As bikemates 20 years his junior bowed out with sore legs and stiff muscles, Gus Rivera was proudly the last man standing. A year and a half earlier, and 75 pounds heavier, Rivera, 57, didn't even own a bike.
This month, the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition celebrated the designation of the trail as a National Recreation Trail, recognition of the tremendous strides the group has taken in developing what is now one of the most used rail-trails in the state.
Hancock, MD is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts from all over the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. In particular, visitors come to the small town of 1,800 residents to journey along the 22.5-mile Western Maryland Rail Trail, which retraces a piece of the former Western Maryland Railway.
Perhaps it will come as no surprise that plans are in the works to add an additional 65 miles to the East Coast Greenway just this year alone. The proposed greenway itself is quite ambitious: a trail stretching nearly 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida.
One can imagine the collective Hoosier hooray when the final leg of the Cardinal Greenway was put in place last summer. The rail corridor for Indiana's longest and long-awaited rail-trail was purchased nearly 20 years ago and now offers 62 miles of smooth, inviting blacktop spanning five counties in east-central Indiana.
There's no way to put this nicely: the Southwest 13th Street bridge was just plain ugly. But construction is currently under way to transform the Gainesville, Fla., pedestrian overpass--which once featured cage-like siding and razor wire on top- into a magnificent gateway feature for the city.
The Federal Transportation Bill finally presented to Congress today takes a step back from key reforms of recent decades, says Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) Vice President of Policy and Trail Development Kevin Mills.
The first person I met in Williamsport, Md., was the town clerk, Donnie Stotelmyer. He was on the phone with the local fire chief, finding a way to hook us up with water for a giant shower truck and 250 hot and thirsty riders. A few moments earlier he had opened the restrooms in town hall for us to use, organized a discount rate at the swimming pool, and was generally bending over backwards to accommodate the droves of arriving riders on the 2012 Greenway Sojourn.
I had read plenty of data and economic reports about the financial impact of trails tourism. And I had seen the trailhead parking lots full of vehicles with bike racks and horse trailers, seen the trail wayfinding signs going up outside small town burrito places, cafes and grocery stores. But arriving yesterday afternoon in Brunswick, a small town along the C&O Canal towpath in Maryland, I saw and felt the phenomenon of trail tourism like never before.
Missoula, Mont., is blessed not only with an envious network of gorgeous trails, but with an "energetic community that just loves to volunteer," says Morgan Valliant, the city's conservation lands manager.