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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Holmes County Trail - Ride through Amish Country

About the trail - From the website

Welcome to the Holmes County Trail!  It is our desire that you have an enjoyable outing on your upcoming visit to the Holmes County Trail and that you find our web-site useful in planning your trip to our unique Trail.

      The dream o
f a multipurpose recreation trail through Holmes County was born shortly after the flood of 1969 ended the active use of the railroad in Holmes County.  Throughout the last half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century the railroad was an integral part of the life and business of our county.  The railroad connected Holmes County with major cities in Ohio.  People and goods regularly traveled the tracks on their way to destinations throughout the county.  During W.W. II the troop trains rolled through Holmes County on their way south.  With the advent of better highways and efficient truck transportation, use of the railroad declined.  Repairing the railroad grade after the flood was considered too great a cost - so the tracks were no longer used for train travel.

      A few far-sighted citizens saw the potential use of the railroad bed as a recreational trail.  However, raising the necessary funds for purchase of the railroad bed as a recreation trail became a major obstacle.  Over the next two decades, the county prospered and the population continued to grow.  The idea of a multipurpose, non-motorized trail also grew. 
     In 1996 Dr. Robert A. Hart of Millersburg, formed the Holmes County Rails-to-Trails Coalition, Inc. a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization to begin the acquisition and development of the former railroad into the nations first recreation and transportation trail to accomodate Amish buggies and other forms of non-motorized recreation and travel.  Through the efforts of the Holmes County Trail Coalition, the Holmes County Commissioners, and a group of concerned citizens, the old railroad corridor was purchased.  This purchase opened the door for development of the Holmes County Trail.

      Since the purchase of the former railroad in 1998, the Coalition  and Holmes County Park District have received significant Federal, State, Local and Private grant funding, along with local contributions and fundraising events, exceeding  well over $7 million dollars .  These funds have been used to purchase adjoining trail park land and to  bring the Trail to its current usable condition. 

      As additional funding becomes available in the future to complete the Holmes County Trail Project, the Trail will become one of the premier recreational trails in the state of Ohio.

      It is hard to believe that I will be entering my eleventh year as Executive Director of the Holmes County Trail Coalition, and my third year as Trail Coordinator, of the Holmes County Park District.  I have seen the Coalition evolve in many ways to  adapt to the many challenges we have faced during the development of the  Holmes  County Trail  Project. 

     As I reflect back on those years, I remember the many individuals,  organizations, businesses, and past Holmes County Trail Coalition Chairmen, Board Members, Amish Auction Committee Members, and Volunteers who donated their talents, money, and time to see the Holmes County Trail become what it is today. 
     Let those who championed the Holmes County Trail project be remembered for their courage, sacrifice, vision, generosity and impact on the lives of the generations that will follow us.  
                                                                            Joan Miller
                                                                            Executive Director, Holmes County Trail Coalition      


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