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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan,, 804-786-2292.

Date: October 12, 2004

Nov. 5 workshop to explore rail-to-trail opportunities in Southside Virginia

(RICHMOND, Va.) - Local government officials, farmers and other landowners are encouraged to attend a Nov. 5 workshop to learn about the economic, recreation and local quality of life benefits found in converting abandoned railroad rights-of-way into trails and greenways. The 22 counties of Southside Virginia currently have approximately 400 miles of abandoned rail lines.

The daylong workshop will be held at the Keysville Campus of the Southside Virginia Community College. Speakers will include Alisa Bailey, director of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and Joseph Maroon, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Kent Spellman, executive director of the Ritchie County, West Virginia, Economic Development Authority, will speak about rails-to-trails success in West Virginia. Managers of Virginia's popular New River Trail State Park and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, plus the outdoor recreation director for Danville Parks, Recreation and Tourism, will lead a session on the myths and realities associated with living near a rail-trail.

Linda McKenna-Boxx of the Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Allegheny Trail Alliance will be joined by Abingdon Vice Mayor French Moore and Tom Horsch of Adventure Virginia in Damascus to discuss the economic benefits of rail-trails. The 32-mile Virginia Creeper Trail runs through Abingdon and Damascus.

A field trip to learn about trail maintenance and operations at the nearby Staunton River Battlefield State Park rail-trail and lunch are included in the $10 registration.

For more information and to register, go to and click on "New Stuff." Registrations should be completed before Oct. 22, 2004.

Workshop sponsors include the Old Dominion Resource and Development Council, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Tobacco Commission, area Planning District Commissions, Virginia Department of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Tech Community Design Assistance Center, BikeWalk Virginia Trails, National Park Service and the Rails to Trails Conservancy.


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