Trail Towns Are Making an Economic & Social Impact

Writer Kacey Royer
Photographer Lumi Marketing & Creative

Outdoor activities have become more popular than ever, especially hiking trails. People make day trips to experience the fresh air and fun adventures, which also makes trails a great economic opportunity for towns.

The York County Economic Alliance has launched the “Trail Towns Program” to make the local trails even more userfriendly and exciting than before. Check out what’s going on with the program this year and what participants can expect.


The trail featured in the Trail Towns Program is the Heritage Rail Trail, which is the 27-mile path that travels through multiple cities alongside the railroad track. It’s open to the public and offers plenty of fun activities like bike riding, horseback riding and jogging.

When you find your way over to the site, keep in mind that the railroad is still active and hikers should only cross at established crossings.

Bike Riding in York, PA


As the pilot program draws in more hikers and visitors, the goal is to generate a positive local economic impact for York, Glen Rock, Seven Valleys, New Freedom and Railroad.

Trail towns business owner, Amanda Poulin, is the current owner of the Jackson House Bed & Breakfast which is located halfway between the Maryland Torrey C. Brown trail and the Pennsylvania Heritage Rail Trail, making it a great starting point for bicycle trips in both directions. The Jackson House was built in 1859 as a thirteen room hotel. Poulin said, “It was considered one of the best hotels along the Northern Central Railway line as it was equipped with steam heat and a system of baths featuring running water.”

Amanda and Damon Poulin, her husband, are the fourth owners, taking ownership in July of 2019. She said they have always wanted to own a bed and breakfast.

“Damon is responsible for the fabulous breakfasts we provide (think crab cake egg benedict and cinnamon roll sticky buns!”

The Jackson House Bed and Breakfast is now fully equipped with AC and heat, WiFi, cable TV, private baths, gas fireplaces and there is even a hot tub!

Enjoy the Benefits

Increased attention to the Heritage Rail Trail will result in multiple benefits for hikers and business owners. Along with more economic and virtual opportunities, people can expect things such as:

  • Boost your mood. “Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society.
  • An improved local environment (preserving historical locations and districts, such as those along the trail, eliminate traffic and atmospheric pollution due to continual construction).
  • More outdoor educational opportunities, like bird watching and plant identification.

Check for Updates

People can check the main website for updates regarding when the trail opens to the public every week and when the county schedules new workshops. As the program continues, there will be new chances to try activities and learn from the experts while these cities learn new ways to thrive along the Heritage Rail Trail.

YoCo Connect Perspectives

How do you feel supported by the York community this year?
“The Trail Town Initiative has been a huge help to us this year and we are excited to see what direction it takes for the future. Senator Phillips-Hill has been a staunch advocate of small businesses and her help in obtaining small business grants has been incredible. It has been wonderful to see how small businesses have pulled together to support each other and have helped to promote other businesses in the area”.
– Amanda Poulin, Owner, Jackson House BnB

York County Trail Towns
  • 717.771.4581
York County Trail Towns
  • 717.771.4581