Trails touch almost all aspects of a community's health and wellness. Trails can improve the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of local residents and can also improve the economic opportunities for small towns in rural Appalachia. There are many small towns scattered throughout the Grandfather District. Old Fort, Marion, Little Switzerland, Linville Falls, Jonas Ridge, Newland, Banner Elk, Mortimer, Morganton, and Lenoir are all surrounded by USFS lands. These public lands make up a large portion of  the counties where these towns are located and they can be tremendous assets to  increase the quality of life for local residents. Outdoor recreation and trail infrastructure are sustainable economic development tools that can create durable small business ecosystems and healthy rural communities.