For Immediate Release

Trimble, Ohio — Rural Action has launched a new social enterprise designed to teach residents and tourists about the rich history and biodiversity of Appalachian Ohio while providing economic opportunities for local experts who will serve as guides and storytellers along the way.

“Our dream is to make it easy for the many expert guides in the region to lead tours and experiences, get paid well for their expertise, and deepen visitors’ and residents’ sense of place and belonging to Appalachian Ohio,” says Madison Donohue, Tourism Specialist with Rural Action. That dream is becoming a reality with the launch of Appalachian Understories: Guided Experiences in Southeast Ohio.

For decades, organizations like Rural Action, Sunday Creek Associates, Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area, Southeast Ohio History Center, Little Cities of Black Diamonds, and Buckeye Trail Association have seen the rebounding forests of Appalachian Ohio and its rich human history as some of the region’s greatest assets. Local leaders of these organizations like Cheryl Blosser, John Winnenberg, Tom O’Grady, and Andrew Bashaw have seen this potential for years, having guided tour groups to learn about places such as Robinson’s Cave in New Straitsville, Tecumseh Theater in Shawnee, and the biodiversity along the Buckeye Trail.

Appalachian Understories will create sustainable economic activity around these two regional assets: biological diversity and cultural history. Ohio’s Winding Road, a network leading tourism efforts in the region, is also a major supporter of the enterprise.

Activities will include guided bike tours, nature hikes, backpacking trips, and more. Appalachian Understories tours will focus on the natural and cultural history of the towns that are showcased on each tour. Passionate, knowledgeable historians and guides will breathe life into long-ago tales and educate participants about the natural landscape.

With offerings such as a Spring Wildflower Hike and the Wild and Edible Plant and Mushroom Walk, Appalachian Understories will offer an immersive experience in the natural world, helping participants to gain outdoor skills such as fire building, basic backpacking expertise, and shelter building.

Specific tours will be scheduled throughout the year targeting a range of interests. In addition, it will be possible to schedule private events for up to 15 participants for birthday parties and other group outings.

If you are interested in collaborating with Appalachian Understories to lead a tour and share your passion and expertise, send an email to or give us a call at (740) 677-4047 ext. 300.

To learn more and book a tour, visit the Appalachian Understories website:

Rural Action is a regional community development organization with a 32-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


Madison Donohue
Tourism Specialist
(740) 677-4047 ext. 300

A recent tour stopped at the United Methodist Church in Haydenville to discuss the history of the company town.

Appalachian Understories offers cycling, hiking, and backpacking tours that focus on local history.