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RECREATION PLANNING

Beaches to Bluegrass Trail

The concept is a trail that traverses southern Virginia from its western borders in Appalachia to the Atlantic Coast. Utilizing existing trails that currently traverse spectacular scenery from the mountains of southwestern Virginia to the marshes and sandy beaches of the Tidewater, this trail system would include views of the New River Valley, vistas of the eastern Piedmont from the crest of the Blue Ridge, and encounters with rivers, old forests, and mountain meadows. This trail will also cross through the industrial centers of Martinsville, Danville, and South Boston, and continue through productive agricultural regions along the abandoned railroads that make up the Tobacco Heritage Trail. As one travels eastward, the tobacco, corn and soy bean fields give way to pine plantations, cotton, peanut, and pork farms. Finally, only the busy commercial port of Hampton Roads stands between the trail and the ocean terminus.

The trail is envisioned as a braided trail system made up of paralleling trails sharing a common direction, but managed by different local partners. Some trails will be multi-use and non-motorized. Others may include carriage riders, while some will support paddling. Some sections will require bicycle riding on paved roads, while in other cases, the trail may be too narrow and steep to allow bicycles and only pedestrians will be allowed. As the trail evolves, the multiuse portions may be expanded and connected so that long-range trips are possible for both equestrians and bicyclists.

With partners like Roanoke River Rails to Trails, the Dan River Basin Association and Activate Martinsville-Henry County, this trail system is rapidly under development through Southern Virginia.