Prepared for the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition
While not traditionally viewed as attractions that contribute to tourism and local economies, trails have become destination worthy sites and formidable economic generators. Trails and tourism have become intertwined to the benefit of communities, small businesses, and points of interest.
The decision to assess tourism readiness and to develop a corresponding strategy comes out of the recognition that trails and tourism make a significant mark on the local and regional economies. In connecting over 1,400 miles of trails, the coalition must also be prepared to connect trail users to local communities, business services, and iconic sites. The coalition’s desired impact can only be realized if it and its partners succeed in enticing trail users to go beyond the trail and explore nearby communities and attractions where they will have stellar experiences. This commitment to “beyond the trail” experiences necessitated a tourism assessment and strategy. In June 2015, on behalf of IHTC, Pennsylvania Environmental Council contracted Cycle Forward to assess tourism readiness and develop a strategy that offers a possible path forward in engaging in trail-related tourism promotion. The seven month project included tourism readiness surveys, development of an attractions inventory, and this strategy document.
This strategy follows the 2015 naming of the coalition and the brand foundation that was established as a part of that process. The strategy assumes that active promotion of the network as a whole will occur closer to the time of trail completion.
Published January 02, 2016
Whether hiking, bicycling, riding on horseback or participating in motorized recreation nearly everyone uses trails for a similar goal – to spend time outdoors. This time outside, whether a short walk down a paved trail to work in an urban setting, or a hike to a point reachable to only a few Americans makes trail users happier people.
Breathe more life (and funds) into your rural trailside town. Not every community revival looks the same, but this step-by-step guide shares all the secrets we've learned in our 10+ years of successful Trail Town development. We've built the framework. You just need to pedal it forward.
Recreational trails and rivers can really help boost a community’s tourism traffic. This guide is designed to help leaders of these Trail Towns take advantage of the economic opportunity brought by the attraction of trails and rivers. It will help you transform your town into a more inviting and memorable tourist destination as well as a better place for residents to live, work and play. The elements in this guide are only suggestions. Feel free to modify or adapt these ideas in Assessments I & II to best suit your town. After all, your approach should be as unique as your community.