A Capital Trails Network Model for the Nation
Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in Washington, D.C. | Photo by Milo Bateman
The Capital Trails Coalition (CTC) seeks to create a world-class network of multiuse trails that are equitably distributed throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. The regional trails network will transform public life by providing healthy, low-stress access to open space and reliable transportation for people of all ages and abilities.
A well-connected regional trails network promises to help transform public life by linking diverse communities, promoting personal and environmental health and building sustainable local economies—providing opportunities for quality active-transportation opportunities that work for everyone across the region’s diverse cities, suburban corridors and rural communities.
There is no better place than D.C.—which gets the attention of millions of tourists each year, as well as national leaders—to create a model of success to be replicated in other communities.
IN THE NEWS
- Improvements coming to Maryland and DC multi-use trails | Greater Greater Washington (8/3/23)
- Regional Partnership Secures $25 Million Federal Grant for Massive Investment in Trail Network | RTC (6/28/23)
- Regional coalition wants to grow its trail network to nearly 900 miles | Washington Post (7/12/19)
Though the full trail-network route is still in development, the geographic footprint currently includes more than 800 miles of existing and planned trails and connections in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Urban corridors such as the 11-mile Capital Crescent Trail from Georgetown to Maryland and the 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail from Alexandria to Mount Vernon will work in tandem with urban-suburban-rural Northern Virginia connectors like the W&OD to create a world-class trail network in the country’s capital.
A Regional Impact
By building a world-class trails network in Washington, D.C., the CTC seeks to deliver smart transportation, strong economic growth, healthy people and social equity throughout the region, and to create a national model for other communities. Read more about how the project will make a lasting impact.
The CTC formed in November 2015 with a mission to move the 800-mile trail network vision forward to completion and held a public launch in October 2016 on the Mount Vernon Trail in Washington, D.C. The coalition also developed a steering committee and three working groups, and established governance structures and a regional brand identity.
The coalition has begun to define the trail system footprint and establish criteria for inclusion in the network. Over the next few years, the coalition will continue to identify trail funding sources, broaden its base of support and establish the project as a regional priority.
The trail network is a key strategy in an effort to create a healthier, more connected region. RTC developed an estimate of the cost to complete the Capital Trails Network, which is an important step in supporting the trail network’s development and providing safe access to reliable transportation and open space for the more than 6 million people in the region. The cost estimate will help to guide the investment of public and private resources in developing the trail network.
Check out this report to learn about the economic, health and environmental benefits that the 881-mile developing trail network will have in communities across the D.C. metro region.
A Broad Regional Partnership
Founding partners for the CTC include the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the National Park Service. The coalition also includes more than 40 public and private organizations and agencies—as well as citizen volunteers—and is supported by REI, who has committed $500,000 through their Rewilding Projects initiative.
Local, regional or state level (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) organizations—nonprofit, private sector or public sector—are encouraged to join the coalition’s efforts. For updates on the project or to learn how you can help make the project a reality, join the Capital Trails Coalition mailing list.