It’s no secret that Michigan is a great trail state, hosting more than 2,400 miles of rail-trails, and exciting developing trail network projects like the Great Lake-to-Lake Trails, which is building momentum.
The P2P: It’s a small acronym that holds a world of promise. Extending from Parkersburg to Pittsburgh (P2P), the developing 238.5-mile route connecting northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania by trail would be a game changer for the dozens of small, rural Appalachian towns that have seen the Cinderella story of the highly successful Great Allegheny Passage so close at hand.
A motorized wheelchair powered by sip-and-puff inputs coupled with the ever-improving voice recognition capabilities of a smartphone offered Mackay a degree of independence, and allowed him to get outside without a caregiver at his side at all times. The Olympic Discovery Trail, a rail-trail that runs near his home, called to him. “That trail is where I found my solace,” Mackay said. “I was a field biologist before. I spent a ton of time outside.” Now, he said, “I could start exploring the Pacific Northwest on my own and appreciate those loves I had before I was injured.”
Thank you for welcoming me into your community. I’m delighted to join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) as its third president and to partner with you in advancing our vital mission. While this joyous work is filled with personal rewards, I joined RTC because I know how well trails can connect each of us to the things we value most: our families, our friends and neighbors, our communities and our cultural heritage.
When complete, the Great American Rail-Trail will span more than 3,700 miles across 12 states and the District of Columbia—connecting Washington, D.C., and Washington
State, and highlighting some of America’s most pristine geography, iconic landmarks and renowned cultural treasures in hundreds of communities along the route.
Unique in makeup and geography, each trail that’s hosting the 3,700-miles-plus preferred route of the Great American Rail-Trail has many stories to tell—some as old as, or far older than, our country itself. Both well known and lesser known, the histories found along the route demonstrate why the “Great American” is a true national treasure.
By the early 20th century, Butte, Montana, was already being called the richest hill on Earth, an acknowledgement of the nearly inconceivable amounts of ore being mined there. In 1910 alone, 284 million pounds of copper ore were extracted from the Butte area. “Butte electrified America,” said Dori Skrukrud, the community development coordinator for the City-County of Butte-Silver Bow. “Butte provided the metals to win world wars. But it paid a significant price.”
Imagine what’s possible with a trail that connects the country.
Imagine ... pedaling across the entire country on a safe, seamless and scenic pathway—or walking a local trail that connects along historic routes. That vision will become a reality thanks to the Great American Rail-Trail, a signature project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) and the organization’s most ambitious TrailNation™ project yet.
Since 2015, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has been connecting hundreds of walkers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to healthier lifestyles through Prescribe-a-Trail (PAT), a program in which Philadelphia-area hospitals and health-care organizations lead outings on local trails along the Circuit Trails network (an RTC TrailNation™ project) to promote exercise, good nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
Decades ago, a disused railroad line found new life, becoming the Cardinal Greenway, Indiana’s longest rail-trail. But with some ambitious new projects planned, the newest member of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame—which is also celebrating its 25th anniversary as a trail in 2018—is about to experience yet another rebirth.
What’s better than a farmers’ market or community garden for providing locally grown food and encouraging good eating? Why, a market or garden next to a trail, of course! Here are three that are leading the charge for food equity, healthy lifestyles and social interaction in America’s underserved communities.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in early January 2017 his $200 million plan to lay down 350 miles of new trails in three years to bridge the gaps in two major existing routes—the east-west Erie Canalway Trail and the north-south Hudson River Valley Greenway—and knit them together into the greater Empire State Trail (EST). Shaped like a giant sideways T intersecting near Albany, the EST will connect three corners of the state: Manhattan, Buffalo and the Canadian border near Lake Champlain.