The Great Allegheny Passage Trail Towns

Rural Sustainable Economic Development

Speakers will elaborate on the successes and hurdles in the cultural shift to an economy based upon conservation and utilization of natural assets in rural towns.

by Amy Camp, Founder and Owner, Cycle Forward, Elisa Mayes, Brad Smith, Proprieter, Confluence Cyclery

The Trail Town Program works to link trails into municipal infrastructure, assist small businesses, and engage the communities in Eco-tourism as a model to drive economic development. The session will cover the history of the Trail Town Program, the Great Allegheny Passage, and the Potomac Heritage Trail. It will discuss the partnership with the national non-profit, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and the utilization of the energy of the SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps. The speakers will elaborate on the successes and hurdles in the cultural shift to an economy based upon conservation and utilization of natural assets in rural towns.

About the Authors

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]

Elisa Mayes leads the 4-person SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps in sustainable community development projects in the Pennsylvania towns along the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and her M.Sc. in Urban Planning from the University of Groningen, Netherlands. Her desire to do community planning stems from her passion for the diversity of cultures and her previous work with the Adirondack Nature Conservancy and bicycle advocacy in Asheville, North Carolina.

Brad Smith worked for the Department of Defense in Washington, DC before retiring to Confluence, PA. In 2008 Brad and his wife, Maureen, opened the Confluence Cyclery in the town’s former department store building.

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