VIRGINIA TRAILS ALLIANCE: RECOMMENDATIONS TO GOVERNOR NORTHAM
The Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition is a member of the Virginia Trails Alliance, an organization working to promote every type of trail in the state of Virginia. Recently, the Virginia Trails Alliance submitted a letter to Governor Northam asking for specific initiatives to improve and expand trails in the Commonwealth
July 27, 2020
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218
Dear Governor Northam,
Thank you for all you have done to support trails and green spaces in Virginia specifically most recently the creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation and funding a study for the Ashland to Petersburg Trail. We are grateful for your current and future commitment to trails and green spaces in Virginia.
From the famous Appalachian Trail to the Beaches to Bluegrass Trail, land and water trails connect communities and are vital to Virginia’s outdoor recreation economy and public health, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Virginia Trails Alliance is a coalition of trail organizations and businesses that creates an annual common agenda with the intention of improving and supporting trail development across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Trails across our Commonwealth have seen a significant increase in use due to COVID-19. Charlottesville’s trails have seen a 300% increase in use and the Virginia Capital Trail saw a 77% increase in use during the month of May compared to the same month a year ago. With increased trail usage, the Virginia Trails Alliance encourages you and your administration to consider the following recommendations:
- Funding for New Trails and Maintenance: Create a new, recurring funding source of $25 million to fund needed maintenance of existing trails and building new and developing trail systems like the Appomattox River Trail, the Roanoke River Greenway, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and the James River Heritage Trail.
- A Statewide Trails Study: Fund and implement a statewide trail study to help identify communities lacking adequate access to trails and green spaces and show the value of trails on the economy, public health, workforce productivity, and community development in Virginia.
- A Governor’s Conference on Greenways, Blueways, and Trails: Host a state trails conference that collaborates with industry leaders on the best practices of trail development and green spaces. The last Governor’s Trails Conference was held in 2008.
- A Virginia Trails Signage System: Create a common signage system that would raise the visibility and profile of Virginia’s trails, improve wayfinding, and create a more connected network of trails. This program could be implemented through the Virginia Department of Transportation and/or the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
- Designation of Greenways and Trails Program: Create a program, similar to the Scenic Rivers program, to identify, designate, and protect Virginia’s trails and greenways. A designation program for trails and greenways will give recognition and public awareness to different trails and create an interconnected network throughout Virginia.
We are committed to working alongside you and your administration to advance our agenda and welcome an opportunity to meet with you and your Secretary of Natural Resources, Matt Strickler, in the near future. Should you wish to schedule a meeting with the Virginia Trails Alliance, please contact our President, Cat Anthony, at <804-840-6610> or [email protected]
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