After retiring from the US Forest Service in January 2014 and moving to Black Mountain, NC that July I was looking for some trails to ride with my recumbent. In a used book store I found a copy of Rail-Trails Southeast: AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, and TN by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC). When we lived in Florida and also in South Carolina I biked all the rail-trails in those States. This guide gave me the information I needed to bike trails in other nearby southeastern states. While riding them and then researching the trails on the internet I discovered the Hall of Fame that RTC started in 2007 to recognize exemplary rail-trails around the country. Today there are 30 rail-trails in the Hall of Fame. Bingo, my Quest now went nationwide.
RTC was there at the beginning of my career in trails and here they are in my retirement. Back in 1980s I was a life member of American Youth Hostels (now Hosteling International), League of American Wheelmen (now League of American Bicyclists), and Bikecentennial (now Adventure Cycling). So not sure which group RTC got my address from but I received a mailing from them at a time when I was looking for a topic for my masters thesis. They sent me a booklet showing all the rail-trails in the country and South Carolina where I was living was blank. I ended up researching existing rail-trails in the State and identifying potential abandoned railbeds that could be developed into rail-trails and presenting them as my 1989 thesis for a Master’s in Geography at the University of South Carolina. I ended up working in the trail field around the country the next 25 years. Now that I’m retired here they come out with a Hall of Fame. What better way to spend some of my retirement than by biking on these rail-trails. Many of them I studied when I wrote my thesis and others I’ve heard of and dreamed about for years.
January 2016 Jim Schmid’s Rail-Trail Hall of Fame progress map
First was to list the trails I had biked in the past – Great Allegheny Passage, Katy Trail, Pinellas Trail, W&OD Trail, Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and Route of the Hiawatha, Historic Union Pacific Trail, and the Virginia Creeper. I plan to go back and bike each of these trails again.
Second (2015) was to bike the trails in the Southeast as I was already planning to bike the trails listed in the book Southeast Rail-Trails – Pinellas Trail (again), Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails, Longleaf Trace, Greenbrier River Trail, and Virginia Creeper (again).
Third (2015) was to travel to the midwest to bike Illinois Prairie Path, Monon Trail, Pere Marquette Trail, and Little Miami Scenic Trail.
Fourth (2016) was my big trip out west during April and May when I biked Peavine and Iron King, Bizz Johnson, Springwater Corridor, Burke-Gilman, Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and Route of the Hiawatha (again), Historic Union Pacific Trail (again), George S. Mickelson, and Prairie Spirit Trail. I was on the road for 62 days and drove 9,866 miles in 20 States. Besides biking the above Hall of Fame Rail-Trails I biked an additional 17 rail-trails for a total of 1,091 miles. While I was on the road I read that RTC had published Rail-Trail Hall of Fame: A selection of America’s Premier Rail-Trails. I ordered the book and it was in my mailbox when I got home.
Fifth (2016) was my trip to the Northeast in the Fall to bike five more trails (Hudson Valley Trail Network, Island Line, Minuteman, East Bay Bike Path and Torrey C. Brown / Heritage Rail Trail) and even walk one (High Line in Manhattan).
This leaves the four trails in the Midwest for next year (2017). And of course I still want to reride the trails that I biked years ago.
November 2016 Jim Schmid’s Rail-Trail Hall of Fame progress map — Pink (26) completed Yellow (4) yet to ride
1. – I biked the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage with an Adventure Cycling group in 2010. The trip also included biking the C&O Canal.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Great Allegheny Passage (MD / PA – 150 miles).
2. – Sandra and I biked the 225-mile Katy Trail with a Sierra Club group in 2008.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Katy Trail State Park (MO – 225 miles)
3. – Sandra and I first biked the Pinellas Trail in 1995. We also biked the Pinellas Trail in 2007. As part of my Hall of Fame Quest I biked the 45-mile Pinellas Trail again on Jan 25, 2016.
1995 – Pinellas Trail
2007 – Pinellas Trail
2016 – Pinellas Trail
RTC Hall of Fame link: Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail (FL – 34 miles)
4. – I biked the 19-mile Burke-Gilman Trail on April 26 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Burke-Gilman Trail (WA – 19 miles)
5. – I biked the Minuteman Bikeway on September 5, 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Minuteman Bikeway (MA – 10.4 miles)
6. – I biked the 46-mile Illinois Prairie Path from August 21 to 23 in 2015.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Illinois Prairie Path (IL – 46 miles)
RTC Hall of Fame link: Elroy-Sparta State Trail (WI – 32 miles)
8. – I biked the 24.5-mile Bizz Johnson Trail on April 17&18 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Bizz Johnson Trail (CA – 24.5 miles)
9. – Sandra and I first biked the W&OD Trail in 2000. I biked the 45-mile W&OD Trail again Oct 6&7, 2015 as part of my Hall of Fame Quest.
