Educational Workshop, Annual Meeting and Awards Program

Woods, Water, Wheels: Strategies for Connecting Outdoor Recreation and Our Communities
May 16 - Warren

Over thirty people representing an array of businesses, elected officials and non-profits attended PA Route 6 Alliance’s annual Educational Workshop in Warren to hear economic impacts, sound strategies and best practices for connecting their towns to surrounding trail systems, water ways and parks.

“Wood, Water, Wheels: Strategies for Connecting Outdoor Recreation and Our Communities” was held on May 16. The experts in both the morning and afternoon panels presented valuable information on the benefits of developing trail systems, identifying your audience, recruiting volunteers, and attracting businesses.

Six strategies suggested by the speakers:

1.) Trail and bike routes work to improve the human experience by providing safe and accessible transportation to goods, services, and needs. Keep in mind that connecting these walking and biking trails have an impact on the community’s health and well as economy.

2.) Start with a plan: identify your assets, analyze if your community is visitor friendly, map out your trails and sidewalks, and develop goals and strategies.

3.) Remember good signage, public bathrooms and bike racks/repair kits provide a service while enhancing the users’ experience.

4.) While overnight users of the trail will bring the greatest financial benefit, don’t ignore your local users. Not only do they bring their visiting family member; but they are also a good source for advocates and volunteers.

5.) Partner together with other interested trail groups to develop a network of trails. As shown on the chart below, a system will increase your ability to promote overnight and extended trips as well as raise the users’ amount of spending.

6.) Partner with your local Destination Marketing Organizations and Chambers to develop marketing materials, packaged tours, and social media plans.

Pictured are: Sara Petyk- Noble Invention Bike Touring, Roy Gothie- Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, PennDOT and Julie Fitzpatrick- PA Downtown Center

Pictured are: Bill Massa- Allegheny Outdoor Club, Andy Georgakis- Jakes Rock Trail/Warren Cycle Shop and Piper Vanord- Allegheny Outfitters