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Bob Thomas a Key Figure in Forging Pennsylvania's Trails

At 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 communities.

Posted Mon, Dec 19 2011 2:00 PM by Jake Lynch


Gail Lipstein wrote re: Bob Thomas a Key Figure in Forging Pennsylvania's Trails
on Thu, Jan 12 2012 5:28 PM

Congradulations, Bob!  A well deserved recognition for a tireless, long-time dedicated champion of trail building.

Charlie Karl wrote re: Bob Thomas a Key Figure in Forging Pennsylvania's Trails
on Thu, Jan 12 2012 6:09 PM

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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