By Errol Castens
PONTOTOC – The Tanglefoot Trail name is being protected against encroachment.
The GM&O Rails-to-Trails Recreational District, which owns the 44.53-mile bike-and-pedestrian, Houston-to-New Albany path, last month took steps to become the legal owners of the name and related graphics. The name reflects the name of an early locomotive on the route and hints at the trail’s kudzu-laden landscape.
“We have filed the logo and name in terms of getting it trademarked,” Ronnie Bell, governmental functions director with Three Rivers Planning and Development District, told the board Friday. Three Rivers provides administrative support for the Trail.
“This was the only one filed, so you were first in line,” added Three Rivers Executive Director Randy Kelley.
The board discussed possible commercial use of the logo and how organizations holding events at the trail might be allowed to incorporate it into their promotional materials.
Board member Jon David Naugher cautioned about being too restrictive in the logo’s use.
“I think it’s all about publicity and people using the thing,” he said. “I’d like people to see (trail users’) T-shirts or medals and say, ‘Where is that? I want to go ride that.’”
Trail Manager Don Locke reported sponsorship agreements since the November meeting of $27,750, making a total of $56,000 in sponsorships since the trail’s opening in October. Sponsors include several individuals and families along with a variety of businesses.
Scores of sponsorships are still available, Locke said. Categories start with five-year sponsorships of mile markers at a cost of $1,000 up front or $250 per year. At increasing levels of support are sponsorships for rest and rain stops, rain stops, information and warm-up stations, bridges and pavilions.
Five-year gold- and platinum-level sponsorships include signage at designated trail locations, right to use the trail logo in marketing materials and exclusivity within their business categories.
The 10-year Title Sponsorship is $50,000 per year and includes trail naming rights, the sponsor’s name on the trail logo and its corporate identity on all trail advertising and marketing.
Board Chairman Ray Collins lauded Locke’s success at attracting sponsors.
“He came by my office yesterday morning to discuss prospects for sponsorships,” Collins told board members. “When I went to lunch, he was in the restaurant having lunch with most of them.”