Downtowns & Trails Initiative

The Connecticut Trail Census team has been collaborating on an exciting new project out of the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Cooperative Extension. The project, called Downtowns & Trails, focuses on trails as a “natural amenity” and the connection between trails and the development of downtown community spaces. An end goal of the project is to create a guide for those interested in economic development through the inclusion and promotion of trails in downtown areas. This will be achieved by establishing a network where knowledge and experiences relating to economic development and trails may be shared. The Downtowns & Trails initiative also anticipates researching what conditions will make for a successful downtowns and trails initiative by visiting locations who have successfully implemented similar ideas in the past.

CTTC collects economic data from trail users with its Intercept Surveys by asking if and how those surveyed plan on spending money on their current trip to the trail. Trail users can select a spending category such as meals at a restaurant, lodging, or retail and estimate how much they plan on spending. With the spring and fall survey sessions resulting in the collection of over 1,000 surveys in its pilot year, the Census expects to gather an impressive amount of economic data to support surveying as a useful data collection method applicable to the Downtowns & Trails project model.

Earlier this fall, Laura and Kristina worked together with collaborators from UNH, Vermont, Washington, and Kentucky on a proposal for the 2017-2018 Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NRCRD) Small Grants Program and are pleased to announce that the proposal was accepted and the grant awarded! In January, they will attend an in-person workshop at UNH to develop the project and to plan a visit to Kentucky to learn from their Trail Towns Program.

For more information, visit these links: