Trails bring an immense amount of value to any community in the connections they create and the opportunities they foster. Many people have sought trails during the COVID-19 pandemic for exercise and outdoor reaction. As each county concludes and publishes their Land Preservation Parks and Restoration Plan (LPPRP), we must recognize the collective support for more trails, longer trails, and trails that connect to more places. With the release of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s map of off-road protected trails, we have to grapple with the fact that the Eastern Shore is trailing behind many of its neighbors in regards to trail planning and development. Now is the time for a broader discussion on an Eastern Shore Trail Network and a Coalition to get things moving.
In June 2023, the Eastern Shore Regional Trails Network was selected by National Park Service – Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (NPS-RTCA) as a 2023 “community assistance project.” The designation means that this recently-formed, Shore-wide consortium of partners, led by Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, will receive support for one year in the form of invaluable, one-on-one expertise and technical support from knowledgeable National Park Service staff, including expert Natalia Sanchez Hernandez. The Eastern Shore Regional Trails Network partnership is a newly-formed group of community organizations working to connect with stakeholders, initiate the first new trails across the region, and build a regional trails coalition to serve as an advocating body for trail resources. Currently, the Eastern Shore Regional Trails Network Steering Committee is working to accomplish an Eastern Shore Greenway Plan, expansion of connection with stakeholders, and the formation of a regional trail coalition.
Eastern Shore Trail Network Steering Committee Members
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