Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) 25th Anniversary celebration in October, we
honored a group of men and women--the inaugural Doppelt Family Rail-Trail
Champions--who have made a remarkable contribution to the rail-trail movement
during the past quarter century. We will be posting a blog story on each
of the honorees during the coming weeks. Today we pay tribute to Robert "Bob" Thomas, a key figure in the
development of Pennsylvania's groundbreaking trails network.
Bob Thomas is a widely recognized advocate for rail-trails
and livable communities in his home state of Pennsylvania.
He is a long-time member and former president of the Bicycle
Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, where he has contributed more than 35 years
of efforts to develop a seamless network of bicycle transportation in the
state's southeast. In this role, Thomas has devoted years of work to open
bridges and public transportation to people and bicycles.
He is also a long-time member and former chairman of the
board of the Schuylkill River Greenway Association, developer of major portions
of the Schuylkill River Trail in southeast Pennsylvania, one of America's most
popular urban rail-trails.
As an architect, Thomas has focused on bringing the
principles of conservation, preservation, greenways and active transportation
into his work since 1969. A founding partner of Campbell Thomas & Co
Architects, he has led the firm's work in the advocacy, planning, design and
construction of numerous rail-trails and greenways.
Thomas is also a member of the East Coast Greenway, for which he
serves on the Pennsylvania Steering Committee.
Thomas dedicated the Doppelt Family Rail-Trails Champion grant
named in his honor to the Valley-Forge to Heinz Refuge Trail (VF-HRT). The
VF-HRT is currently in the planning stages, with the potential to link a series
of isolated trails to two of the major regional trails in southeastern
Pennsylvania: the East Coast Greenway and the Schuylkill River Trail. When
complete, the trail will give access to people from three counties to downtown
Philadelphia and to each other, strengthening a series of disparate
Congradulations, Bob! A well deserved recognition for a tireless, long-time dedicated champion of trail building.
Nice recognition for Bob who has been the most visable figure supporting the development of trails in Philadelphia and SE Pennsylvania area. I've seen him presenting and clarifying potential plans for trails at meetings, walked trail areas with him and groups, and enjoyed seeing him getting around on his bike for his everyday visits. Here's hoping that we have more options for trails for safe transportation and healthy recreation for all ages of trail users in our communities. I hope someday a proposed trail here in Springfield township will offer some nice variety of rides through nice scenery and also a safer easier ride or walk to the schools and public library.
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