Aug
07
2014

What a wonderful summer it has been out on the Miami Valley Trails.  At about half over, there's still a lot of time (and reasons) to get out and enjoy the Nation's Largest Network of Paved, Off-Street Trails. Welcome to the summer 2014 edition of Trail Talk, the quarterly newsletter of Miami Valley Bike Trails.  In this issue you'll find updates on two huge (literally and figuratively) projects that are adding significantly to the Miami Valley Trails.  There's a re-cap of the Greene Trails Cycling Classic that just wrapped up in late July, raising funds to maintain the trails in Greene County. We have notes for you from the Friends group for the Little Miami Scenic Trail, US Bike Route 50, and from the City of Xenia. Finally, there's a story on an emerging program in Miamisburg - the bike friendly business program, which hopes to serve as an example for the whole region forging greater connections between trail users and the businesses along the Miami Valley Trails. Read on....

Miamisburg businesses reaching out to cyclists

Riding along the nation’s largest network of paved off-street trails offers a number of charming cities to visit. Wouldn’t it be nice if when you came into a new city, there was an easy way to identify businesses that were ready and willing to welcome you? That’s just what the City of Miamisburg is doing with its new Bike Friendly Business program. Each Bike-Friendly Business is committed to providing four services to visiting cyclists:
• Bike parking
• Restrooms
• Free water
• Information about the trail and surrounding area

You can easily spot Bike Friendly Businesses in Miamisburg: They each have a colorful sticker in front window (see photo). Already many businesses have signed up:
• The Bike Way Bike Shop 
• Urban Loft Boutique
• Classic Stitch
• TJ Chumps
• Star City Brewing LLC
• Miamisburg Branch, Dayton Metro Library
• 2 Cups Coffee and Bakery
• English Manor Bed and Breakfast
• Mz Pickles Sandwich Shop
• Anticoli’s Guiliano Tavern
• A Taste of Wine
• Luna Blue’s
• Great Miami Outfitters

“We are excited to roll out the Bike Friendly Business program in the downtown area, and the businesses are ready to embrace to a new level this wonderful amenity sitting in their backyard,” says Katie Frank, downtown development coordinator for the City of Miamisburg.  “This program seeks to increase tourism, increase awareness, promote a healthy lifestyle, and create synergy with businesses, the bike trail, and the cycling world.  We hope this program rolls out to many more communities along the bike trail, because we all strive to make this region a recreational destination for locals and guests and promote our local businesses.”

Another Successful Cycling Event

Greene County Parks & Trails’ annual Greene Trails Cycling Classic, which was held July 19 to 21 based at GCP&T’s Fairground Recreation Center, Xenia, attracted more than 200 cyclists to the region and raised more than $21,000 to maintain the county’s 62 miles of paved, multi-use trails.  Cyclists --- from as far away as Gulf Shores, Alabama --- stay in Greene County and travel a different trail each day.  Greene County has five varying paved, multi-use trails four converging at Xenia Station. The 100-mile Century Ride and 62-mile Metric Century Ride are highlights of the family-friendly event.  The event is designed to feature the interstate trail system as well as boost the local economy through tourism.

Great News From Xenia! The City of Xenia has been named another Buckeye Trail Town by the Buckeye Trail Association (joining Milford and Dayton)! Read more...

US Bike Route 50 spans the Miami Valley Trails

The Adventure Cycling Association and AASHTO jointly coordinate the U.S. Bicycle Route System. U.S. Bike Route 50 is a planned route that will stretch from San Francisco, California to Washington, D.C. That plan has about 300 more miles of reality now that the section of US Bike Route 50 through Ohio has been finalized and approved! And wouldn't you know, the route includes a big chunk of our Miami Valley Trails.  The route uses the Wolf Creek Trail, the Great Miami River Trail, the Creekside Trail, and the Ohio-to-Erie Trail as it wends from Verona to London (west to east) through the Miami Valley. Check out the entire route through Ohio, here.  We can look forward to more long distance cyclists passing through our villages and cities along the Miami Valley Trails in the future.

