Williamsburg Area Bicyclists discusses the Birthplace of America Trail

A little over a month ago, we did a presentation to the Williamsburg Area Bicyclists about the progress of BoAT. This can serve as a primer for those who want to know more about the trail. Feel free to jump on at minute 2:30 and watch the presentation to 44:25. There are some questions and answers that were good that go to the end of the video at the 1 hour five minute mark. A good 20 minutes of Q & A.

Siege Road Exploration

How appropriate that on the eve of the 4th of July, I do a little exploration along the Seige Road proposed route.  This section will be a part of the Birthplace of America Trail in the York County area.  Took a few pictures and posted the route on STRAVA.  I explored on foot, but a cyclist could ride this 1.5 mile section today if you so inclined.  Click the link below and you can see the pictures:

https://www.strava.com/activities/2501744115

Seems with a little work and a right of way agreement, this could easily be a completed section between the Yorktown Battlefield Tour Roads and Fort Eustis Blvd.  Oh, the excitement builds.

How Do You Build a 95 Mile Long Trail? Same as how to eat an elephant…

…one bite at a time.  Or as in our case, one mile at a time.

In this post I want to bring everyone up to speed on what is happening with construction of the Birthplace of America Trail, or as some call it, BoAT.  In trying to build a 95 mile long trail, there are a lot of moving parts that happen at the same time.  Some things happen faster than others and that is reasonable when you have a 95 mile long project.   Sometimes what is happening over in Surry County is different than what is happening in the community of Phoebus over in Hampton.  All things have to be coordinated to ensure, that as we proceed in getting this trail built, it all happens according to the plan. Continue reading “How Do You Build a 95 Mile Long Trail? Same as how to eat an elephant…”

Don’t Look now, but there is a new trail system on the horizon!

Things are changing in Hampton Roads.  New road projects, new tunnels, new bridges and soon to be – new bike and walking trails on the horizon.  Behind the scenes, there has been some planning going on to help build a world class trail system in the Hampton Roads / Richmond area.   A connected trail system that will someday allow a cyclist or a walker to travel along a protected corridor from the oceanfront in Virginia Beach all the way to Jamestown, Fort Monroe or downtown Richmond

It started many years ago on the Southside with the proposed South Hampton Roads Trail System (SHRT) that stretched from Virginia Beach to Suffolk.  And after many years of dormancy, we are starting to see the fruit of that planning starting to play out with Suffolk’s Seaboard Coastline Trail and several land acquisitions in Portsmouth and Chesapeake.   Norfolk has been very active in cycling projects in Oceanview, Downtown and along the Elizabeth River Trail.   And now, there are serious conversations about getting land set aside  between Norfolk and Virginia Beach to complete the segregated pathway to the oceanfront.

In the late 1990’s, VDOT recognized the importance of active transportation alternatives and in 2015, we saw the completion of the 52 mile long Virginia Capital Trail (VCT), which runs from downtown Richmond all the way to the Jamestown Festival Park in James City County.  The response to this project was overwhelmingly positive and as a result, there was a request to extend the trail all the way to Fort Monroe and to Suffolk to connect to the South Hampton Roads Trail (SHRT).  A study was commission by VDOT and the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) and finalized in 2017.  The result of this study – The Birthplace of America Trail (sometimes nicknamed BoAT).  The Birthplace of America Trail will be the centerpiece of the regional active transportation system, connecting the Virginia Capital Trail with the South Hampton Roads Trail.

Our non-profit organization (Tidewater Trails Alliance) was formed as result of the finalized study to implement findings of the VDOT / HRTPO study and to ensure the construction of the trail system.   We formed in July of 2018 and incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) in November of 2018.  In less than a year, the Tidewater Trails Alliance has built a core group of board members and started the process of getting the trail built.  Our board members and advisers represent localities from Surry County, Isle of Wight County, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, York County, James City County and Williamsburg.   Our mission – to build the Birthplace of America Trail, support the construction of the South Hampton Roads Trail and to partner with VCTF in the completion of this regional active transportation project.  One that will be world class.  One that will be visited by local, national and international visitors.  One that will enhance the health & quality of life for the residents of our region.

We need your help.  This trail system will not get built on wishes & planning alone.  We need the financial support of the citizens and corporate members of Hampton Roads to see this trail built.  This project will require hard work, money and determination to see it through.  Please consider hitting the Donate Button to support this mission.

In the weeks and months to come, tune back in to see how we are progressing.  How we are transforming the plan into reality.  There are already things happening that most would not be aware of.  We will expound on these milestones in the future blog posts, but for now, just know – there is a trail coming.  It is now on the horizon, but the focus is starting to sharpen as things begin to happen

Walk, Run, Ride or Roll – you will find a place on The Birthplace of America Trail.

Tom Howard – Chairman, Tidewater Trails Alliance.