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Deciding on Trails Book Excerpt
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Special thanks to Wilder Mile Creative for producing this video filmed at The Ruins Project along the Great Allegheny Passage!
I spent years dreaming of writing a book about Trail Towns. I even conducted a few interviews as early as 2014 before setting the project down. It would take another six years before I had a plan and was ready to, at last, WRITE THE BOOK. (Truth be told, had I written it in 2014, it would have been a very different book.)
I started Deciding on Trails: 7 Practices of Healthy Trail Towns in January 2020 during a lull in my consulting work. By April, I had a company (Plug & Play Publishing) to work with and already had a few chapters in the bag. Another eight months later I had a proof copy in my hands.
I write this in full recognition that 2020 was a terrible year for so many. Even those whose physical health and livelihood were not affected by COVID-19 were suddenly juggling more than they ever had. Writing a book may not have been possible for parents facing unprecedented challenges in balancing home, school, and work commitments. Or for first responders or any number of people who were doing their best just to get by.
As for me, my home and professional life hadn’t changed in any significant way, other than my work-related travel coming to a halt. The book gave me something to feel excited about the whole year through. It helped to sustain me and gave me something forward-focused to commit myself to. For those of you who see trails as something that can make a difference in your community, I hope that it provides you something forward-focused to think about as well.
About Deciding on Trails
Deciding on Trails is for every local champion, thought leader, and dreamer who knows that trails can make a difference in their community if only their town would recognize the value of trails.
This book is not a “how to” for structuring a Trail Town program. Rather, it is a call to action for trail communities. This book is for those dedicated individuals who want to cultivate a trail culture, embrace Trail Town best practices, and to once and for all “decide on trails.”
If you want more for your community and know that trails are part of the solution, this is the book for you.
Deciding on Trails is organized into three parts:
Part I examines the first 15 years of Trail Towns, beginning with the first multi-community program, launched along the Great Allegheny Passage by the Allegheny Trail Alliance and The Progress Fund. Part I also tells the story of how trail and community advocates in other places adapted the model and how your community can, too.
Part II focuses on actionable steps you can take to make the most of your trail by following seven best practices of healthy Trail Towns.
Part III brings the book to a close by considering how to navigate difficult times (COVID-19 included) and what may be in store for the future of Trail Towns.