Plans continue to connect existing trails

Kelsey Gerhardt|Daily News Wilderness Road State Park will soon be adding more miles of multi-use trails which will benefit hikers, bikers and horseback riders of the Tri-State.

Wilderness Road State Park in Ewing, Virginia will soon be adding several miles of trails to entice hikers, bikers and horseback riders.

These easy to moderate level trails will connect two existing trails — the Indian Ridge trail to the Wilderness trail — near the LMU veterinary school. Currently the trails span 8.9 miles, but after the addition will total more than 13 miles.

A large part of this is the Rail to Trail system which was formerly a railroad bed from 1896. In 1989, Lee County received the property deed and turned it over to the Department of Transportation which created the basic trail in 1993.

In 2013, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation picked up the project and added security measures, signage and improvements to the trail. A couple of parking lots along the trail will remain property of the DOT.

“We feel with LMU growing as they are, students will probably start utilizing the park more and we want to offer more outdoor recreation opportunities for everybody. We know that getting outdoors is good for your health and this is another option for that,” said WRSP Manager Scott Bowen.

Another trail is being planned behind Martins Station, which will connect the fort to the picnic area. This is set for completion in early 2016.

“There’s some great wooded areas which I would like to see some trails on too, but that will be further down the road,” said Bowen.

A larger part of the plan is scheduled to link Chadwell Gap — part of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park — to existing trails. This will be part of an easement made possible by the Rivers, Trails and Conservation and Assistance grant writing group.

Trails will be built by park staff, volunteers and the Virginia Service Conservation Corps through AmeriCorps.

Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.

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