There are numerous trail systems located throughout the country, some near large cities, and others in smaller and sometimes out-of-the-way towns. The American Trail Running Association (ATRA), decided to identify, select, and feature trail towns of under 25,000 and their great trails.
Ten attributes were devised by ATRA advisory board member Chris Dunn, to help describe the towns which will be selected by ATRA and featured monthly on our searchable website blog, Trail News. Trail Town attributes include looking at the trail system, parking/transit, community, culture, coffee, beer, food, local knowledge, access & sharing and races.
“This was a fun project to take the lead on,” said Dunn, who lives in Stafford, New Hampshire, a town of some 4,000 residents. “Sharing that small town feel with others is something I cherish.”
To be featured, a trail town has to have a great trail network. That is number one on the list of criteria. Additionally, the town should have a vibrant culture, at least one coffee shop, a place to enjoy good food and libations, and a go-to specialty retailer with inside knowledge of the trails and community. Trails that host events, encourage harmonious multi-use by a variety of non-motorized users, and those with easy access are other considerations.
“We’re looking forward to launching this new program,” said Nancy Hobbs, ATRA’s executive director. “It is yet another educational tool, and one which benefits the towns we feature as well as those who venture to check out the trails in the community we shine a spotlight upon.”
Individuals are also invited to submit a town to ATRA for consideration. Initially, areas with populations of up to 25,000 will be featured with the first trail town introduced April at www.trailrunner.com/trail-news. Future Trail Town articles can be found by searching for “Trail Towns” in our Trail News section or by going to https://trailrunner.com/trail-news/category/trail-towns.
Do you have suggestions for which town should be featured as the next ATRA Trail Town? Fill out our Contact Us submission form. Stay tuned for our first Trail Town article coming next month!
About the American Trail Running Association
ATRA is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation based in Colorado. Founded in 1996, ATRA’s mission is to represent and promote trail and mountain running. ATRA’s many programs include a comprehensive online calendar of trail and mountain running events, a quarterly newsletter – Trail Times, and monthly e-blasts with current information about the sport. ATRA will again partner with Active at Altitude for the fourth annual US Trail Running Conference scheduled for September 28-October 1, in Estes Park, CO. Additionally, ATRA is the fund raising arm for the U.S. Mountain Running Team.