Trail Town USA

In 1996 the Crescent Trail Association nominated the Town of Perinton for recognition as a “Trail Town USA.”  Association volunteers prepared a 3,000 word essay describing the Town’s three interconnecting recreationways – the Erie Canal Heritage Trail, the Perinton Hikeway-Bikeway (RS&E Trolley Trail), and the Crescent Trail network of  footpaths – their history, and how they benefit the community.  The nomination documents submitted to the American Hiking Society panel of judges included several volumes of maps, photographs, letters of support, newspaper clippings, brochures, and newsletters.

“We asked for nominations from places that went beyond using trails purely for recreational purposes,” explained American Hiking President David Lillard. “Recreation is one important aspect of a healthy trail system, but we were also looking for areas where trails promote non-motorized transportation, bringing added economic benefits to the area, and connect to other trail systems, adding to the ongoing effort to create a nationwide system of trails and greenways.”  

The American Hiking Society introduced Trail Town USA to acknowledge places working toward the goals of Trails for All Americans, a plan to bring trails to within 15 minutes of every American’s home or workplace. “We were overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of the nominations received,” said Lillard, commending all entrants for their efforts. “It was exciting to see all the innovative plans going on out there on behalf of trails. Narrowing the list down to 10 was a lot tougher than we thought it would be.”  

The nominations were graded in a series of categories by a panel of judges that included: Leslie Heffner of the US Bureau of Land Management; Steve Loucks, director of public relations for the American Society of Travel Agents; Tom Ross of the National Park Service; Gene Sloan, travel editor for USA Today; and Karen Walters, manager of marketing services for the US Chamber of Commerce. “Our judging panel was representative of the diverse benefits trails provide, such as travel, business and recreation,” said Lillard, who also had a hand in selecting Trail Town USA’s charter members. “Each of our judges brought a unique interpretation of the importance of trails to their surrounding community.”

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