Preparation of the next edition of the Southern Maryland Trails Guidebook will begin this spring. In addition to revising Trails sites in Calvert and St. Mary's counties, the new guide will feature sites in Charles, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties.
Current Trail sites include local art studios and galleries, agritourism destinations such as farms, gardens, museums related to natural resources or agriculture, natural or scenic sites such as parks, lodgings and bed and breakfasts, locally owned restaurants and historic sites. Plans for future Trails may also incorporate aural history of the region such as theatre groups and musical groups, and on-going activities such as camps.
Owners or managers of businesses that meet the above criteria are encouraged to participate. "Becoming a trail site could increase your visibility and expand your customer base," said Christine Bergmark, Executive Director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, the agency organizing the project.
The deadline for submitting applications is March 1. The guidebook will contain maps, directions and a description of each site, plus tips and insight into the area's culture and natural history. Sites will be grouped in one of several ways, such as physical proximity or theme, and then marketed together as a unique experience, encouraging visitors to come from farther distances and stay longer. "Your business can be exposed to a whole new target market through this new concept," said Bergmark.
A daylong workshop will be held for current Trails partners and prospective applicants on Monday, February 27 at the Southern Maryland Realtor's Center in Hughesville from 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The "Hot on the Trail" workshop will include marketing tips, question and answer sessions, panel discussions with Trails partners and presentations by state and local tourism experts. If you are interested in becoming a new participant on the Trails, this workshop is highly recommended.
To learn more about eligibility for Trails participation, visit the Southern Maryland Agricultural Commission's Trails web site at http://www.somdtrails.com/ or call 301-274-1922. For more information about the commission, visit http://www.somarylandsogood.com/.