$1.2m Grant Will Boost Towns, Businesses Near Baileys Trail System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2019

The Plains, Ohio — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has announced the award of $1.2 million to support development of the Baileys Trail System on the Wayne National Forest, provide branding and marketing assistance geared towards increasing tourism to the region, and training opportunities for local businesses and communities to help position southeast Ohio as a destination for mountain bikers, trail runners, and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Rural Action is leading the project and will be working with other organizations, including the Wayne National Forest (WNF), the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area, Buckeye Trail Association, Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action, and the Greater Appalachian Valley Conservation Corps. The project is titled Asset-Based Entrepreneurship: Trails, Towns, and Tourism in the Appalachian Ohio Economy.

Project partners will build trailhead amenities to spark and support entrepreneurial opportunities, develop branding and marketing to reach the 16 million people who live within 150 miles of the trail system, and promote collaborative branding urging visitors to get out into the local communities when they visit. The team will provide entrepreneurial support, sector-based training, workforce development, and intensive technical assistance to local individuals, businesses and communities, in addition to providing $250,000 for trail construction on the WNF and on the Buckeye Trail. 

This ARC-funded project is designed to ensure local communities reap economic benefits from the Baileys system. Other partners are involved in the development, design and construction of the trail system itself. 

Rural Action CEO Debbie Phillips notes the trail system is expected to bring 181,000 visitors per year to the area, resulting in millions of dollars in increased spending in coming years. “Our goal, together with many community partners, is to make sure that local people, businesses and communities benefit so that these dollars stay local,” Phillips says. “The Baileys Trail System has the potential to diversify our local economy and help local communities. We’re excited to be a part of this collaboration and eager to get started.”

The trail system, with an estimated total cost of $5.4m, will be built in phases and will cover 88 miles when complete. With trail heads planned for Chauncey, Doanville, and Buchtel, the potential to provide a local economic boost is considerable, says Dan Vorisek, an avid cyclist and the entrepreneurial communities coach at Rural Action.  

“Mountain bikers on average travel more than 500 miles to get to a high-quality trail system, and spend more than three days at that location,” Vorisek says. “There are plenty of ways that communities around the trail can provide the experiences that these visitors are looking for: local food and lodging, bike repairs or rentals, and entertainment.”

About Rural Action
Rural Action is a regional community development organization with a 29-county footprint working with members and community leaders on a range of quality of life, environmental, and economic projects across rural Appalachian Ohio. Its mission is to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways. Learn more about Rural Action at www.ruralaction.org

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. 

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CONTACT

Dan Vorisek
Entrepreneurial Communities Coach
dan@ruralaction.org
740-767-4938