54 GAPS SHORT OF 1,500+ MILES. This vast region abounds with trails. A 1,500+ mile network of connected trails, now 48% complete, is envisioned to propel the region and trail users forward. The completed network would make up the largest shared use trail system in North America. Trail users would choose their own adventure (a day? a week? a month?). The possibilities are endless. The benefits range from health and wellness to environmental conservation to economic prosperity.
The challenge? Fifty-four connectivity gaps, roughly 700 miles in all, have been identified. In many cases, these are the hardest parts, those sections of trail that haven’t been tackled for a reason. The most common challenges are land acquisition, funding, and engineering/physical impediments.
BIG GAINS IN CONNECTIVITY. The good news is we have a baseline. With a 2014 connectivity analysis, we’ve mapped the 54 gaps, and working groups are busy studying them. Over 700 miles of incomplete trail may sound daunting, but many of the gaps are short in distance. Nearly 75% of the gaps are 15 miles or less, and 8 of the 54 are 2 miles or less. Completing some of these short gaps will result in big gains in connectivity: