Travel + Leisure magazine published the article, The New American Small Towns, in The Big Idea section of their May 2017 issue. Small towns across America were highlighted for their unique natural resources, recreational opportunities, regional interests, and new commercial and hospitality ventures that are attracting outsiders, especially those from urban areas. These towns included: Thomas, West Virginia (population 600); Salida, Colorado (population 5,300); Lostine (population 300) and Joseph, Oregon; and Tubac, Arizona (population 1,200).
The article suggests how tourism can help revitalize rural communities, especially those whose populations are decreasing as young people move to cities where good jobs and opportunities are more plentiful. These towns are also proving to be a bridge to close the urban and rural divides in the United States. Every community and/or its region have unique attributes, be it a river, great hiking trails, distinctive retail outlets, local artists and artisans creating one-of-a-kind products or entertainment, lodging offered with a more personal touch, and much more.
My hometown newspaper, the Perry County News, published a story on December 26 about Cannelton, Indiana, resident Vince Gagliardi who is an avid hiker and organizer of guided hikes through the Hoosier National Forest. I discovered in the article, per Gagliardi, that the area in which I grew up has “…more miles of trails than any other county in the state.” That is a fact that Cannelton, Tell City (my hometown situated four miles from Cannelton), Perry County, and the state of Indiana should promote to lure visitors to the area and along with them, their spending dollars to help boost the local economies.
I reached out to Mr. Gagliardi with a few questions. He was gracious enough to respond and allow me to share his answers.