Last year I joined Rails to Trails because I ride regularly on the Little Miami Bike Path which is a rails to trails transformation.
The people at Rails to Trails are creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors of people and places. It’s a wonderful project. Their vision is that 90 percent of Americans will live within three miles of a trail system by 2020.
Rail-trails are multi-purpose public paths created from former railroad corridors. They are most often flat or follow a gentle grade as they traverse urban, suburban and rural communities in America. Ideal for many uses, such as walking, bicycling, inline skating, cross-country skiing, and equestrian and wheelchair use, rail-trails are extremely popular for both transportation and recreation. – Source: Rails to Trails
Rails to trails exists in a large way from Railbanking. There are more than 350 rail corridors (43 states plus D.C.) have been railbanked, with more than 160 trails open partially or fully on railbanked corridors. Railbanking is a voluntary agreement between a railroad company and a trail agency, which enables the agency to use an out-of-service rail corridor as a trail until a railroad might need the corridor again for rail service.
Thanks to Railbanking and Rails to Trails many Americans have access to smooth, safe bike paths. My favorite is The Little Miami Scenic Trail in Ohio. It is 78 miles long paved with Asphalt and Concrete. One I’d like to try is Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail a 106.5-mile Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) that stretchs the length of the Florida Keys, from Key Largo to Key West, (love Key west) the southernmost point of the continental United States.
Find out more: http://www.railstotrails.org/
Donate if you can, I did.