Update: Robert J. Shook Bridge

Work has proceeded even in a rainy summer like this one, and we're all looking forward to the opening of this bridge this fall.  Take a look at the photos below taken in July of the construction progress.  This truly beautiful bridge will literally and figuratively connect Troy and Piqua.  This will complete the all-trail connection to Piqua along the Miami Valley Trails.

Simon Kenton Trail Project

Urbana to Bellefontaine, Anyone?

Work on the Urbana-Bellefontaine Connector has begun.  The City of Bellefontaine and the Simon Kenton Pathfinders have worked very diligently to see the project through to this point and look forward to its completion this fall.

As many of you have probably seen on the news, there was an incident associated with the construction of this trail.  The general contractor, LeVan’s Excavating, Inc. of West Liberty, Ohio contracted with Rotor Blade of South Carolina to do the clearing of trees and brush.  Rotor Blade utilizes helicopters, with a boom of 10 different 26-inch rotary saw blades attached to the helicopter; to fly along different rights-of-way, power lines, railroads, gas lines, etc., trimming trees and brush. 

In the course of Rotor Blade trimming along the right-of-way, it is reported by the pilot, the engine failed and the helicopter crashed.  The pilot, Leo Boucher, is still in the Intensive Care Unit at Grant Medical Center in Columbus.  Our thoughts and prayers have been with him since the incident occurred.

Work since the accident has continued with LeVan’s crews continuing to grind the trees and brush that Leo had been able to clear prior to the accident.  They have also been removing the leftover tree stumps and have now started to grade off the area where the trail will go.  The crews anticipate that by sometime next week they will start laying the stone on the southernmost part of this extension.

The Pathfinders and the City are very excited to see this project move forward and we anticipate that it will be completed by early November at which time; dependent on the weather we will host a ribbon-cutting at the northern terminus.  This extension will connect Bellefontaine to Urbana and by way of the other existing trails (Simon Kenton Trail and Little Miami Scenic Trail) Newtown.  When we are able to host a ribbon-cutting we hope that all who are interested would be able to come and take part, we look forward to extending this trail into a community that has never had a trail before and showing them what kind of good impact trails can have on the community.

An Update from The Friends of the Little Miami Trail...

[Reprinted from FLMSP June Newsletter]

Share of $88.5 Million to Benefit Trail
by Janet Slater

June 18, 2014

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer announced on June 11 that Little Miami State Park will share in the $88.5 million that Ohio has recently allocated for State Parks, saying funds will go toward new culverts, shoring up slippage areas, repaving some sections, and other needed improvements to the trail. “These improvements will make the park more scenic, and safer,” Zehringer said. The planned Improvements to the trail will have a positive impact on the local economy and quality of life of residents and visitors, he added.

“This is the first time that this much money has been given to state parks for improving the infrastructure,” Zehringer said. He stopped short of saying just how much of the allotment would be spent on our trail, explaining that surveys and bidding must first be completed.

“The Friends group has been a strong advocate for the Little Miami State Park,” said Zehringer, noting it is the most active of the 55 Friends groups throughout the state. “Without the group, it would be very difficult to care for 50 miles of trail. You guys aren’t shy in your passion for this park, but you are also not shy about stepping up and helping this state park.”

Be sure to check the Miami Valley Bike Trails Events Calendar! August and September are full of great happenings out on the trails!

The $88.5 million will not be used to expand the state’s parks, Zehringer stressed, but to upgrade basics such as electricity, plumbing, sewers, and restrooms, some of which has not been improved since the 1960s. Investment in the parks is focused on family-friendly entertainment and enjoyment, he said. Ohio is one of only seven states with free admission to all its state parks.

Attending the announcement event in Loveland’s Nisbet Park were Mayor Cox and several other Loveland officials, state parks representatives, and many from [the] Friends group. [FLMSP] President, Steve Murphy, spoke about the history of the trail and of [the] organization.

“This trail is a regional asset we feel very passionate about maintaining, preserving, and making safe,” said Murphy. The group believes in its partnership with Ohio’s DNR, he said, and will work with them to use funds efficiently.  “We’ve honed our skills in maximizing any revenue we get,” said Murphy, “and we will continue to do that.”