A World War, a Baptist Church, and a Cycling Pastor: the Wonderful Story Behind a Virginia Rail-Trail

Posted 04/30/13 by Kelly Pack in Building Trails, America's Trails

Often the greatest rail-trail stories are not those about the trail at all but its railroading past and the history of its transformation.

This one is a beauty: a railroad track through a small Baptist Church cemetery, a World War II gun supply route, and a cycling pastor. Add to that the involvement of one of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Rail-Trail Champions and you have a rail-trail story for the ages!

David Brickley, a former director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and a state delegate, was named by RTC in 2011 as one of the 25 men and women to have made an extraordinary contribution to the rail-trail movement during its first quarter century. Brickley's commitment to rail-trail development in the region was evident in his decision to personally purchase a 16-mile out-of-service railroad corridor in King George County, Va., to protect it from being lost to development.

This week, the effort to complete the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail took a huge step forward with a unique partnership between Friends of the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trailand the Little Ark Baptist Church.This terrific story in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star captures the colorful and complicated history behind that effort.

Thanks to the agreement, for the first time ever the annual 50K race on the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail in August will be able to use the full length of the 15.7-mile trail. Until now, runners had to stop at Little Ark Baptist Church and turn around. More info about the race atwww.friendsdrht.org

Congratulations David, and the hardworking trail advocates of King George County.

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