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

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, Founder and 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 founded Cycle Forward in 2013 with the plan to help communities better connect to and benefit from their trails. She is a trails and tourism consultant, a placemaker, and a certified coach. She helped to launch the nationally recognized Trail Town Program® in 2007. She has since offered her consulting services throughout Appalachia, the Rust Belt, and other locations in the U.S. and Canada. Her book, Deciding on Trails: 7 Practices of Healthy Trail Towns, was published in December 2020. Amy served on the Board of American Trails from 2012-17, acting as Board Secretary and Chair of the Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program. She is an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation and firmly believes that her coaching certification makes her a better consultant. Amy lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she first grew to love communities and began her work to help improve them.

Contact: [email protected]

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