A plan is in place to create a 428-mile trail network that connects the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s rich natural, cultural and historical resources, creating a regional identity for outdoor tourism, promoting healthier lifestyles and generating a new sense of community pride for everyone who lives there. The Active Plan leverages the community’s commitment to local economic development in a county with one of the highest poverty rates in the country—and is designed to tap into the rapidly expanding market for “active tourism” to support job creation and small business activity and encourage tourist spending that injects money into local economies.
To realize this vision, we need to build the public and political will necessary to complete the trail network. A strong project brand and communications strategy is central to that effort. In Cameron County, the Active Plan team is gathering market research to inform this strategy, uncovering important insights into the emotional and experiential drivers that will guide our work. During this breakout session, participants will explore the role of brand in shaping a trail network vision and the power of perspective to define how we implement our strategies.
About the Presenters:
Brandi Horton serves as the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s vice president of communications. She has dedicated her career to communications for social change and is passionate about creating communities that promote health and well-being. She brings diverse, comprehensive public relations and integrated marketing experience to RTC’s portfolio of projects, with a skill set spanning earned, paid, owned and shared media strategies that advance nonprofit advocacy agendas.
Eva Garcia is a planner with the City of Brownsville. Her work is focused on building an active transportation network, implementing bike-ped programs and promoting healthier lifestyles for the community with various partners. A Brownsville native, she is passionate about seeing her region transform into an active tourism destination. Eva oversaw the development of the Active Plan and spearheaded the Brownsville Bike Barn, which has allowed over 400 residents to earn-a-bike through community service.