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Home » TRAVEL AND LODGING in RI » RHODE ISLAND (all topics) » The East Coast Greenway Project
The East Coast Greenway     BY: Edu Tourist
The East Coast Greenway Project

By Peter F. Demers | April 04, 2011

The East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA) is an ambitious project designed to provide a motor free trail from Canada to Key West, Florida. The trail will be over 3,000 miles in length and link every major East Coast city.

The East Coast Greenway

The 2,100 mile long Appalachian Trail, is a footpath and hiking trail that includes some challenging terrain and stretches from Maine to Georgia.   The East Coast Greenway meanwhile will cover the entire East Coast, link 25 major cities, allow for the use of any non-motorized vehicle (including bicycles) and be designed to accommodate all abilities and ages.

The East Coast Greenway is designed to be owned and managed by local, county and state governments, unlike the Appalachian Trail which is part of the National Park Service and maintained by 31 private trail clubs and multiple partnerships.

The Greenway is designed to serve as a spine route, linking with other long distance trails, like the coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail, the Hudson River Greenway, and the C&O Canal National Park, helping to create an interlinked national trail system. It connects city to city, city to suburb, and suburb to rural area. The Greenway will link together such key sites as state capitals, college campuses, local, state, and national park systems, and outstanding cultural, historical, and natural landmarks offering themed travel possibilities.

The East Coast Greenway is truly a people’s project initiated by a group of cyclists from a discussion at a 1991 East Coast Bicyclist Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   A group was formalized later that year. Under the leadership of the first Executive Director, Karen Votava, the ECGA formulated a plan for maintaining the grass roots movement by organizing local and state coordinators and activities to develop support for the project.

The Florida Greenway - Part of The East Coast Greenway

Combining existing trails and pathways with newly created routes, the project is already over 25% complete in its goal to create an off-road, traffic free bicycling, jogging and walking route that stretches along the entire East Coast.

Of the five New England states with a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean (Vermont is the only state without one for the geographically challenged), only New Hampshire thus far has no designated segments to the Greenway.

Connecticut has the largest section of the New England trail with 53.6 miles with the Farmington Canal Greenway at 31 miles of trail forming the largest segment. It is followed by Maine with 33.7 miles, the largest section of which is Moosehead National Wildlife Trail. Rhode Island has designated 32.3 miles of trail with Massachusetts listing 16.2 miles.

So far, thirteen people have made the entire trek, eleven of them beginning in Calais, Maine and ending in Key West and the remaining two doing the reverse. Kerry Dooley, Andy Castelano, and their dog Patch spent their honeymoon cycling the ECG from New Haven, Connecticut to Key West, while Joel and Holly Amidon completed the entire East Coast Greenway route on bicycles leaving from Calais, Maine on August 1, 2010 and arriving in Key West, Florida on October 9th. They rode in celebration of Joel's 50th birthday and their 25th wedding anniversary.

“We are so pleased to be working with the Alliance in the hope of bringing awareness to the East Coast Greenway. It reaches so many neighborhoods and promotes great values, such as the green-initiative, a healthy lifestyle, and community togetherness,” says Tessa Rickart, of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

“Of course, the ECG relies greatly on the support of these communities in helping them complete their project and expand to further areas. I highly encourage people to look into what they can do in their local community to benefit the trail. With spring just around the corner, I look forward to getting on the trail and enjoying the warm New England weather. I hope others will follow my lead.”


East Coast Greenway

27 North Road, Wakefield, RI 02879


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