ESLC Podcast Features Rail-Trail Champion David Brickley
“The first thing we’ve got to do is have a plan . . . then we’ve got to have a hero.”
Eastern Shore Regional Trail Vision Workshop
In April 2022, ESLC gathered representatives from counties and towns across the Eastern Shore to participate in the Regional Trail Vision Workshop at Chesapeake College. To set the tone, ESLC and the workshop advisory group recruited trail champion and former Virginia state delegate David Brickley to give the keynote address.
Brickley inspired the audience with stories about influential trails around the world, from Machu Picchu to England’s Coast-to-Coast Footpath. He also shared some of his own trail-blazing experiences and his hopes for the future of trail systems in Maryland and Virginia, stories that we are now grateful to share in the first episode of ESLC’s five-part Shore Trails podcast.
Focusing on both the benefits of current trails and the best practices for creating new ones, the podcast’s upcoming episodes will feature voices like Sarah Clark Stuart (the Executive Director of Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia) and Clint Sterling (Somerset County’s Director of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism). This first episode includes David Brickley’s engaging keynote address from the Regional Trail Vision Workshop, as well as a quick word from ESLC’s Director of Land Use and Policy, Owen Bailey.
An ideal speaker on all-things-trails, David Brickley has advocated for trail networks in many ways: through policy change, through community organizations, and through his own personal initiatives. In the introduction of this first episode, listeners are encouraged to practice a little introspection and ask themselves: “What would a trail network mean for you?” For David Brickley, a trail network is both an inspiration, a job, and a passion. In addition to serving as the director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (during which time the state of Virginia was given the national gold medal award for “Best Managed State Park System in America”), Brickley has also served as the trustee and chair for the Virginia State Committee for the East Coast Greenway Alliance. In 2011, Rails-To-Trails Conservancy added Brickley to their list of the Top 25 Rail-Trail Champions.
In 2012, Brickley made an even greater commitment to supporting trail networks when he purchased a 16-mile-long abandoned railroad corridor in order to save it from development. With support from a dedicated core of volunteers, he helped transform the corridor into the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail in King George County, Virginia—now part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
Brickley shares many of these trail stories in our podcast, including his time spent as the founder, and now president emeritus, of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance. The alliance’s 1,300-mile-long September 11th National Memorial Trail, developed with strong citizen and governmental support, now connects the three 9/11 sites in New York City, the Pentagon, and Stoyston, Pennsylvania.
Optimistic about the Eastern Shore’s trail network, Brickley emphasized the importance of partnership and foresight. “It can happen,” he said, “if you all work together and have that vision.”
You can listen to David Brickley’s full keynote in the first episode of ESLC’s Shore Trails podcast from WCTR: https://www.wctr.com/index.php/eastern-shore-land-conservancy-podcast