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Making the Case for Trails in Tight Economic Times

arrow Join our blog and discussions on economic benefits of trails

American Trails webinar on “Making the Case for Trails in Tight Economic Times” put sound ideas and hard numbers together to illustrate the contribution of trails to the prosperity of communities.

If you are interested in “attending” an archived version of the webinar, purchase the session via the American Trails Online Store


Here were the Presenters (see their bios below):

Robert M. Searns, AICP ~ Chair of the Board of Directors, American Trails, and Principal, The Greenway Team, Inc.
Jim Wood ~ Chief, Office of Greenways & Trails, Florida State Parks
Amy Camp ~ Trail Town Program® Manager, The Progress Fund
American Trails ~
     Phone: 530-547-2060

Case Study:

The Great Allegheny Passage Trail Town Program is on the cutting-edge when it comes to “Making the Case for Trails in Tight Economic Times.” The Trail Town Program is an economic development initiative along the Great Allegheny Passage in Pennsylvania and Maryland. The program envisions a corridor of revitalized trail communities that reap the economic benefits of trail-based tourism and recreation. The program conducts economic research to measure the trail’s impact on local economies, provides lending and technical assistance to small businesses, and addresses trail-wide issues and opportunities. The long-term economic viability of participating communities is to be achieved through concentrated business development efforts that capitalize on the trail user market.



Here are some of the resources referenced during the Webinar:


arrow See more studies and articles on our Economic Benefits index page

arrow Join our blog and discussions on economic benefits of trails


Join the discussion on our blog! Help keep the conversation about the economic impacts of trails going on the American Trails blog:

Let's keep the dialogue going ~ What are your challenges? How have you been successful in "selling" the economic benefits of trails? How is your community addressing budget cuts - are trails at the top of the "chopping block?" Are there bold public officials standing up for trails, and if so, what are they saying about their benefits? Let us know about your success stories. Are there studies you would like to share with others?  Do you have questions?  How about answers?

Presenters for the Webinar: “Making the Case for Trails in Tight Economic Times”
September 22, 2011

photo of cyclists by canal


Robert M. Searns, AICP, Chair of the Board of Directors, American Trails, and Principal, The Greenway Team
• Bob is the current Chair of the American Trails Board of Directors. He is the founding owner of The Greenway Team, Inc., a planning and development firm based in Denver, CO that has specialized for three decades in greenways, trails, and conservation. He was Project Director of Denver's Platte River Greenway, one of the nation's benchmark urban trail projects, and produced 10,000 Trees, an eight-mile river corridor restoration project involving 3,000 volunteers. He has authored a greenways and trails plan for the 43-square-mile area west of Denver International Airport, as well as trail and greenway projects across the nation including Chicago, Dallas, Memphis, Louisville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Portland. He was a development consultant for the Grand Canyon Greenway, a precedent-setting 72-mile system of multi-use trails along the canyon rim. Bob has conducted workshops throughout North America, China and Europe. He co-authored Greenways: A Guide to Planning, Design, and Development (published in the U.S. and. China), Trails for the 21st Century, and contributed to Greenways, The Beginning of an International Movement.

photo of cyclists by canal


Jim Wood, Chief, Office of Greenways & Trails, Florida State Parks
• Jim has been on the Executive Board of the American Trails Board of Directors since 2004, after he served as Program Chair for the National Trails Symposium with American Trails in Orlando, FL. Jim has been with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways and Trails since 1999, and became Chief of the program when it recently joined the Florida State Parks division. Specific projects he has been involved in include the creation of the visitor-oriented online FL Greenways and Trails Guide, coordination of two regional developer forums on trails and greenways, the FL Trails Database, the American Trails Developer Award, and the VISIT FLORIDA Trails-Tourism Website. His interests focus on the integration of trails in tourism and private development planning. He holds a BS in Communication from the University of Florida and an MS in Geography from Florida State University.

photo of cyclists by canal


Amy Camp, Trail Town Program® Manager, The Progress Fund
• Amy Camp is manager of the Trail Town Program. She works with trail businesses and communities to maximize the economic potential of the Great Allegheny Passage and to coordinate regional efforts among the towns. Prior to joining the program, Amy led a number of marketing and heritage tourism initiatives in Pittsburgh, PA. Amy is a graduate of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA and earned a Master of Public Administration from University of Pittsburgh.

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