By Brian Greene, Director of Trails & Conservation
When I started working at the D&L, I knew that I would get lots of questions about the D&L Trail. Where should I ride? How far is it from this town to that town? When is the bridge in Jim Thorpe going to open? What I didn’t think I would get were questions like these:
- Where is a good place to eat when I’m in [insert name of one of our many trail towns]?
- Where can I get a bike?
- Where can I stay overnight for multi-day rides?
Fortunately, I’m an avid trail user so I had many of the answers. But, I was surprised that people were calling me and asking for that level of detail. Looking back, though, it makes sense. Our non-profit is the expert on the D&L Trail. Who wouldn’t want insider advice for recommendations on their next trip or vacation? While, I was happy to give my insider travel tips, I thought there could be a better way of meeting this need.
That led to the creation of our D&L Trail Friendly Business program. It was a uniform way for trail friendly businesses in the five counties of the heritage area to participate. We set out ten qualifications for businesses (filling up water bottles, hosting trail events, offering specials for trail users, etc.) and if they accomplished at least 6 of the 10 they would be deemed a D&L Trail Friendly Business. 2018 was our first year and we had 13 businesses that qualified.
In 2019, we had 17 new businesses qualify. Some of these businesses, however, I had never heard of before! So here I was, the insider, learning about new hidden gems in the community. While they vary in size and business type, they all have some things in common. They value trail users, go out of their way to meet their needs, and these businesses also play an important economic role in their local communities.
“Small towns like White Haven can be part of this healthy phase of tourism and embrace the positive outcome of the trails and their activities” said Terry Kimmey, owner of The Victorian Connection in White Haven.
“We wanted to let folks know that we are a trail friendly business because we have a good number of guests that are interested in the trail. We feel that the trail is also an economic driver in the area,” said Lisa Menz, owner at Fox and Hound Bed & Breakfast in New Hope.
”I think adding the Trail Friendly Business title helped to cement our relationship and commitment to the trail and getting more riders on the trail,” said Erin Fagan, Genesis Bicycles in Easton.
This program has been a win for the D&L and local businesses. The D&L proudly helps to connect customers to these great businesses and the businesses help connect customers to the trail. So the next time you have a trail related need, we suggest that you visit one of these great D&L Trail Friendly Businesses!