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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rails to Trails officials visit Parkersburg | News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG - Representatives of the national Rails to Trails Conservancy are looking at Parkersburg and Wood County as a possible destination for a future event aimed at expanding bicycle trails in the region.
Eric Oberg, manager of trail development for Rails to Trails' Midwest Regional Office, and Tom Sexton, director of the Northeast Regional Office, met Wednesday morning with Kim Coram, a Parkersburg City Council member and coordinator for the Wood County Alternative Transportation Council, and others interested in developing bicycle routes in the area at the Blennerhassett Hotel.
Oberg and Sexton were scouting possible future routes for the conservancy's annual Greenway Sojourn, a multi-day event that draws 300 bicyclists to ride trails and encourages their expansion.

Article Photos

Photo by Evan Bevins
From left, Kim Coram, Parkersburg City Council member and coordinator for the Wood County Alternative Transportation Council, and Tom Sexton, director of the Northeast Regional Office for the Rails to Trails Conservancy, listen as Eric Oberg, manager of trail development for the conservancy’s Midwest Regional Office, discusses efforts to strengthen networks of trails in the region Wednesday morning at the Blennerhassett Hotel.
This year's event is set to go from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia through Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Md., but Sexton said he could see Parkersburg being a part of future events.
"This is a good ending place; it's a good starting place," he said.
The Sojourn lasts from four to eight days and includes entertainment options and activities beyond biking, as well as overnight camping. The route isn't restricted to unbroken trails - and that's intentional.
"This event is a trail-building tour," Sexton said.
The goal is to show community leaders the potential impact biking trails can have by bringing people from more than 20 states into an area, rather than presenting statistics from economic impact studies. If there are places where better trail connectors are needed, that is often highlighted during the ride.

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