- Last Updated on 07:42 AM 01/03/14
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
One day in the near future, trail enthusiasts may be able to bike, horseback ride, walk or run along a proposed, statewide shared-use trail that will connect the Cumberland Gap to the Chesapeake Bay through southern and southwestern Virginia.
Known as the Beaches to Bluegrass Trail, the concept is for a trail to traverse southern Virginia from its western borders in Appalachia to the Atlantic Coast utilizing existing trails.
Halifax County Department of Tourism is seeking a resolution of support from the Halifax County Board of Supervisors endorsing the trail that will cross through the industrial centers of Martinsville, Danville and South Boston and continue through productive agricultural regions along the abandoned railroads that make up the Tobacco Heritage Trail.
According to County Administrator Jim Halasz, the trail is envisioned as a braided trail system made up of paralleling trails sharing a common direction but managed by different local partners.
Some trails will be multi-use and non-motorized. Others may include carriage riders, while some will support paddling.
Some sections will require bicycle riding on paved roads, while in other cases, the trail may be too narrow and steep to allow bicycles, and only pedestrians will be allowed, Halasz explained.
As the trail evolves, the multi-use portions may be expanded and connected so that long-range trips are possible for both equestrians and bicyclists.
With partners like Roanoke River Rails to Trails and the Dan River Basin Association, this trail system is rapidly under development through Southern Virginia.
For the concept to become reality, trail groups from across the state, many already active in developing local trails, need to come together as a coordinating body.
Conceptually the trail will have five segments.
• The western segment will stretch from Cumberland Gap to the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
• The second from the eastern crest of the Blue Ridge to Danville.
• Next, the Danville Tobacco Heritage Trail portion would run from Danville east to I-95.
• The next segment could stretch from I-95 to Suffolk.
• From Suffolk east the Tidewater section would link the existing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure with the ocean and the Bay.
Within those five major segments, many shorter segments supported by local governments, trail clubs and other active advocates would accomplish the major work of designing, developing, operating and maintaining the trails that together would create the Beaches to Bluegrass Trail.
Should county supervisors approve the resolution supporting the Beaches to Bluegrass Trail, no funding would be required from the county, the county administrator pointed out.