Attracting businesses: Survey, marketing toolkit for trail communities

By Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Adapted from CDTC e-news and business toolkit

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) recently published a marketing toolkit for local businesses. The business toolkit is available to any business along the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), including its 11 Gateway Communities. In a 2017 survey of local business owners in towns along the CDT, the CDTC found that trail users spending money contributes substantially to local business, with 16 percent reporting “significant impact” and 72.5 percent reporting “some impact.” And use of the trail is growing rapidly.

By raising awareness of the trail, businesses can help support its local economy in years to come. The toolkit is designed to enable businesses to effectively promote the CDT and increase user traffic in their community.

The toolkit contains the following items: brochure with full map and information for trail users; stickers to distribute to customers and window decal to display at business; strategies for incorporating the CDT into business; CDT facts and talking points for easy reference; CDTC contact sheet; and CDT calendar. The toolkit also identifies the different types of CDT users, including thru-hikers, section hikers, day hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers.

One strategy for incorporating the CDT into local businesses is by using social media to promote the trail and the business. Facebook is the main line of communication for CDT hikers, so CDTC encourages businesses to join trail groups, make posts advertising their business to those hiking the trail, feature pictures from employees’ and customers’ adventures on the trail, and use specific hashtags.

Local businesses could offer discounts or partner with other businesses to create a package for CDT hikers since they are typically on a budget. Businesses can also purchase a CDTC business membership, which includes an ad in the quarterly newsletter and a variety of stickers, brochures, wall map, and CDT planning guide. Displaying the wall map will help identify hiker-friendly businesses and pique other customers’ curiosity about the trail. Businesses can also order other CDT merchandise to sell, such as hats, pins, and postcards.

The Continental Divide Trail Gateway Community Program was launched in 2013, and it seeks to help communities benefit from their proximity to the CDT. It recognizes communities for their part in promoting awareness of the CDT and creating a welcoming environment for hikers.

Read the CDT survey and toolkit:

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CDT Gateway Communities






Learn more:

“Travels with Darley”

Episode Screenshot: “Travels with Darley”

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and some of its Gateway Communities in New Mexico are featured in Season Five of “Travels with Darley,” which airs on PBS. Discover unique places to unplug, refuel, and learn about history, culture, and ecology in natural places and their trailside communities.

Links to watch the show:

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in Pathways Across America is public domain. All views expressed herein are perspectives of individuals working on behalf of the National Trails System and do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of the Federal agencies.