Have you ever gone for a stroll on the Bristol Bike Path? Or maybe even tried to ride across a few different trails from East Providence all the way to the backyard of the Audubon Society's Environmental Learning Center in Bristol?
If you have, you know first hand what a wonderful backbone such a trail can be for a community. Families and individuals out there riding, skating, and walking their way to health and relaxation, and of course, getting from Point A to Point B in the process. And many times, new small businesses (e.g, bike shops and rentals, refreshment stands) crop up close by to support the burgeoning new gathering spot.
We have that same opportunity in Tiverton and a new group of volunteers called Tiverton Trailblazers is seeing that it becomes a reality. The new path, or greenway, aims to reclaim a long-abandoned stretch of train rails between the Sakonnet River Bridge and the North Tiverton/Fall River line. What makes this effort even sweeter is that the new bridge (ridiculous naming debate aside) will have a pedestrian lane, allowing you to go right over into Portsmouth.
Converting rails to trails is nothing new. Several national advocacy groups such as the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy have been working for years to create a new way for all of us to get around. Closer to home, the East Coast Greenway aims to connect all the major cities along the east coast with one continuous trail. Such inter-modal transportation alternatives are a win-win for any community, especially when they are connected to a wider array of paths, trails, and existing street systems. Carbon-free transportation, improved health and wellness, recreation alternatives, the list goes on.
But it takes a lot of hard work to make it a reality. If you've been looking for a way to give back to the town and do some volunteering, Tiverton Trailblazers might be a great way to do it. Visit their website for more information. There you can see pictures and maps of the proposed trail site, and find out how to lend a hand.