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Ohio’s Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail | Photo by Jason Cohn


Working Together to Connect the Region’s Shared-Use Trails

The vision of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC) is to establish the Industrial Heartland as a premier destination offering a 1,500-miles-plus multiuse trail network experience.

The IHTC network will stretch across 51 counties in four states—Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York—from the shores of Lake Erie to the confluence of the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh and on to the Ohio River and Appalachian foothills.

IHTC Footprint

View the 1,500-mile-plus trail network that will span 51 counties in Western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio and the southwestern corner of New York.

View Footprint

Stories from the IHTC

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Advancing Cleveland’s Active Transportation Agenda

Cleveland Bikeable swipe map animation by RTC
Cleveland Bikeable swipe map animation by RTC

RTC partnered with the City of Cleveland , other public agencies and local bike advocates to conduct a BikeAble study with the intention of better understanding the potential impact of each potential project. This study, Advancing Cleveland’s Active Transportation Agenda, reveals how strategic, prioritized investments in trails and biking infrastructure could improve connectivity for residents citywide and examines how these investments bring value to neighborhoods experiencing inequality. 

Parkersburg to Pittsburgh Feasibility Study

The 238-mile Parkersburg to Pittsburgh (P2P) rail-trail is already nearly 80 percent complete; just a few short gaps exist in West Virginia to unlock a contiguous 150-miles-plus stretch of the rail-trail from Parkersburg to the state’s border with Pennsylvania.

North Bend Rail Trail leading into Cairo, West Virginia | Photo by Mike Tewkesbury

Learn about P2P

Cleveland to Pittsburgh Feasibility Study

This study is the first and only comprehensive look at the C2P corridor within the IHTC. The corridor is anchored by the two largest metro areas within the IHTC’s footprint: Cleveland, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Montour Trail in Pennsylvania | Photo by Milo Bateman

Learn more about C2P

Ashtabula to Pittsburgh Feasibility Study

The Ashtabula to Pittsburgh (A2P) corridor travels from Lake Erie in Ashtabula, Ohio, to Point State Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Three Rivers Heritage Trail in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Photo by Renee Rosenteel

Learn more about A2P

What This Means for the Industrial Heartland

The IHTC builds upon past efforts to organize the trails community, leverage the cultural heritage of the region into a premier trail destination, and harness and amplify the benefits of the region’s trails systems. This includes stimulating the regional economy through outdoor tourism and small business investment, and creating social equity and new health connections for underserved communities across the project footprint.

Caperton Trail through Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park | Photo by Daniel Boyd
Caperton Trail through Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park | Photo by Daniel Boyd

Creating a New Regional Identity

The IHTC will spur a new wave of regional tourism, encouraging exploration of the small towns, major cities, historical sites, rivers and mountains that characterize America’s first frontier and heartbeat of the industrial revolution. The project is establishing a new collective identity for the communities along the route whose shared past and present—of innovation, steel, agriculture, manufacturing, boom, bust, reinvention and renewal—becomes their shared future.

Creating Smart Transportation Options

Approximately 3.5 million people living in 1.5 million households are located within 3 miles of a destination corridor. Of those people, 85 percent are older than 16 (employment age). Of those living within 1 mile of a destination corridor, 89.1 percent who are employed commute by car—and only 4.7 percent currently walk or bike to their jobs. Filling in the trail network’s 700 miles of gaps will provide hundreds of thousands of people new, safe off-road access to areas of commerce and places of employment in major cities and small communities across the route.

Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail | Photo by Richard T Bower
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail | Photo by Richard T. Bower

Promoting Social Equity and Health

Completing the gaps in the trail network will provide increased access to safe active transportation routes and opportunities for physical activity to underserved populations throughout the project footprint. For example, in Pennsylvania, African Americans have extremely high rates of obesity and chronic disease due to issues such as poverty, less access to grocery stores and less access to parks and green space. Changes to the built environment will reduce these barriers to access while creating new connections to jobs and shopping centers and supporting healthier lifestyles.

Fueling Strong Economies in the Industrial Heartland

Creating new regional economic opportunity is central to the vision of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC). The trails alone offer serenity, scenery, historical sites, industrial relics, public art, trailside eateries and more. Beyond the trail, visitors can cycle, drive or be transported to a wide variety of attractions.

A recent study of the potential for the trail project to generate tourism labeled the “I Heart Trails” as a destination—one that has lure—a “wow” factor that leaves lasting impressions.

It’s evident that trails increasingly demonstrate their significance in community transformation through economic activity by trail users, including visitors and locals.

The study found that the IHTC is uniquely positioned to bring value to the region by influencing trail development and quality, trail-to-town connections and tourism promotion. These findings are bolstered by the fact that the economic impact of trails within the project footprint has already been demonstrated:

Ohio's Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail | Photo by Renee Rosensteel

Unlocking the Economic & Community Development Potential of IHTC Trails

Read Report

Achieving the IHTC Vision

Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail, part of the IHTC | Photo by Jason Cohn
Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail, part of the IHTC | Photo by Jason Cohn


Since 2013, the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC) has worked to make the 1,500-miles-plus vision a reality.

Past achievements include: 

Continuing Efforts

The coalition is made up of more than 100 organizations who have participated in IHTC meetings. A Coordinating Committee meets quarterly to collaborate and advance the vision.

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:

Project Leads

Rails to Trails Conservancy logo
PEC logo
national park service logo

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.


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