Map your community’s walking/running/hiking trails
Several West Virginia communities have created maps of the waking/running/hiking/biking/ cross-country skiing trails in their area. They hand maps out to local residents and put them in their tourism/economic development package to draw people looking for a relaxing outdoor experience.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department mapped all the hiking and biking trails in its six-county area. Huntington-area bike commuters have mapped the safest biking routes. See the Map Safe Biking Routes page. Dozens of West Virginians have put up good hiking and biking routes on the Web sites Map My Ride and Map My Run.
If you want to map your community …
- First, do a walkability or ridability survey. See the Try This walkability survey page.
- Consider doing a video walking tour to go with your map. Fairmont produced a spectacular example: http://www.audisseyguides.com/fairmont/walking_tour.html. Be sure to take a look!
- Here are examples from other communities:
- Bridgeport Walks, with walking tips: http://www.bridgeportwv.com/parksandrec/BridgeportWalks.pdf
Multiple detailed maps from the Monongahela River Trails Conservancy. http://www.montrails.org/maps.shtml
- Eastern Panhandle Recreational Trail, map created in cooperation with their Metropolitan Planning Organization (link below): http://www.arcgis.com/apps/OnePane/basicviewer/index.html?appid=ed7674430bbb40e6884a9f12622522f5
- Here’s a map of all WV rail trails: http://www.wvcommerce.org/travel/thingstodo/outdoorrecreation/railtrails.aspx
- Make your own map with Map my Walk or Map my Ride: On these sites, you can post good walking paths, trails and routes so others can see them. You can show how long the trail is, what the elevation is and see how long it took others to do that walk or run. Then you can post your own time. www.mapmywalk.com and www.mapmyride.com.
Examples of WV community members that mapped their walks:
- Map My Walk: A couple dozen West Virginia communities have already mapped walks: http://www.mapmywalk.com/us/wv/
- Map my Run: http://www.mapmyrun.com/us/wv/. Like Map my Walk, but for running. Many WV communities have mapped runs too. Check yours. If it’s not there, start it.
- Map My Ride: http://www.mapmyride.com/us/wv/. Same thing, for biking. Rail Trails in particular are popular with bicyclists. Example: Richwood bike trails: http://www.mapmyride.com/us/richwood-wv
- Want a more sophisticated map? Your regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (very few people ever heard of them) can help you map your trail system. In 2011, for instance, when the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department mapped trails in six counties, the MPO let them use its GPS unit, and their staff translated the GPS files. Anyone can get those trail maps at http://www.triplew.org/ Any urban area with a population of 50,000 or more must have an MPO, by federal law. Here is the list of regional West Virginia MPOs. Ask them if they will partner with you. http://www.transportation.wv.gov/highways/programplanning/planning/statewide/Pages/wvmpo.aspx
- See “Working with Metropolitan Planning Organizations: Lessons and Answers for Advocates.” This guidebook from Advocacy Advance shows how biking and walking advocates can work with MPOs to access federal funds for healthy community efforts. http://issuu.com/bikeleague/docs/aa_mpo_advocates_report_final/1?e=1335002/4415315 and see Eastern Panhandle example above.
- Here are good readymade walking/hiking map guides that can help you create a map for your area:
- Hiking Every Trail in West Virginia http://www.everytrail.com/best/hiking-west-virginia
- All Trails.com. This site has ratings and topo maps. http://alltrails.com/us/west-virginia
- TrailLink.com. Good maps, up-to-date listings, info on parking and trail access, and trail features, plus reviews and list of nearby trails. Under good conditions, you can download GPS trail information to a phone.
- Highlands Conservancy Map Archive: http://www.wvhighlands.org/Pages/Maps.html
- The American Trails Web site will help you inventory many kinds of trails: http://www.americantrails.org/resources/statetrails/WVstate.html
- Also see these Try This pages: safe biking maps, complete streets policy, build and connect trails, start a running/walking program, walkability/bikablity surveys