In the fall of 2005, Local Motion (a Burlington, Vermont based non-profit organization promoting people-powered transportation and recreation for healthy and sustainable Vermont communities) began to shape their vision for an online trail information system. The purpose of this effort was to:
- help residents and visitors locate and access trails in the Greater Burlington area.
- help local communities develop digital data on their trails and bikeways, and
- stimulate the area’s economy through promotion of recreational tourism opportunities.
While a few national organizations at that time had started to delve into use specific online inter-active trail maps, there wasn’t a one stop online trail and bikeway resource for all use types (such as hikers, x-country skiers, mountain bikers, bicyclists, and snowmobilers alike). Local Motion’s vision was to start locally with Trail Finder, working with local Trail Managers and community volunteers, to develop a Greater Burlington trails resource, and with outreach and further support, continue to build a State-wide Trail Finder for all Vermont communities.
The original Trail Finder was launched in 2007 featuring a cutting edge digital map and searchable trail resource for Chittenden County. In 2008 efforts to expand into additional communities began. At approximately that time, the Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA – a non-profit organization advocating for the use, maintenance and development of trails in the Upper Valley region of NH and VT) was working on a digital trail map component as part of their new website design. Rather than duplicating efforts, UVTA and Local Motion began to explore partnering opportunities. Thanks to resources provided by the Vermont Recreation Trails Program, the opportunity to improve and further expand Trail Finder to more Vermont Counties became a reality. By 2010, Local Motion was leading partnered efforts with UVTA, Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission, and the Rutland Area Physical Activity Coalition, and further expansion to additional Counties was being planned. Collaborating with trail managers and the many trail organizations that oversee the care of trails, details on many more trail networks were loaded into this engaging and informative trails library.
Local Motion’s Trail Finder program efforts continued until 2013 when a new partnership between Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation Department and UVTA provided a great opportunity to centralize trail outreach through Trail Finder and bring new technologies into this great resource.
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