It's been a wild 18 months, weather-wise, on America's
rail-trails. From snowstorms in Vermont to flooding in Iowa (right) and
tornados in Alabama, severe weather events across the country wrought
havoc on trails, bridges, woodlands and watersheds, and stretched to the
limit the resources and resilience of the people who manage and maintain them.
And, my, how they
responded. Here at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) we have been hearing of whole
communities rallying behind fundraising campaigns, emergency work crews and volunteer
round-ups. Not only do residents and businesspeople feel personally connected
to these local assets, they also understand their importance. With the
rail-trail out of action visitor numbers dried up, community celebrations were
cancelled, and all of a sudden that favorite place for a jog or morning walk wasn't
So it was great to see Friends of the Little Miami State
Park (FLMSP) in Ohio recognized for its rapid response after severe weather closed
the Little Miami Scenic Trail (below) in June. Ohio State Parks this month honored the
non-profit organization with a certificate heralding the trail groups' "outstanding
assistance" after the derecho storm of June 29 brought down trees across much
of this RTC Hall of Fame rail-trail.
According to an article at cincinatti.com,
the wide range of groups which had "adopted" a section of the trail were
summoned first thing the following morning and labored as a coordinated team
throughout the weekend. In spite of the extensive deadfall throughout the
trail, segment adopters had cleared 20 of 24 segments by the end of Saturday.
Ohio State Parks then moved in after the weekend to pulverize and remove the remaining
The certificate cites the "outstanding assistance to Ohio
State Parks staff in clearing the trail," and emphasizes the
"true partnership between the friends' group and Ohio State Parks for the
benefit of trail users."
Ohio State Parks Community Partnerships Manager Jim Henahan said
the effort of FLMSP is an example of how Ohio State Parks has come to rely on
the efforts of 57 friends groups in Ohio. About 7,000 volunteers across the
state gave 400,000 hours of service to the Ohio parks in 2011.
To find the "friends of" your local rail-trail, contact the
RTC office in your region:
Florida and the Southeast: firstname.lastname@example.org
The West: email@example.com
Everywhere else: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo of Iowa Heritage trail flood damage courtesy Dubuque County Conservation BoardPhoto of the Little Miami Scenic Trail by RTC
We hope that Hurricane Sandy didn't wreak too much havoc on your community during the last few days.
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