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West Newton-hosted Trail Town Summit slated for Nov. 12

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

Business owners, organizations and community leaders who are involved in traffic along the Great Allegheny Passage – the recreational trail connecting Pittsburgh with Cumberland, Md. – will have an opportunity to network and share information during the Fall 2013 Trail Town Summit in West Newton on Nov. 12.

With the Great Allegheny Passage completed from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md., and West Newton being about 35 trail miles from Pittsburgh, businesses are able to take advantage of trail planning and packaging of tours, said William Prince, manager of Trail Town Program, a project of the Greensburg-based Progress Fund.

“Fall is becoming a busy season. October is a busy month of the season because they (trail users) are looking at the foliage,” Prince said.

Bill Callihan, the Western Pennsylvania community preservation coordinator for the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, told West Newton Borough Council earlier this month that West Newton's location gives it a great opportunity to take advantage of the travelers along the trail. It is important to have the amenities available for those trail users – a reason for them to stop in the downtown area, Callihan said.

The Trail Town Summit will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 12 at Le Grande Banquet Facility in West Newton. The summit will provide entrepreneurs with information about partnering and packaging tourist destinations to appeal to trail users and marketing their services, Prince said.

Representatives from area businesses, including Bike-the-GAP.com, a Lawrenceville business that caters to packaging trips for trail users, and Seven Springs Mountain Resort, will discuss what trail users look for in planned and packaged trips, as well as how they can develop their own packages.

Fireman Creative, a Pittsburgh-based marketing agency using digital and traditional media, will show the options available in the marketing field, including website and ad design.

Sara Petyk, owner of Bike-the-Gap.com, said she customizes small group bike tours and collects a fee for the service, similar to a travel agency.

Petyk said she has seen an increase in her business, which is in its fourth year, particularly when the Great Allegheny Passage made its connection from McKeesport to Homestead.

The Trail Town Program, which sponsors the Trail Town Summit, was developed in conjunction with the Allegheny Trail Alliance, to realize the economic potential of the Great Allegheny Passage.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jnapsha@tribweb.com or 724-836-5252.

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