by Jennifer Sierra
At a public meeting on Tuesday evening, Bob Yoder, Southbank Trail Consultant, launched an initiative to acquire the Trail Town designation for the Northern Kentucky river cities. Yoder has applied for all 6 river cities of Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton and Ft. Thomas to get this designation which would elevate each city’s status in the adventure tourism industry. This would also open up grant money so each town could build upon their already extensive trail base. The Riverfront Commons Trail that runs through Bellevue and Dayton is a huge part of this program, especially since the trail in Dayton is going to get a big boost with the recent alternative transportation grant awarded this last fall. Bob said that once the cities get this Trail Town designation, it will be like having a Tree City or Historic City designation and there are many people that seek out those places to visit.
The American Discovery Trail is a 3600-mile trail that runs from Delaware to California. It is the longest trail in the nation and runs through our community. Bob Yoder said, “the state of Kentucky has the smallest part of the American Discovery Trail but we could market our part of the trail as ‘the state you can do in a day’.”
Green Umbrella supports Tri-State Trails and their goal is to get the Cincinnati area ranked as one of the top 10 most sustainable areas in the nation by 2020. Wade Johnston, the Regional Trails Coordinator for Tri-State Trails said that Dayton, Ohio has the largest network of connected trails in the region with over 330 miles of trails. “We think there are a lot of benefits to having trails in our community and ultimately it equates to improved quality of life,” Johnston said. He also cited examples of the benefits to having these trails nearby. Trails improve property values, overall health of community members, decrease the carbon footprint and increase tourism.
Bob Yoder wants to host a big trail event this summer to kick off the Trail Town initiative. He is hopeful that the Trail Town designation will be granted to the cities by the fall. Bob Yoder needs a lot of community support and help to get this going. He is looking for community leaders and volunteers for event planning and marketing. If anyone is interested, Bob can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trail systems can include waterways, unpaved trails, paved trails, bike paths, streets and bridges creating a diverse way of exploring the trail systems. Tri-State trails launched a program called, “Opening Day on the Trails Challenge” taking place from April 16th through June 4th. The event is part of a national kickoff to the spring outdoors season organized by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The 7-week challenge encourages people to explore the region’s trails by offering prizes to participants that complete the challenge.
The forum was crowded with Mayors, Main Street Representatives and Garden Club members from Edgewood, Ft. Thomas, Ft. Mitchell, Newport, Bellevue, Covington, Silver Grove and Ludlow. These events and initiatives have the largest impact on Kenton and Campbell counties currently.