Posted by Jeff on Dec 16, 2020 @ 6:30 am in Conservation | 0 comments | Last change: December 15, 2020
The Great American Rail Trail is the most ambitious cycling initiative the country has ever seen. It’s an idea that has stretched for 50 years, stretching an extraordinary 3,700 miles from the country’s capital across 12 states to the Pacific Ocean west of Seattle.
The rail trail will connect more than 125 existing multi-purpose paths, greenways, trails and towpaths. An official route was announced to the public in May 2019 by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the Washington DC-based nonprofit that led the effort when the trail was more than halfway through.
“It took 30 years to determine the route,” said Brandi Horton, vice president of communications at RTC.
Most of the trail is built on or next to abandoned railroad lines (hence the name) with surfaces ranging from gravel to smooth asphalt. These railbanks – abandoned railroad corridors turned into hiking trails – make up more than 25,000 miles of multi-purpose paths that crisscross the U.S.
Once fully completed – estimated to be before 2040 – nearly one in six Americans will live within 50 miles of the route, providing an unparalleled experience of land that people cannot see from 36,000 feet or through a car window.
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