Downtowns & Trails

  • Three people walking on a paved riverside path toward a white gazebo.

Revitalizing Downtowns - One Trail at a Time

New Hampshire's natural resources are its greatest asset. Our New Hampshire economy grows when our forests, trails, waters, are well taken care of, used by residents and visitors and linked to our downtowns.

Downtowns & Trails Program

Communities in New England often seek support for downtown economic development engagement and planning from Extension Educators. Communities are also beginning to question how their natural assets can be better integrated into improvements in quality of life and downtown vibrancy. Trail infrastructure can be an important natural asset. Between 2017-2018 we developed a knowledge sharing network in New England so that Extension organizations could better understand and leverage existing knowledge, resources, and programs to help communities connect downtown economic development and local trails. This network has resulted in a guide to be used throughout New England and beyond as well as the foundation of our Downtowns & Trails Program at the University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension.

Ashuelot Bridge in Keene New Hamsphire in autumn


Community and Economic Development staff presented the Hopkinton-Contoocook Downtowns and Trail program report and findings at a community showcase he... Learn More
Individuals from over twenty groups, organizations, and municipalities from the greater Franklin-Northfield-Tilton “Foothills” region of New Hampshire... Learn More
During the final weekend of September, just as the maple trees were starting to turn red up north, hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts gathered in Francon... Learn More



Many communities have trails in close proximity to their downtowns/village centers/business districts. We share the opportunities and challenges of wo... Learn More
Over a series of months, we worked with the Hopkinton, New Hampshire community on how to better connect its trails with its business center, the Villa... Learn More
A story map is a web map that combines mapping with text, photos, multimedia and functionality to generate a stand-alone resource. Story maps use geog... Learn More
The Nature Economy Collaborative, supported by UNH Collaborative Research Excellence, is pleased to share a brand-new information brief on the communi... Learn More
This report studies possible solutions to trail stewardship challenges in Coos County New Hampshire. Learn More
New Hampshire is fortunate to have many natural assets that support our quality of life and economic vibrancy. In a new info brief we share eight spec... Learn More
Nature and access to natural assets can be important components of a downtown economy. In this new brief from the Nature Economy Collaborative, we det... Learn More
Over the past two years, interrupted but not deterred by the ongoing pandemic, we worked adaptively and creatively with the Ossipee Economic Developme... Learn More
Over six months, from Sept. 2021-March 2022, we worked with the City of Keene on how to better connect two rail trails with their downtown businesses.... Learn More
We recently completed a pilot of our Downtowns & Trails program in Bristol, NH.  This final report summarizes the work we've done with the co... Learn More
In May 2018, the team traveled on a train-the-trainer trip to Kentucky’s Trail Towns program. During the trip, the group visited and assessed four dif... Learn More
Many communities in New Hampshire and beyond, have natural assets such as trails that can be leveraged for economic vibrancy. In this fact sheet, the ... Learn More