Programming Trail Experiences for All: Our One Shot at Building a Trail Culture

A TRAILSNext™ presentation

This talk will share programming examples and make a case for how these connections can transform communities from a culture of indifference to a culture of “yes,” of hospitality, of inclusion, and stewardship.

by Amy Camp, Owner, Cycle Forward


Trail communities around North America have come to appreciate (and clamor for) the economic benefits of trails. In fact, a model for community development—“trail towns”—has emerged to aid struggling communities in leveraging their trails.

But we’ve got it mostly wrong. While economic gain contributes to community vitality, too heavy of a focus on any one trail benefit lacks balance…and heart. Those places that value trails simply for the dollars brought into town miss out on the “trail magic” that can touch communities. If we flip our focus from visitor transactions to truly engaging both visitors and locals, culture shift is possible. One concrete way of doing so is through programming immersive, memorable, joyful trail experiences.

This talk will share programming examples and make a case for how these connections can transform communities from a culture of indifference to a culture of “yes,” of hospitality, of inclusion, and stewardship.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to recognize the value of programming trail experiences for all segments of the community and recall examples that have helped to transform communities.

About the Author

Amy Camp, owner of Cycle Forward, is a trails and tourism consultant, a placemaker, and a professional coach. She helped launch the nationally-recognized Trail Town Program® in 2007, and now consults communities on how they can expand the way they approach trails and tourism. A list of consulting projects is available. Amy is also a certified professional coach who offers nature-Cycle Forward logo based coaching, helping clients to gain clarity around their careers. Many of her coaching clients are in the trails, tourism, and community development fields. Amy is on the Board of American Trails, serving as Board Secretary and Chair of the Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program.

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