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

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

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.

Appalachian Understories: Guided Experiences in Southeast Ohio will explore the forests and mining towns of the region with tours ranging from bike rides to nature hikes to backpacking trips.

“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.

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

Madison recently completed the second of two terms as an AmeriCorps member with Rural Action’s Environmental Education program. During her AmeriCorps service, she organized several Rides Through Time, bike tours that introduced participants to Little Cities of Black Diamonds like Shawnee and New Straitsville. A distinctive feature of the tours has been the interpretation of a historian who provides context and details along the way.

Madison says Appalachian Understories tours will strive to visit and patronize local businesses. While most of the tours to date have focused on cycling, there are plans to offer hikes and backpacking trips, too. There also will be offerings that teach outdoor skills such as fire building, basic backpacking, and shelter building.

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

To help support this new social enterprise, please consider following it on Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more, visit the Appalachian Understories website: AppalachianUnderstories.com. Better yet, consider joining Appalachian Understories for its next tour, a four-hour Ride Through Time starting in Shawnee on Saturday, Oct. 16.

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