Building a Trail Town from Scratch - Page 3
A few members of the #TrailsRoc crew. Photo by Ron Heerkens, Jr.
Not everyone in your town might think a trail is a great idea, so advocating for the benefits of the trail is vital to the process. Getting the local community on board is the best way to move forward, as your local government is likely to support what they do. If you can form as an organization like the CTA did, your probability of success goes up.
“The chances of just one person being able to build a new trail and maintain it are almost impossible,” says Unckless. “The Parks Department could maintain those segments that are on town-owned land but not on private land. We do have individuals in the community who have adopted sections of the trail informally, and their work significantly reduces our workload.”
Unckless also suggests taking time to form officially for other reasons. The Crescent Trail Association is a 501(c)3 non profit, which helps with funding and grant writing and adds legitimacy to what they do. People are more likely to work with, donate to, get involved with and see you as a benefit to the community they live and work in if you are an official organization.
Stacey Estrich, Parks Director in Perinton, agrees on the importance of gaining municipal buy-in: "The town plays an active role in the construction of the trail itself by matching funds via monetary, labor and equipment use." Some trails may have been built privately, but Estrich points out the many benefits of town involvement with your new trail: "There are several state Trail and Recreation and Park capitol improvement grants the town submits for. We also apply for local block grants or fundraisers."