Working Together to Connect the Region’s Shared-Use Trails
Piqua bikers | Photo courtesy Five Rivers MetroParks
Achieving the IHTC Vision
Since 2013, the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC) has worked to make the 1,500-miles-plus vision a reality.
Past achievements include:
- Defining the 1,500-miles-plus network, with a focus on corridors that will touch the most citizens across the Industrial Heartland and provide the most beneficial connections for communities
- Launching the GoTo Trails website to support region-wide planning efforts—and ensure synergetic collaboration between partners
- Completing a naming and branding process for the coalition that captures and creates a unified identity for the region
- Establishing corridor working groups to engage local stakeholders and ensure important local buy-in and support for the project
- Conducting an extensive research project to create a cutting-edge trail traffic count model for the project footprint
- Creating dynamic communications materials to support local members in their promotion of the overall vision
- Conducting a “business impact” study in collaboration with West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, to further capture and communicate the economic benefits of the project for local communities
IHTC members are working to build new trails, fill in gaps in the network vision and maintain the trails already on the ground. Current efforts include:
- Engaging in an economic impact study of trails in Morgantown, West Virginia, as well as on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Northeast Ohio, to analyze the current and potential impact of the project on communities along the project route
- Establishing a process for corridor analyses and feasibility studies along parts of the route—to help support local communities in making the case for connecting their trails and communicating the local benefits of the completed trail network
- Creating compelling programming locally that helps tell the story of the local trails and the larger IHTC story to trail users
- Working with local elected officials, business owners and public agencies to continue to build support for all levels of trail building efforts across the project footprint
- Presenting the IHTC vision at local, regional and national conferences to spread the word about the coalition’s work—and how it’s moving the dial regionally and nationally with regard to outdoor tourism, economic development, active transportation, social equity and health
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program Ohio field office and RTC are collaborating to lead the regional trail effort.
Sign on here to learn more about the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition and how you can get involved.