1. Set Goals.
Think about what do you want your
heritage trail to do. Encourage
preservation of local resources? Boost
the region’s economy? Cultivate
2. Identify compelling stories.
Think about the stories you’ll want to tell throughout the trail. They could be based on
certain places that reflect your region’s culture, people who have had an impact on
your town, or milestone events that have shaped your community’s history.
3. Determine themes.
Once you’ve decided what stories to tell, look for an overarching theme. Connecting
each place to the same theme will help your heritage trail progress smoothly from
beginning to end.
4. Map the stops.
Pick out the specific sites that will make up your heritage trail. As you do, consider if
they are already visitor friendly, easily accessible, and if there is lodging, dining,
shopping, or gas stations nearby.
5. Decide how to tell your stories.
Each stop will be different and will lend itself to storytelling in different ways. Decide
what materials you want to produce to engage visitors and connect them to the site.
6. Create a plan
Reach out to local organizations or other potential partners who may be interested in
collaborating. Together, decide who will be responsible for what in launching and
maintaining the trail.
7. Market the trail.
Advertise in local newspapers, connect over social media, reach out to partners and
local organizations, get in touch with tourism bureaus.
The Roots of American Music TrailTM
• Visitors will explore places throughout the Muscle Shoals region in Alabama,
where hundreds of rock ‘n roll, soul, pop, and R&B songs were recorded from
the 1960s to today.
• The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area is developing the trail with funding
from a National Scenic Byway grant and technical assistance from the National
• Stories will be told in a variety of ways, including a website, cell phone tour,
guided tours, and a collectors’ CD for sale.
• The trail will be marketed throughout the Muscle Shoals National Heritage
Area, local convention and visitors bureaus, and the Alabama Office of Tourism.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s
historic places. Preservation Tips & Tools helps others do the same
in their own communities.
For more information, visit blog.preservationnation.org.
Photos courtesy: In Awe of God’s
vastateparksstaff/Flickr; Lehigh Valley, PA,/Flickr;
Oregon Caves/Flickr; Montgomery County
Planning Commission/Flickr/CC BY SA-2.0;
vastateparksstaff, Flickr; City of St Pete/Flickr/CC
BY ND-2.0; Ed Webster/Flickr; Muscle Shoals
National Heritage Area.