Your RTWC Board Members make every effort to be active, connected and informed. Becky Jewell and Jenni Reusser, members of the Wayne County Rails-to-Trails Board of Directors, recently attended the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition 2018 Fall Summit in Morgantown, West Virginia, to connect with other trail builders and to learn about issues, opportunities, trends and approaches to successful trails. Rails-to-Trails organizations across the country, with oversight from the national
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, are dedicated to "creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people."
The Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, not to be confused with our local Heartland Trail project, is a group of many organizations and stakeholders in the four-state area of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia who meet quarterly to collaborate and advance the vision. More than 100 agencies and organizations, who are actively planning and building trails, have participated in the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition concept. This coalition of trail supporters includes government, nonprofit and private foundation entities, as well as land managers and railroad interests, all working together to position trail development as a regional priority.
Reusser attended breakout sessions on "Making the Value Case for Your Trail" and "Communicating to Get People Involved." Jewell attended sessions about "Turning Gaps Into Connections" and "Trail Branding and Wayfinding," while both attended the "Long Term Maintenance Considerations" sessions. The presenters were all highly qualified and did an excellent job of sharing important information.
"I especially enjoyed the information shared in the "Value Case" forum," said Reusser. "We are good at telling our story when it comes to health, recreation, and the positive adaptive re-use of abandoned rail beds. With the help of Shane Farthing from the conservancy, we learned we can do a better job of helping people understand the clear economic value of having trails in our city, county and state."
Jewell, who is Trail Manager for our active Heartland Trail project, was fully engaged in the long term maintenance session. "Steve Studenmund from Franklin County/Columbus Metroparks gave an outstanding presentation about key elements in building and maintaining trails," said Jewell. "Every point he made was clear and very applicable to our existing trails and to our current project."