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Location, Location, Location

Dear Friend of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy,

Location. Location. Location. It's the axiom of real estate agents around the globe. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) tends view a trail's location from the perspective of what the trail has done for a community—bringing in new business, protecting the environment, providing safe and accessible recreation venues. The list goes on.

But the more rail-trails I visit, and the more communities I speak with, the more I'm convinced that the value of a trail is measured not just by what that trail brings to a community. It's also about what a community brings to a trail. A community that develops, maintains and uses a trail gives that trail its personality, purpose and pride.

In this issue of Rails to Trails, we're exploring what a community can mean to a trail. In "The Other Southern California" (page 8), you'll learn how California's much stereotyped Los Angeles area influences its trails, making those pathways as unique as the communities they serve. "European Unifier" (page 14) explores the grand plans of a French mayor who wants to benefit communities throughout Europe by linking villages through trails. And in "Building a Legacy: Life after Reauthorization" (page 16), you can read about how communities around America will use the new surface transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, to shape their trails and greenways.

In a sense, every rail-trail is a reflection of the community it serves, because the community puts so much of itself into making and shaping the trail. Whether you participate in a trail clean-up day, organize a safety patrol or give an RTC gift membership to a friend, you're not just supporting your trails. You're supporting your community.

Keith Laughlin
President

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037
+1-202-331-9696