Rails To Trails makes progress, wants more

The Rails To Trails Conservancy (RTC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors, building healthier places for healthier people.

Back in July, Gadling reported there are 19,000 miles of rail trails reconnecting America, up from 100 miles when Rails-to-Trails was founded in 1986 but 9,000 miles of potential rail-trails are waiting to be built.

“Railroads had such a pivotal role in the development of the country, especially in the opening of the West. Many communities’ identity sprang up around the railroads, so [preserving rail trails] preserves an important piece of American history” said Laura Cohen, the Western regional director of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy at the time.

Earlier this week, the RTC went a step further, heading to congress as the U.S. Senate began work on the nation’s next multi-year surface transportation bill. The RTC wants a focus that provides balanced transportation choices for Americans. Critical to such balance is dedicated investment in active transportation to ensure that walking and bicycling, the most cost-effective, affordable and healthy types of transportation, can continue to grow in communities across the country.
“For a tiny sliver of transportation funds-less than 2 percent– these programs have provided affordable, healthy transportation options, generated jobs and economic development, and preserved historic and environmental assets that provide the quality of life that Americans want and deserve,” said Kevin Mills, vice president of program at RTC. “Transportation Enhancements are the unmitigated success story of federal transportation policy for the past 20 years,” added RTC President Keith Laughlin.

RTC has applauded a dedicated level of funding for walking and bicycling investment in the past and encourages Congress to move forward with a balanced re-authorization bill.

Rails-To-Trails invites us to get involved in a number of ways.

  • A donation will help build, protect and enhance the rail-trail movement.
  • Register to be a member and get periodic e-mail updates and alerts on important legislative issues and RTC-related news. This is an ideal opportunity to become directly involved in RTC’s mission of providing communities with the multi-faceted benefits rail-trails provide.
  • They also put out a monthly newsletter we can sign up for and offer cycling gear, athletic apparel, gifts and more on their website.

Rails-to-Trails knows the value of today’s networking too and invites us to follow them on Twitter (@railstotrails) and Facebook.

Flickr photo by cassicat4