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Outdoor website boosts local stores

Posted: May 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Runners Lane Manager Kyle Robinson, pictured here with store owners Flo Mina and Meliza Bautista, says sale of trail supplies and hydration equipment increased last month.

One month after the city of Santa Clarita launched its website mapping open spaces for outdoor enthusiasts to go hiking, local business owners report an increase in the number of people buying equipment for outdoor activities.

“We have seen an increase in the sale of trail apparel and hydration equipment since the launch of the website,” said Kyle Robinson, manager of Runners Lane. “It’s been a lot of fun helping to get people out there and enjoying the trails and nature.”

People are enjoying the site, Robinson said. Runners Lane is a specialty running-shoe store, offering a variety of equipment and apparel for sports fans of all ages.

The city launched with two primary goals, said Jessica Jackson, communications specialist. The city wants to provide residents with information, about the more than 6,000 acres of open space purchased through the Open Space Preservation District, and to get people outdoors enjoying the miles of open trails, Jackson said.

“I’ve heard customers comment that they are having fun checking out the new open space areas, which they knew about, but didn’t know how to access,” Robinson said.

The city teamed with community groups and business leaders when creating the website to make it a valuable resource. Runners Lane was one of several local businesses that helped raise awareness about the new website, and in turn, reported an increase in related sales.

“We have really enjoyed working with residents and local businesses to develop this site,” said Rick Gould, director of parks, recreation and community services. “It’s really a collaborative effort, and we are seeing increased activity on the trials, which is exciting.”

Work is ongoing to keep the website updated with new information and the city is planning several free workshops. Several trails and open space areas are expected to be updated in the coming months.

The first free workshop is 7 p.m. May 15 at the Santa Clarita Activities Center featuring National Park Service and wildlife ecologist Seth Riley, who, among other things, will share tips about how to stay safe while exploring open spaces.

People like the access to information in one convenient location, said Cindy Marnock, manager of Performance Cyclery. The shop has even noticed an increased interest in mountain biking since the launch of the hiking site, she said.

“The website has been a really good thing,” Marnock said. “The cycling community has really enjoyed the details about Elsmere Canyon and we have definitely seen an increase in interest from clients in mountain biking. We are on an upswing.”

It’s important to highlight the variety of outdoor spaces are available to people, she said.

The city is working on, its next website for outdoor enthusiasts, to provide information about all classes of trails available to the cycling community. That website is expected to launch later this year.

“The open spaces are designed for use by all in our community, so while the (first) website specifies hiking, these spaces were acquired and designed for a variety of uses,” Gould said.


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