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LIAA to Develop Trail Towns Handbook for the North Country National Scenic Trail

LIAA recently signed on to work with the North County Trails Association to help develop a comprehensive Trail Town Handbook for communities along the North Country Trail. “Trail Towns” is an increasingly used economic development strategy designed to help communities along a local or regional trail system maximize the economic potential of trail-based tourism.

The Handbook will be designed to help the 18 communities already designated “Trail Towns” by the North Country Trail Association and other communities along the trail who one day may receive designation. The guidebook will include illustrations and diagrams, a generalized list of funding tools and resources, capacity building tools, evaluation checklists, local examples and success stories, marketing and promotion recommendations, capital improvement suggestions, examples of preferred building forms and best practices for urban retail.

The North Country Trail traverses roughly 4,540 miles – beginning in the Adirondack Mountains of up-state New York and traveling westward through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. The North Country Trail is one of nine “scenic trails” designated by the National Park Service.

Over the last two years, LIAA has become a recognized leader in developing local and regional Trail Town initiatives throughout Michigan. It is anticipated the Handbook will be completed by fall of 2015.

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