FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Karl Wirsing, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
GEORGIA AND ALABAMA TRAILS RECEIVE NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Names Georgia's Silver Comet Trail and Alabama's Chief Ladiga Trail to Hall of Fame
Washington, D.C.—Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has named Georgia's Silver Comet Trail and Alabama's Chief Ladiga Trail to the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The 11th inductee, the popular Georgia-Alabama trail corridor is featured on RTC's Web site, complete with photos and a ride-along description of its trailside attractions, history and important community connections.
With the September 2008 opening of State Line Gateway Park, the landmark that officially joins the two trails, the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga created more than a cross-state connection—they united countless trail users and rail-trail fans. The trails now form a contiguous 95-mile corridor of paved rail-trail from Smyrna, Ga., just outside of Atlanta, all the way to Anniston, Ala. Together, the pathways make one of the longest paved rail-trail corridors in the country.
"The Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails offer two unique experiences to users," says RTC President Keith Laughlin. "Joining the two only enhances the rail-trail experience. We are honored to welcome the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails into our Hall of Fame."
Georgia's 61.5-mile Silver Comet Trail was built on the Old Seaboard Coastline rail bed and is now a beautifully paved path that winds in and out of urban neighborhoods and southern country hillsides. Before the creation of the Silver Comet, Atlanta was lacking in green space and safe places for residents to walk and bicycle. Now, with the help of the Atlanta-based PATH Foundation, a nonprofit trails organization that managed planning and construction of the Silver Comet, the route is widely used by local commuters and visitors from all over the country.
"Being designated as a Hall of Fame trail will give the Silver Comet the recognition it deserves nationally," says Ed McBrayer, executive director and a PATH founder.
The 33-mile Chief Ladiga Trail got its start in 1990 with a boost of federal funding, and today the pathway seamlessly links four Alabama communities. There is plenty of pavement for all kinds of trail activity, and the surroundings—from grazing farmland to forested mountaintops—never disappoint.
"All of the communities connected to the Chief enthusiastically welcome visitors to experience what local folks use for fun, transportation and exercise everyday," says Pete Conroy, chair of the Chief Ladiga Rails to Trails Committee. "We are thrilled about the recognition."
RTC's Rail-Trail Hall of Fame was established in 2007 to honor outstanding rail-trails. There are currently 1,500 open rail-trails, and approximately 750 more in development. Hall of Fame inductees are selected based on merits such as scenic value, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, community connections and geographic distribution.
Past trails that have received the designation include the Monon Trail in Indiana, the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Virginia, the Minuteman Bikeway in Massachusetts, the Burke-Gilman Trail in Washington and the Katy Trail State Park in Missouri.
For a complete list of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame designations and stories, visit RTC's Web site at www.railstotrails.org
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.railstotrails.org.