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Montour Trail in Pennsylvania | Photo by Milo Bateman

Unlocking the Economic Potential of 200+ Miles of Trail

Imagine what’s possible with a 1,500-miles-plus trail network that connects 51 counties in four states—person by person, town by town, community by community, state by state. This is the vision of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC): establishing the industrial heartland as a premier destination offering a unique multiuse trail network experience that will stretch across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia—from the shores of Lake Erie to the confluence of the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh and on to the Ohio River and Appalachian foothills in West Virginia.

A Feasibility Study of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition’s Cleveland to Pittsburgh Corridor

The IHTC builds upon past efforts to organize the trails community, connect regional trails to each other, leverage the cultural heritage of the region into a premier multiuse trail destination, and harness and amplify the benefits of the region’s trail systems. Trail groups from the region joined together in the early 2000s, eventually forming a coalition in 2011, and branding itself the “Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition” in 2015 in an effort to collectively advance the vision of a regional trail network.

Grouped by geography, eight identified trail destination corridors make up the IHTC network. The Cleveland to Pittsburgh (C2P) corridor extends from the shore of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio—utilizing existing well-loved trails like the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail—and connects across the Ohio River into West Virginia. The corridor then includes the Panhandle Trail, which travels into Pennsylvania and connects to the Montour Trail into Pittsburgh.

Cleveland to Pittsburgh (C2P) corridor map
Cleveland to Pittsburgh (C2P) corridor map

What’s in a Name?

Most of the “destination” corridors within the IHTC footprint are currently named for their two termini and often abbreviated (e.g., Cleveland to Pittsburgh becomes “C2P,” Parkersburg to Pittsburgh becomes “P2P,” etc.). These names and abbreviations are intended to be used to reference the work during the current planning and gap-filling phase. As existing trails are extended and new trails built to fill in the gaps, a branding and naming process could occur to create more marketable names and unique brands for each corridor.

Project Scope

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. Many communities large and small are found along the corridor, including Akron, Massillon, New Philadelphia and Steubenville in Ohio; Weirton in West Virginia; and Burgettstown and Coraopolis in Pennsylvania.

Project Partners

IHTC and the C2P corridor build on the previous and ongoing work of local trail organizations; conservation and community-based groups; and federal, state and local governments. More than 100 agencies and organizations are actively engaged in the IHTC effort. Currently, more than two dozen organizations and local governments in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania have engaged in meetings and other activities, indicating their interest in connecting the C2P corridor. These organizations include, but are not limited to, the following:


• Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study
• Bike Cleveland
• Brooke Hancock Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission
• Buckeye Trail Association
• Canalway Partners
• City of Akron
• City of Cleveland Planning Commission
• Cleveland Metroparks
• Cuyahoga County Planning Commission
• Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District
• Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District
• Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency
• Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition
• Rails-to-Trails of Wayne County
• Stark Parks
• Summit Metro Parks
• The Trust for Public Land
• Tuscarawas County Commissioners

West Virginia

• Brooke Hancock Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission
• City of Weirton
• Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center


• Friends of the Riverfront
• Montour Trail Council
• Washington County Department of Parks and Recreation