If you build it, they will come: lessons from developing walking trails in rural Missouri

Imogene Wiggs, Ross C Brownson, Elizabeth A Baker
Health Promotion Practice 2008, 9 (4): 387-94
Given the high rates of sedentary behaviors, attempts to increase physical activity have incorporated individual and, more recently, policy and environmental approaches for promotion of activity. This article presents a summary of the approaches being used by the Ozark Heart Health Coalitions in developing walking trails in rural Missouri. In summarizing these approaches the authors describe 10 lessons with the aim of articulating the process and, thereby, increasing interest and capacity in development of walking trails. Qualitative and quantitative data were used to show burden and priorities and build support with numerous stakeholders. Stakeholders were engaged to identify common objectives, obtain land and funding, and determine trail size, materials, and time needed for construction. Implementation activities focused on trail maintenance and addition of amenities (e.g., playgrounds, benches). In the area of evaluation, they collect data via interviews with walkers on trails and community telephone surveys.

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