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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them.

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A Follow-Up on Regional Trails Network: Connecting Communities on the Eastern Shore 

There are many great trails on the Eastern Shore, but the shore isn’t just missing a few links in a wider trail network – the network itself is missing. 

On a Thursday in late April, ESLC hosted a group of municipal and county staff, elected officials, and trail advocates and experts to discuss the idea of forming a vision for a regional trail network on the Eastern Shore. This workshop showcased the many benefits that trails bring, how important they are to a healthy community, and how the demand for trails has increased since the beginning of the pandemic.  

The Trails Workshop speakers include: 

  • Jeffrey Ciabotti (Toole Design) 
  • Nate Evans (Maryland Department of Transportation) 
  • Dan Hudson (Maryland Department of Natural Resources 
  • Natalia Sanchez (National Parks Service’s Rivers Trails and Conservation) 
  • Patti Stevens (co-chair of Worcester County Bike and Pedestrian Coalition and Eastern Shore representative to the Maryland Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee) 
  • Cyndi Steiner (former executive of New Jersey Bike & Pedestrian Coalition) 
  • Clint Sterling (Somerset County’s Director of Recreation, Parks and Tourism)
  • Sarah Clark Stuart (Executive Director of Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia) 

Our keynote was given by former Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation David Brickley 

The focus of the workshop was the Vision for the regional trail network – the starting point of this potential network. We heard about neighboring regions creating their own visions, coalitions, and trails like the Capital Trails Coalition, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Great Allegany Passage, the Virginia Creeper, and larger trail networks like the East Coast Greenway, the American Discovery, and the September 11th National Memorial Trail. There needs to be an Eastern Shore trail network that could both connect the region and connect it to the wider trail network.  

Trails bring so many benefits to a community, including economic development and better public health.  

The economic benefits that trails add have been well documented in examples like Northwest Arkansas that received $137 million in benefits to their local economic in 2017, and the Grant Allegany Passage the brought in $121 million in benefits to the economies along the trail in 2019. Trails boost local tourism and proximity raises home values.  

The public health benefit of trails is critical. Trails are free to use and provide more equitable access to outdoor recreation and exercise. They can also connect people to parks and open spaces making them one of the most effective means of helping residents and visitors access the natural landscape. The ability to easily access trails help people achieve better physical and mental health.  

If you are interested in learning more about our efforts, please contact Owen Bailey (obailey@eslc.org) and please consider supporting the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy 

Owen Bailey
Director of Land Use and Policy 

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