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  • Top Rails-To-Trails Projects in the United States

    Unique features of the fabric of many communities in the United States are old railroad depots and long abandoned train tracks. With age and no upkeep, many of these structures have gone into disrepair. Many communities, with the help from regional planners and private and not-for-profit companies, have begun to repurpose the depots to trail heads and the rail tracks to bikeways and trails.

    States have created Trails Councils with the express purpose of better utilizing existing rails to convert to trail projects. Community foundations have donated millions of dollars to see additional amenities added to these networks. And all this is done because there is a need and a desire for bikeways and trails that start locally, continue regionally, and connect people and places nationally.

    Rails to Trails projects help communities in three major ways: they redevelop blighted infrastructure, which brings investment and people to a community; secondly, they connect cities, people, and regions, allowing additional economic development opportunities to arise; and thirdly, they provide a means of exercise and recreation for a community.

    From the first project in 1965 to today, Rails to Trails projects have helped re-stitch our communities together - one mile at a time. A great resource for additional information about Rails to Trails is http://www.railstotrails.org/.

    Below is a sampling of some of the great trails that the United States has to offer in each region of the country. This is by no means a complete list (www.traillink.com has a great search function for LOTS of additional trails), but it is a list of some of the great trails:

    Northeast (ME, NH, VT, CT, NY, PA, RI, NJ, MA)

    East (DE, GA, KY, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV, District of Columbia)

    South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, OK, TN, TX)

    Upper Midwest (IL, IN, MI, MO, MN, OH, WI, IA)

    Middle (CO, KS, MT, NE, ND, NM, SD, WY)
    West (CA, NV, AZ, UT, OR, WA, ID)

    Other (HI, AK)

    Note: All photos from www.traillink.com