Author: Staff

What draws people to a trail?

Amy Pendergast of Healthy Shasta asked a question that made me stop and think: “What are the top things that are most likely to draw people to the trail as repeated trail users?” We want trails to be attractive, in the broadest sense of the word, but what does that mean? For walkers, the classic popular trail is a loop around a lake that provides a half to two mile trip. Whether biking or walking, people like loop trails way better than backtracking. You’ll even see people walking around and around a ballfield or park. However, a trail up...

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Survey on Trail Training

American Trails is about to release a new survey asking for your ideas, opinions, and concerns about training for trails and greenways work. This survey is conducted by American Trails in cooperation with the National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP). The NTTP is a nationwide partnership of organizations, agencies, States, and businesses committed to improving trail-related training and skills. We’d like to know your experience and ideas, such as: •            What types of training and delivery methods do you feel are effective? •            On which topics are more or better training needed? •            What good examples of training are you...

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Are parks and trails a “solid investment” to improve home values?

A new study of home values along the Little Miami Scenic Trail looks at the economic impact of trails “from a real estate perspective.” The 12-mile multi-use green corridor and trail system runs through the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Two researchers from the University of Cincinnati planning and economics departments studied 1,762 residential properties located within 10,000 feet of the trail. The researchers found that homeowners within a “reasonable” distance of the trail saw their home values rise. The report concluded that for the average home, homeowners were willing to pay a $9,000 premium to be located one thousand feet...

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Attracting bike tourists to your trail: lessons from the Canalway

On New York’s Erie Canal Trail, bicyclists represent potential customers who can bring revenue into local community by patronizing businesses that meet their needs and contribute to their overall desired experience. And when a particular bicycling destination is so appealing to bicyclists that they will come from some distance away to enjoy it, the dollars they bring with them can be significant. At the community level, being bicycle-friendly refers to: • The ease with which cyclists on the Canalway Trail can learn about and find their way to services they need. • The degree to which they can readily explore and experience the uniqueness of a particular community. To enhance bike friendliness, communities should work on: • Drawing bicyclists in; getting them to pause long enough to discover what you offer and then, by appealing to their interests, enticing them to leave the trail and explore your community. • Facilitating travel into and throughout your community. • Delighting them with what they find. Read more about “Bicyclists Bring Business: A Guide for Attracting Bicycle Tourists To New York’s Canal...

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Some guiding principles on promoting trail communities

Another resource on economic benefits of trails is “Implementing Trail-Based Economic Development Programs: A Handbook for Iowa Communities:” Communities that succeed at promoting community and economic development through trail recreation may approach the process from many angles, but all began with clear visions of how they wanted the trail system to help their communities. The national experience suggests keeping these principles in mind to guide the planning process: 1. Understand Community Capacity and Desires 2. Identify Target Markets Based on Trail Characteristics 3. Determine Community’s Relationship to the Trail System 4. Choose Trailhead Sites Based on Desired User Markets and Impacts 5. Locate Trailheads Within Town Boundaries to Concentrate Economic Impacts 6. Build Off Existing Markets 7. Cultivate Partnerships Read more...

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American Trails strives to enrich the quality of life for all people and the sustainable development of communities by advancing and promoting the development, preservation, and enjoyment of diverse, high quality trails and greenways. Learn more at

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