Straddled between two well-known tourist hubs in the Florida Panhandle is Blountstown, a small city in Calhoun County with only two traffic lights. Nonetheless, it is a growing destination. At the center of this movement is the Blountstown Greenway Bike Path, which was taken from an unlikely prospect to the "heartbeat of the community" by a surprising trail hero, a radio-station owner.
Since then, the only way to traverse the Keys, a chain of islands stretching southwest from the southern tip of mainland Florida, has been the reliable but perennially congested U.S. Highway 1—that is, until the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) began taking shape over the past decade. Approximately 76 miles of the in-progress passageway are complete. Already the most popular trail in the state, it will eventually extend 106 miles from Key Largo to Key West.
RTC caught up for a quick chat with the Michigan Director of Saginaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, John Schmude, for a couple of minutes this week to find out what's all the buzz about in his neck of the woods.
The release of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) annual report on traffic fatalities made the news last week for one significant reason: for the first time since 2005 the number of people killed on U.S. roads increased - up 3.3 percent from 2011.
The trails of Michigan are marked by their diversity. With more miles of rail-trails than any other state in the nation, Michigan boasts recreational options for everyone, from the snow travelers to the bird watchers, history buffs and long distance riders of horses and bikes.
Not only is Michigan leading the way in building world-class trail systems, but with nearly 100 local communities adopting Complete Streets policies that recognize the need to accommodate all modes of travel, Michigan is making real strides in becoming more friendly to people who travel by foot, bicycle, or wheelchair.
With the number of regular bikers on the rise, cities are starting to realize that people need safe places to ride. Bike lanes, trails and paths are being built by the mile. Forward-thinking cities know that making it easy for people to ride goes beyond the creation of healthy citizens; it provides a cost-effective way for people to get around.
It's rapidly garnering attention as one of Michigan's most exciting rail-trail projects - the 47-mile Iron Ore Heritage Trail deep into the Marquette Iron Range of the Upper Peninsula. As the trail continues to grow, RTC caught up with the driving force behind the trail's remarkable grassroots effort, Carol Fulsher, for her take on the significance of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail to Michigan's past, and its future.
This year on November 19 we commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's brief - just over 270 words - Gettysburg Address. It is thought by many to be the greatest speech ever delivered on American soil. You can retrace much of Lincoln's route to Gettysburg, and stand on the spot he occupied at Hanover Junction, using either of two rail-trails that mark the route of the former Northern Central Railway.