XENIA — The City of Xenia is widely known as the Bicycle Capital of the Midwest.
Now it is hoping to become a destination for hikers and campers as well.
At last week’s city council meeting, the city and the Buckeye Trail Association entered into a memo of understanding designating Xenia a Buckeye and North Country Trail Town, joining Dayton and Milford as southwest Ohio cities with such designation. The Buckeye Trail is more than 1,400 miles long and winds around Ohio, reaching into every corner of the state. The National Country Trail is 4,600 miles long and stretches through seven states, including parts of the Buckeye Trail.
It runs north and south through Greene County and the heart of Xenia.
“It’s another chance for the City of Xenia to market ourselves to people that want to use the trail system, in this case for hiking,” said Xenia Development Director Steve Brodsky. “Bring outside people into town and utilize our services … and hopefully bring in some money.”
As a requirement of the designation, Xenia must have camping available to hikers. The Old Town Reserve at the city’s northernmost boundary is one site while another unorthodox location is at the fairgrounds.
“With making some pre-arrangements, it is possible to camp out (there),” Brodsky said. “Or if they’re really tired after a long day of hiking, they can stay at one of our wonderful bed and breakfasts or one of our hotels.”
The hiking trail enters Xenia on the Little Miami Scenic Trail and follows it most of the way through the town. While many refer to it as the bike trail, it’s more than that.
“They are multipurpose trails,” Brodsky said. “I’ve seen more than my share of folks riding horses on them. These are not just trails for cyclists. We want people to come out and use them. They are dedicated. It’s a safe way to enjoy (hiking and jogging).”
The agreement calls for the city to install a pair of signs with Buckeye Trail and North Country Trail Town logos on them. The city and the association will work to promote the trails in marketing materials and in the media.
“It’s a good partnership and a good way to continue to promote Xenia,” Brodsky said.