Trail Town USA Certification

Trail Town USA Certification

Ohio River Trail Council "Trail Town USA" Certification

The Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC) “Trail Town USA” certification program recognizes and honors communities demonstrating longstanding, significant, and exemplary service to the trails movement. This award recognizes a community’s leadership and investment in infrastructure, education, and outreach. Blueways, Greenways, and multi-use trails provide a multitude of betterments that ultimately affect the sustainability of a community’s economic, environmental, and social health. Community enhancements extend into the realm of conservation, ecology, environment, preservation, economy, public health & wellness, transportation, culture and heritage.

The evidence about the extensive benefits of blueways and greenways is compelling, especially given the minimal public investment involved compared to other undertakings with similar community goals. Trails are more than a practical, cost-effective solution to many municipal challenges.

A “Trail Town USA” community is a vibrant destination for residents and visitors — a place where people do not just live and work, but thrive. Whether on a bicycling route, hiking trail, rail trail, towpath, or water trail —trail users can venture off the trail to enjoy the services, scenery, and heritage of the nearby community with its own character and charm.

Trail Towns offer trail users a location along a trail network where they can rest and enjoy all the services and events the community has to offer. Trail Towns embrace their trails and find ways to serve trail travelers, like providing entertainment, camping, lodging, shopping, food and drink.

Blue and green space are important community amenities that help to spur economic development. Tourism and recreation-related revenues come in several forms. From homeowners choosing to live along a park-like trail to bicycle tourists making their way from small town to small town, trails are important community facilities that attract people and dollars. Trails create opportunities in construction and maintenance, recreation rentals (such as bicycles, kayaks, and canoes), recreation services (such as shuttle buses and guided tours), historic preservation, restaurants and lodging. The economic effects of blueways and greenways are sometimes readily apparent (as in the case of trailside businesses) and are sometimes more subtle, like when a company decides to move to a particular community because of amenities like trails. Trails increase real property values and provide an important amenity to residential, commercial developments and office park developers who, in turn, are realizing higher rental values and profits. There is no question, however, that countless communities across America have experienced an economic revitalization due in whole or in part to trails.

Trails are corridors recognized for their ability to connect people and places together. Each community has its own unique history, its own features and destinations, and its own landscapes. Trails preserve and exhibit these historically significant locations and routes that provide an enduring record of the past and educational opportunities into our heritage and culture. Linear trails connect neighborhoods, schools, parks and riverfronts as well as linking historical forts, bridges, dams, canals, buildings and villages. Through recognition of these cultural, historical, and natural assets, trails enhance our sense of community identity and pride as they provide a sense of place, cultural awareness, and an understanding of past events.

Trails and greenways are tools for ecology and conservation. Greenways and trails help preserve important natural landscapes, provide needed links between fragmented habitats and offer tremendous opportunities for protecting plant and animal species. They also can be useful tools for wetland preservation and the improvement of air and water quality. In addition, they improve public access to the river’s edge allowing all of us to experience nature with minimal environmental impact.

Blue and green trails contribute to the overall health of residents by offering people attractive, safe, accessible places to exercise. These trails create better opportunities for active lifestyles and link us to the outdoors by providing wonderful family-friendly recreational activities such as biking, birding, boating, butterflying, deer spotting, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, water skiing, and wildlife viewing. Trail Towns encourage people of all ages to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines, which has a significant effect on public health and wellness.

Trails often function as enjoyable and viable alternate transportation corridors. Trails are a crucial element to a seamless urban or regional multi-modal transportation system. Bicycle routes can serve as extensions of the road network, offering realistic and viable connections between origins and destinations such as work, schools, libraries, parks, shopping areas, restaurants, and tourist attractions. Community transportation planning and development should be concentrated on providing a choice in mode of travel to local residents. Trail Town communities incorporate trails into their transit plans to "feed" people in to and out of transit stations in a safe and efficient manner. Making bicycling safe and convenient are keys to improving public health, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and improving quality of life. The ability to avoid congested streets and highways, and travel through natural areas on foot or by non-motorized means, is a large factor in a community's "livability."


ORTC "Trail Town USA" Certified Communities

  1. Aliquippa

  2. Ambridge

  3. Beaver

  4. Beaver Falls

  5. Bridgewater

  6. Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

  7. New Brighton

  8. Monaca, Pennsylvania

  9. Rochester

  10. Sewickley