IHTC Marks Ten Years

Featured image: Renee Rosensteel, courtesy of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Alexandra LongProgram Coordinator
Alexandra Long, Program Coordinator

The Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition (IHTC) celebrated the release of the 10-Year Retrospective Report during their quarterly meeting this month. The report reflects on 10 years of collaboration, celebration, and working towards the shared vision to “establish the Industrial Heartland as a premier destination offering a 1,500-mile multi-use trail network experience.”

In 2011 trail stakeholders from throughout the region held their first official convening, eventually leading to a decision to hold a symposium in 2013. The Forks of the Ohio symposium was highly successful and follow-up meetings resulted in a decision to form a coalition in the Fall of 2013.

Partnerships are the keystone of the IHTC. Projects implemented by local trail managers advance the Coalition’s vision while celebrating the central theme of the initiative that collaboration leverages success.

In the 10 years since its launch, the IHTC has helped partners receive increased political support and engagement from state and local governments, hosted summits and gatherings to convene and collaborate on ideas, provided technical support, and shared in the successes and points of growth of partners in PA, OH, WV, and NY.

Building on the previous decade’s work, the Project Support Team developed recommendations based on stakeholder interviews to advance the IHTC toward its vision. The report includes recommendations on trail development, capitalizing on trail-facing economic opportunities, promotion, and overall organizational support.

As the Coalition looks to the next 10 years, we continue to recognize areas for growth and engagement through partnership development, community activation, and the amplification of local projects in the regional context.

photo: Jason Cohn, courtesy of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

The Project Support Team wants to extend their appreciation to Amy Camp of Cycle Forward, who was consulted on the intended impact, content, and recommendations within the report. Zhenya J. Nalywayko of PEC is responsible for the exceptional design and navigation of the report. This document is an interactive pdf, meaning all hyperlinks can be clicked – they will take you directly to the websites they link to. Selecting headings within the table of contents will navigate you to the corresponding section.

Finally, the first ten years of the IHTC would not be possible without the financial support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, the Hillman Family Foundations, and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.