I “Heart” Trails Community Chats

Connecting communities to some of their best assets (trails!)

Memories are made on trails. We teach our kids to bike. We walk our dogs. We go on our own cycling adventures or meet people who are biking through. Trails can also contribute to community vitality when when businesses make efforts to cater to visiting trail users.

For all of these reasons, the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC or “I Heart Trails,” for short) is partnering with local trail and community development organizations to host workshops in four communities this fall.

Included are:

Corry, Pennsylvania – Sept. 11, 5:30-8:00 p.m.

Corry Higher Education Building, 221 N. Center St.

Local hosts: Impact Corry, Corry Area Chamber of Commerce, Clear Lake Authority (East Branch Trail), and Tri-County Snowblazers

Those in Corry, Erie, and other nearby communities are encouraged to attend.

New Philadelphia, Ohio – Sept 13, 5:00-7:30 p.m. 

Travel Tuscarawas County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 124 E. High Ave.

Local hosts: Travel Tuscarawas County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tuscarawas County Parks Department, and the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition

Those in New Philadelphia, Dover, Tuscarawas, Zoar, Boswell, and other nearby communities are encouraged to attend.

New Castle, PA – Sept. 14, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

The Confluence, 214 E. Washington Street

Local hosts: Lawrence County and Lawrence County Tourist Promotion Agency

Those in New Castle, Union Township, Mahoning Township, and other nearby communities are encouraged to attend. 

NOTE: We’re excited to share that this meeting will end with an open mic session in which community members will be invited to share their trail or community story. This fits the spirit of the Community Chats and also of The Confluence (the coffee shop’s tagline is “Coffee. Conversation. Community”) and should be loads of fun! So, please think about how how trails have improved your life and community and be ready to take the mic (optional, of course).

Steubenville, Ohio – Sept. 28, 5:30-8:00 p.m.

Grand Theatre, 121 South Fourth Street

Local hosts: Steubenville Revitalization

Those in Steubenville and other nearby communities are encouraged to attend. 

What to Expect
  • Socializing and a 15-minute “micro-film screening” to kick off the workshops
  • Conversation around what’s important to your communities
  • Tips on how to better accommodate visiting trail users
  • Going outside to assess the local business district in terms of walkability and visitor readiness. You’ll have the opportunity to bike, walk, or simply sit and observe (see below).
  • Food and drink (not a full dinner, but we’ll do our best to fill you up!)
  • Open mic story night at the New Castle meeting only (what’s your trail or community story?)
What to Bring
  • Friends and family members. Children are welcome! (Activities will be provided to help keep them engaged.)
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes for when we go outside to walk and ride (or grab a park bench, whatever is your pleasure)
  • A bike and helmet if you want to ride instead of walk (this would be a brief, casual ride – less than an hour – to look at how well the trail connects into the host community). We look forward to having non-local participants who can see the community with fresh eyes.
RSVP to Amy Camp at amy@cycleforward.org or (412) 918-6563 (please indicate which workshop you’re attending).
About IHTC

The Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition is a group of over 100 agencies and organizations in the four-state area of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia that is working to complete and connect the region’s trails. For each workshop, local partners are involved in the coalition and are eager to welcome experts on trails and tourism to speak with residents, business owners, and community leaders on how to take advantage of area trails.

The Community Chats were started in 2016, with workshops held in Canfield, OH; Kittanning, PA; Shinnston, WV; and Wheeling, WV.


IHTC: Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Building a Destination

Trails are community assets that attract people to visit our region and make it easier for residents to be active for recreation and exercise. They provide views of scenic river expanses and dramatic cliff faces, offering city-dwellers a means of escape from the stress of urban life. Passing through tunnels and across former railroad bridges, and within sight of artifacts from an earlier time – like old coaling towers or turntables – trails serve as a living connection to our region’s industrial heritage. Yet, unlike many of the local economies those industries once anchored, trails are here to stay. They are resources that cannot be exported or outsourced.

For all of these reasons and more, PEC is proud to be part of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (I Heart Trails or IHTC for short), a multi-state coalition of trail advocates including government, non-profit, and private foundation entities working to create a shared-use system of trails that will ultimately connect 48 counties in western Pennsylvania, New York, eastern Ohio and West Virginia. IHTC stakeholders are united by a shared vision of trail-linked communities comprising a larger regional destination, allowing local and visiting trail users to bike from trail to trail, city to city, and town to town. We are already nearly halfway to our eventual goal of more than 1,450 miles of trails…

To read more of this article published on the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s website, click here.