If you're cycling along the Burke-Gilman Trail in Kenmore, Wash., next week and notice some new, bizarrely colored landscaping along the way, don't worry. It may not look natural, but it's all for nature.
For the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Rails to Trails magazine, we had asked our readers, "What is your favorite part about rail-trail history?" One of the most memorable responses came from Gloria Ballard of Nashville, Tenn., who wrote about making a surprising connection between family history and rail history while researching a rail-trail excursion in Missouri. We thought we'd share her story!
We like to call rail-trails the ultimate recycling project. They preserve thousands of miles of historical rail lines and uphold the railroad legacy of transporting millions of people and goods across the country. Countless hours were invested in the construction and maintenance of those original railbeds, and rail-trails keep the corridors intact and in the public domain for future generations to use and enjoy.
For her 70th birthday nearly four years ago, Dr. Katherine Jeter decided to mark the occasion with an extraordinary physical and philanthropic feat: cycle 70 miles in one day on the Little Miami Scenic Trail in Ohio, and raise $70,000 for charity. We ran a story on her challenge in Rails to Trails magazine, and Jeter ended up surpassing her fundraising goal. And even though she'd only picked up cycling in her late 60s, she'd found her pedaling stride.
Looking for a safe bet in Las Vegas? You won't find it at the gaming tables or the slot machines in casinos along the Strip. But if you head just 30 miles southeast of the city toward Hoover Dam, you'll find a sure winner in the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail (sometimes referred to as the Historic Railroad Hiking Trail).
This coming Saturday, February 25, the residents of Volusia County will celebrate a significant milestone in their remarkable trail-building schedule with the opening of the first segment of the much-heralded East Central Regional Rail Trail.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) new report on walking and biking in small town and rural America, Active Transportation Beyond Urban Centers, has really struck a chord with members across the country, and transformed the political debate about where the demand really is for walking and biking infrastructure.
The Arapahoe and the Cheyenne. Kit Carson and grizzly bears. Gold diggers and railroad builders. Coal miners and tie hacks. All of these characters have ventured into the Medicine Bow Mountains and left their imprint on the region, and the nation.
The Columbia Tap Rail-Trail not only serves as a safe transportation and recreation venue for residents of Houston's Third Ward, but it provides a vital link to other trails and on-street bike lanes in the city—and a magnet for cycling advocates.
When we use the phrase "destination trail," the Route of the Hiawatha in Idaho is exactly what we have in mind. The trail itself is the draw; people come from across the country, and sometimes the world, to ride this 15-mile rail-trail through the spectacular Bitterroot Mountains and wilderness area, including a 1.6-mile tunnel.
It took nearly a decade of work—battling property owners, developers and city officials; filing lawsuits; lobbying politicians; cultivating influential public figures; holding design competitions; and raising $150 million to bring the mile-long High Line to life and make it such a success. In recognition of this work, and the shining example it has become for the national rail-trail movement, the High Line was recently inducted into Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.