Since its inception, we’re excited to serve as a member of The Shenandoah Rail Trail Partnership. We’re committed to helping create a Shenandoah Rail Trail.
What is the Partnership?
It is an exploratory partnership of local towns, business groups, and nonprofit organizations advocating for the construction of a 48.5-mile trail from Broadway to Front Royal. The trail would follow the path of a now-defunct rail line, and it has already passed a feasibility study conducted by the state. “The Shenandoah Valley is a really amazing place … but one thing we’re really lacking is accessible opportunities for people to bike and walk and recreate away from cars in separate spaces,” says Kyle Lawrence, the Executive Director of the SVBC
“And so rail trails provide an amazing space … where people can be safe and comfortable and away from traffic.” This unique project has received very broad support from our community.
Why a Railroad Corridor Into a Trail?
Railways are particularly well suited to be turned into trails because they offer unique benefits. For starters, Lawrence says, “you’re never again going to be able to acquire that property, and you’re never going to have it graded so that it’s accessible.” The smooth grading is especially important, considering the hills in our area make more casual biking very difficult.
Another benefit for the Shenandoah Rail Trail is that it would run through nine different towns and localities as it winds its way down the valley to Front Royal. In many of these towns, the trail would run right through the heart of the business district, providing an economic boost and new opportunities to connect these communities. Lastly, the trail would have many scenic views and crossings of the North Fork Shenandoah River, making it “one of the most scenic in the state,” according to Lawrence.