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Clarion County Trails Association Officially Launches

Monday, February 25, 2013 @ 12:02 AM

Posted by Jake Bauer

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – After several months of planning and development, Clarion County Trails Association has officially launched.

Clarion County Trails Association (CCTA) was established for the purpose of developing, maintaining, and promoting public recreational trails in and around Clarion County, Pennsylvania.

The organization also assists established trail groups or government agencies with the maintenance, development, and promotion of their public recreational trails in and around Clarion County and works to make tourists and members of our communities aware of Clarion County’s recreational trails system.

We caught up with Clarion County Trails Association President Devin Callihan recently to discuss the organization’s official launch.

How did the idea for CCTA come about?
In Clarion County, we have multiple individual trail groups who are very good at building and maintaining their public recreational trails. With their limited monetary and volunteer assets, it is very hard for these groups to accomplish much in the way of promoting what they have created. The CCTA came about to hopefully grow to be a solution to this problem. The primary focus of this group is to promote the recreational assets of Clarion County to not only our residents, but to potential visitors to our area. Clarion County has a lot to offer visitors looking to get away for a weekend to hike, bike, canoe/kayak, geocache, etc. If people don’t know what exists, why would they come? Our group is composed of representatives of Clarion County’s various recreational assets, which helps us promote the area with the opinions and direction of those that have created helped bring those assets about. As our group grows, we intend to advocate for additional recreational opportunities in the County as they develop.

How many members does CCTA have?
Since we are so new and have only had an official membership for a short time, we currently only have several dozen members. We are just now starting to advertise our membership program, so I expect that number will rise throughout the next few months.

How is CCTA funded?
We received an initial grant through the Clarion County Tourism Grant Program. This grant enabled us to develop our website and a brochure to distribute at various locations to advertise Clarion County’s recreational opportunities. Beyond that, we are mostly going to be funded through donations, membership fees and fundraisers.

CCTA Board Members (left to right): Dick Garrard, Angela Burtner, Layne Giering, Devin Callihan, Twila Rifenberrick. Board Members Not Pictured: Mary Zeller, Mike Vereb.

What can the public do to help with funding? What are some other ways that the public can get involved?
Individuals interested in helping us financially can do so through purchasing a membership or making a donation. Our individual memberships are only $10 per year and a family membership is only $25 per year.

For local businesses, which would benefit most from increased tourism to our area, there is a very good deal available in the form of a business membership. This membership is $50 per year and includes a special section on the sponsors’ section of our new website. Each business featured in the sponsors’ section includes contact information and a link to the business’s website or Facebook page. Additionally, several times throughout the year, we will thank our sponsors individually on our Facebook page. These posts will include links to their website or Facebook page. It is a very reasonable rate for the exposure that a business gains.

Are you pleased with the progress that CCTA has made so far?
Yes, I am very pleased with the progress that we have made. We have some very energetic people on our board, and in under a year we have built a solid base for this organization. The first goals were to develop a membership structure, publish a website, and develop a brochure for distribution. We are just about completed with those initial goals and are ready to take on more projects in the coming year. It’s pretty exciting, actually, to see the passion that people have for our county and what we have to offer.

What can we expect in the future from CCTA?
Our website went active on February 13th, and we will continue to add content there to make it a one-stop source of information on recreational activities in Clarion County. We are working on an informational brochure and will have it printed and distributed in time for the Summer and Fall vacation seasons. We are looking at the possibility of hosting bike rides, hikes, canoeing/kayaking excursions, etc. to showcase some of what Clarion County has to offer. We are also exploring the placement of a network of informational kiosks and signage throughout the county to direct visitors to various recreational opportunities. There are many ideas that have been floated by members of our group, and it’s just a matter of looking at what we need to and can do first and what is within reach with our resources.

For the latest from Clarion County Trails Association, visit their website at http://www.clariontrails.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/clarioncountytrails.

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