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A World War, a Baptist Church, and a Cycling Pastor: the Wonderful Story Behind a Virginia Rail-Trail

Often the greatest rail-trail stories are not those about the trail at all but its railroading past and the history of its transformation.

This one is a beauty: a railroad track through a small Baptist Church cemetery, a World War II gun supply route, and a cycling pastor. Add to that the involvement of one of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Rail-Trail Champions and you have a rail-trail story for the ages!

David Brickley, a former director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and a state delegate, was named by RTC in 2011 as one of the 25 men and women to have made an extraordinary contribution to the rail-trail movement during its first quarter century. Brickley's commitment to rail-trail development in the region was evident in his decision to personally purchase a 16-mile out-of-service railroad corridor in King George County, Va., to protect it from being lost to development.

This week, the effort to complete the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail took a huge step forward with a unique partnership between Friends of the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail and the Little Ark Baptist Church. This terrific story in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star captures the colorful and complicated history behind that effort.

Thanks to the agreement, for the first time ever the annual 50K race on the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail in August will be able to use the full length of the 15.7-mile trail. Until now, runners had to stop at Little Ark Baptist Church and turn around. More info about the race at www.friendsdrht.org

Congratulations David, and the hardworking trail advocates of King George County.



Posted Tue, Apr 30 2013 1:06 PM by Jake Lynch


Ann Stein wrote re: A World War, a Baptist Church, and a Cycling Pastor: the Wonderful Story Behind a Virginia Rail-Trail
on Wed, May 15 2013 5:16 PM

I sincerely hope Virginia will strongly consider making this trail a part of the state's system.  Rail-to-trail paths are a wonderful delight in today's modern lifestyle, bringing tourists from other states that would not visit Virginia otherwise.  

My husband and I ride a tandem bicycle.  We have gone to numerous rail-to-trails to ride and have spent money at the local hotels, restaurants, and shops.  We are part of the modern day boomer movement that is trying to stay active and enjoy life.  

This trail has a unique story to tell and sounds like it has some beautiful scenery.  Connected to the Virginia system of trails and offering a longer trail to ride, we would definitely be interested in visiting Virginia again as a result.  (We just visited Virginia to participate in a tandem bicycle ride, which included some of the state's trails.)

Thank you for your consideration,

Ann Stein

Bruce Chulka wrote re: A World War, a Baptist Church, and a Cycling Pastor: the Wonderful Story Behind a Virginia Rail-Trail
on Thu, May 16 2013 11:55 AM

As a pastor, a cyclist, and one that appreciates local history and historic churches, I really appreciated this story. Thanks for posting it.


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