We hit the proverbial lottery of hometowns in terms of trail access. We originally moved here for my husband’s job in 2007. As we started our family, we wanted to be intentional about spending more time outdoors. By that time, The Rail-Trail Council of Northeast PA had already made significant progress on the trail that runs through our town. We were blessed to step into a space well established by others.
The hard work of the Rail-Trail Council, local businesses, and private citizens had an immense impact on our community. Now, we like to say that our town is a trail town.
What Is A Tail Town?
If you live in one, you already know. But a trail town has a population that makes a concerted effort to maximize the advantages of proximity to the trail. The local government works with volunteers and businesses to promote trail activities. Businesses work together to attract outdoor tourism to benefit the town. Residents share their enjoyment online so other people will see and want to visit.
It’s almost difficult to quantify the benefits our family has enjoyed living in a trail town. We experience health, economic, and social benefits.
It is far too easy to live a sedentary lifestyle in our times. I know that we spend more time outside than we would otherwise because we enjoy the rail trail and make time for it. When my husband and I noticed those middle-aged pounds creeping up, he got on his bike, and I got back into running. We love taking family walks and bike rides and walking our dog on the trail.
Our town is working hard to become an outdoor tourist destination. Everyone benefits from grants issued to our town to help this endeavor. We also enjoy the beautification of our Main Street and other community spaces to make them more attractive.
I remember connecting with people when we visited Kingdom Trails in Vermont. We get to connect with people here over our love for the outdoors. Attending trail events helps us meet other families who live locally and who are visiting.
Our friends who reside in small cities that get lots of visitors tell us that the population shift can be a challenge. But the locals learn to adapt and appreciate the economic boom from tourism.
What You Can Do
You can promote your awesome trail town and spread excitement about it. First, go on adventures on the trail. Enjoy hiking, biking, walking your dog, photographing flowers, and more. Capture the moments easily with your phone camera. Second, share on social media. I know I need to get better at this! But share your delight by using community pages and hashtags. You’ll extend the town’s reach online and create more buzz.
Share photos with your trail council and other organizations too. They love to see that all their volunteer hours are appreciated.
If you are a business owner, join your local chamber of commerce or business alliance. Find out how your town can promote outdoor tourism and reap all the benefits involved.
Because I want my town to succeed in the outdoor tourism space, I try to be involved as much as I can. We attend events as much as we are able and share our experiences through social media and our blog.
I’ve also noticed that I’m more conscientious when visiting someone else’s trail town. The golden rule says to treat others as you want to be treated, so that is what I try to do.