about the environmental impacts of rights-of-way.

Participants at that First Symposium included representatives of utilities, vendors, government agencies, consulting firms, and universities. Dr. Arner was the symposium Chairman while John Gill acted as the Program Chairman. The First Symposium not only successfully achieved its objectives, it also laid the ground work for the subsequent series of symposia.

The Second Symposium was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, October 16-18, 1979 on the campus of the University of Michigan. It was attended by over 300 people.

The Hyatt Islandia Hotel in San Diego, California was the site of the Third Symposium. It was held February 15-18, 1982 and attracted close to 400 attendees. Edward W. Colson was the Symposium Chairman, R.E. (Gus) Tillman was the Co-Chairman, and Allen Crabtree acted as Program Chairman.

The Fourth Symposium was held October 25-28, 1987 in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Dr. W.R. (Dick) Byrnes and Dr. Harvey A. Holt were the symposium co-chairmen. As with all of the other symposia, assistance was provided by a Steering Committee representing the industries and agencies concerned with electric, railroad, highway and pipeline right-of-way planning and management. The Fourth Symposium was the first to include a speaker from anywhere other than North America, as Nancy M. Darrall of England’s Central Electricity Generating Board, spoke on environmental concerns in rights-of-way management in Europe.

The symposium series became truly international when it held the Fifth Symposium in Montreal, Québec, Canada on September 19-22, 1993. Jean Doucet of Hydro-Québec took on the role of Chairman, with Andre Bouchard acting as Co-Chairman. A total of 380 participants from 15 countries attended the symposium, which included presentations from Japan, India, Spain, France, England and the Netherlands, in addition to many papers from Canada and the United States.

The Sixth Symposium was held February 22-26, 1997 in New Orleans, Louisiana. James R. (Randy) Williams, of Entergy Services Inc. was the host and Symposium Chairman, while John Goodrich-Mahoney, Electric Power Research Institute, acted as Co-Chairman. In addition to the regular program, a number of tours were also offered for participants and spouses.

The Seventh Symposium was held September 9-13, 2000 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, attracting 460 attendees from 22 countries. The Co-Chairmen were Dean Mutrie of TERA Environmental Consultants and Colin Guild of TransCanada PipeLines. Dr. Dale H. Arner served as Honorary Chairman. In addition to the regular program, a number of tours and social events were offered for participants and spouses.

The Eighth Symposium was held September 12-16, 2004 in Saratoga Springs, NY. The Co-Chairmen were Kevin Mcloughlin New York Power Authority and Dr. Lawrence Abrahamson SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry. Proceedings are available at Elsevier: Science & Technology. Search Term: “Rights-of-Way”

The Ninth Symposium was held September 27-30, 2009 in Portland, Oregon. The program was hosted by Natural Resource Group. Mr. Joseph Reinemann served at the symposium chairperson. James M. Evans, John W. Goodrich-Mahoney, Dean Mutrie, and Joe Reinemann were editors of the 9th Symposium proceedings which included 67 peer reviewed papers presented over the three days. The proceedings are available from the International Society of Arboriculture

The Tenth Symposium was held September 30-October 3, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The program was hosted by Arizona Public Service Company (APS). The symposium was attended by over 350 people from eight countries. Mr. Mike Neal of APS served as the symposium chairperson. The plenary session was led by Mr. Allen Crabtree and Ms. Laurie Moye, Coordinator for Regulatory Project and Public Participation (Public Service Co. of New Mexico) provided the keynote address. Over 80 presentations were made during three days of concurrent educational sessions. The proceedings were the first to be published electronically and are available online.

The Eleventh Symposium was held September 20 – 23, 2015 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The program was hosted by Emera, Inc. Nearly 400 people attended from eight countries. Mr. Rich Hendler of Dow served as the symposium chairperson, and Mr. Rob Young of NS Power/Emera served as the local committee chair. The plenary session was led by Mr. Allen Crabtree. Rob Bennett, COO, Eastern Canada, Emera, Inc. provided the keynote address. Over 120 presentations were made over three days of concurrent educational sessions, in areas of interest including Wildlife, Vegetation Management, Technology, Planning, Assessment and Restoration. The proceedings are currently in production.