Local Rails To Trails Project Would Serve As ‘Hub’ For All County Trails

The Exponent Telegram

By Darlene J. Taylor, STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG, Friday, June 6, 2003 -- 

Rails to Trails enthusiasts got a glimpse of Clarksburg’s proposal for a trailhead in the Glen Elk section of the city.

Larry Rine of MSES Consultants, gave the presentation to more than two dozen people attending a meeting Wednesday night at the 4-H Center.

Mike Book, director of the Harrison County Parks and Recreation Commission, said it was discussed how this hub would tie in to the trails in all directions of the county.

"It also identified the missing links, tying in routes that would use city streets for now," Book said. "Some would use current rail lines to make trails with rails in some areas."

Book said he was glad to see such a good turnout for the second meeting to address the Rails to Trails issue in the county.

"We will set priorities with a coordinator approach. We had representation from all areas of the county, including Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Salem, Lost Creek and Shinnston," Book said.

A committee was formed to come up with the priorities for the regional plan.

That committee includes Rine, John Cooper, Clarksburg Park Board; Kent Spellman, North Bend Trails Foundation; Don Burton, Bridgeport Parks and Recreation; Bill Foster of Clarksburg Bicycle Club; Terry Schulte, Harrison County Planning Commission; and Book.

Schulte said there are several priorities to be addressed.

"Short-term immediate problems of getting funding and getting trails in place, and in some parts, purchased, are important," Schulte said.

She said other issues include looking at amenities and activities to support trail use.

"The Trail program is part of a bigger picture that includes the heritage tourism program. Historic preservation is also part of that," Schulte said.

After this plan is in place, another roundtable discussion will be held with interested parties.

Patty Smith, concerned citizen of Lost Creek, said a plan for a trailhead has been in place for Lost Creek for some time.

"I think the regional committee may help make this happen. Rail Trail will benefit from more people being involved in the project," said Smith.

She noted that the Rail Trail from Lost Creek to the Veterans Memorial A Park is the straightest trail of any on the map with a real gradual grade.

Tom Hall, a landscape architect for Genesis Partners, Bridgeport, said he would like to see Harrison County connected to its neighbors through the rails to trails as outlined in the Harrison County Transportation Study.

"Some improvements have already been made to the Bridgeport trail system. We want to encourage the trail planning and development process," Hall said.