2000 – W&OD Trail
2015 – W&OD Trail
RTC Hall of Fame link: W&OD Trail ( VA – 45 miles)
10. – I biked the Monon Trail on August 23, 2015.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Monon Trail (IN – 18 miles)
11. – I biked both the Silver Comet Trail on May 11 to 14 and Chief Ladiga Trail on June 1 in 2015.
Silver Comet Trail
Chief Ladiga Trail
RTC Hall of Fame link: Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails (GA / AL – 61 / 33 miles)
12. – I biked the East Bay Bike Path on September 6 & 7, 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: East Bay Bike Path (RI – 14 miles)
13. – I biked the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail on September 6, 2015.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Pere Marquette Rail-Trail (MI – 30 miles)
14. – I biked the Little Miami Scenic Trail from July 31 to August 2, 2015.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Little Miami Scenic Trail (OH – 78 miles)
RTC Hall of Fame link: Paul Bunyan State Trail (MN -112 miles)
RTC Hall of Fame link: Wabash Trace Nature Trail (IA – 53 miles)
17. – I biked the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail on June 3 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Prairie Spirit Rail Trail State Park (KS – 51 miles)
18. – I biked the Springwater Corridor on April 25 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Springwater Corridor (OR – 21.5 miles)
19. – I walked The High Line in New York City on August 31, 2016
RTC Hall of Fame link: The High Line (NY – 1 mile)
20. -I biked the George S. Mickelson Trail from May 28 to June 1 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: George S. Mikelson Trail (SD – 109 miles)
21. – I biked both the Peavine and Iron King Trails on April 7 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.
Iron King Trail
RTC Hall of Fame link: Peavine and Iron King Trails (AZ – 6 / 5.8 miles)
22. – I biked the Longleaf Trace on June 11, 2015.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Longleaf Trace (MS – 41 miles)
23. – Sandra and I first biked these trails in 2003 with a group led my Leo Hennessy. We were living in Boise, ID at the time. I biked the Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes May 12 to 15 and Route of the Hiawatha on May 26 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.
2003 group photo (Sandra and I are circled)
2016 -Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes
2016 – Route of the Hiawatha
RTC Hall of Fame link: Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and Route of the Hiawatha (ID – 73 / 15 miles)
24. – Sandra and I first biked the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park on August 31, 1998 when I was in Park City, UT for an American Trails Board meeting. I biked the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park again while on May 1 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.
1998 – Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park
2016 – Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park
RTC Hall of Fame link: Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park (UT – 28 miles)
25. – I biked the Island Line rail-trail in Burlington, VT on September 1, 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Island Line (VT – 14 miles)
26. – I biked the Greenbrier River Trail on June 21 to 24, 2015.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Greenbrier River Trail (WV – 78 miles)
27. – Sandra and I first biked the Virginia Creeper Trail May 8, 1990 ( I don’t have any pictures from that trip. We biked Virginia Creeper Trail May 11, 1997. We walked a section near Abingdon in 2011 when we were in town for a conference. In 2014 I walked in to see the new replacement trestle (tornado had taken it out in 2011). I biked the entire 34 mile Creeper again on July 10, 2016 as part of my Rail-Trail Hall of Fame Quest. Sandra and I bicycled the Virginia Creeper Trail from Abingdon to Alvarado Station on Oct 28, 2016.
1997 – Virginia Creeper Trail
2011 – Virginia Creeper Trail
2014 – Virginia Creeper Trail
2016 (July 10) – Virginia Creeper Trail
2016 (Oct 28) – Virginia Creeper Trail
RTC Hall of Fame link: Virginia Creeper Trail (VA 34 miles)
28. Sandra and I first biked the Heritage Rail Trail County Park in 2002.
2002 – Heritage Rail Trail County Park
2016 – I biked the Heritage Rail Trail County Park on October 5, 2016.
I biked the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail on October 4, 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Heritage Rail Trail County Park and Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (PA / MD 24.9 / 19.5)
RTC Hall of Fame link: Midtown Greenway (MN – 5.5 miles)
30. – I biked the three trails that make up the Hudson Valley Trail Nework on August 30, 2016.
RTC Hall of Fame link: Hudson Valley Trail Network (NY – 18 miles)