About Us

There are no cash registers on the trail.

If you want your trail to boost the local economy, you have to tap your town into it. Pedal your whole community forward by transforming into a bike-friendly destination where people want to stay, explore and spend.

For more than 10 years, The Trail Town Program®, created by The Progress Fund, has connected towns to the economic opportunities along trails like The Great Allegheny Passage. We’re the longest-running, most successful Trail Town revitalization project.

 

WHAT WE DO

We power community development with outdoor tourism across PA, WV and MD— but we also help trails around the nation follow our lead. It starts by thinking regionally: a world-class trail needs amenities along its entire stretch, and towns working together can create a much broader impact.

Then, there are 5 keys to a successful Trail Town:

  • Partnerships
  • Assessment and research
  • Connecting town to trail
  • Business and real estate development
  • Marketing

Not every project looks the same. Every region has its own strengths and challenges. But we share all the insights and lessons we’ve learned along the way in our free Trail Town guide.

 

IMPACT

A thriving trail economy in The Trail Town Program:

  1. CREATES economic growth.
    The Great Allegheny Passage now has a $50 million economic impact each year, leaping from 25% of the local income to 40% in a 6-year span.
  2. GROWS local business and creates jobs.
    In its pioneering 10 years, the Trail Town Program netted 65 new businesses and 270 jobs, while growing revenues of even more local merchants
  3. COMPOUNDS the trail’s economic potential
    … because it turns a simple path into a long-term destination. Overnight trips can generate more than 6x the revenue per day, and they span more days. 
  4. IMPROVES infrastructure in rural areas.
    It opens doors to new ventures and opportunities, which enriches a community’s options (and boosts local pride!)
  5. PROTECTS the trails and surrounding nature
    Preservation funds are notoriously hard to find, but a community that’s benefitting from the trail will invest back in it, too.

… And if you build it right, it also endures.

 


Awards & Recognition: