FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 25, 2007
GREAT ALLEGHENY PASSAGE TO RECEIVE 'HALL OF FAME' AWARD
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy announces first inductee to Rail-Trail Hall of Fame during Sojourn bike ride from D.C. to Pittsburgh.
WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 25, 2007 — Rails-to-Trails Conservancy will present its first Rail-Trail Hall of Fame award to the Great Allegheny Passage on Wednesday, June 27, at 6:30 p.m. in Cumberland, Md., on the pedestrian mall. The presentation coincides with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's annual Greenway Sojourn, an eight-day ride for 500 cyclists, with much of it on the Great Allegheny Passage this year. This recently completed section allows passage from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh—the full route of the Greenway Sojourn—by connecting six well-established pathways to form the 150-mile rail-trail.
"We are very proud to be named to the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame," says Linda McKenna Boxx, President of the Allegheny Trail Alliance, the coalition of seven organizations building the Great Allegheny Passage. "Our trail system has been in development for 30 years. It's been an enormous effort of thousands of volunteers. The national recognition of their efforts as well as the end product is a very fitting honor."
Beginning this year, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is nationally recognizing exemplary rail-trails around the country for induction into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy will select first-year inductees on merits such as scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, and geographic distribution.
"The Great Allegheny Passage is a perfect example of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's vision for communities across the country," said Rails-to-Trails Conservancy President Keith Laughlin. "We see an America where 90 percent of residents live within three miles of a trail system. The Great Allegheny Passage gets us one step closer to that vision. This passage is a true asset to the wonderful cities it connects and to the millions of East Coast residents and tourists who will now enjoy this marvelous corridor."
Inductees for 2007 will be announced this July, September, October, November and December. Promotion of the program will include award signage for the trail, a special feature on Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Web site, and a story in Rails to Trails magazine. The five-year program will run through December 2011 when the 25th—and final—Rail-Trail Hall of Fame inductee will be selected to coincide with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's 25th Anniversary.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members and supporters, advocates for healthier lifestyles 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. For more information visit www.railstotrails.org.