Jim Schmid’s Rail-Trail Hall of Fame Quest

rail-trail hall of fame logoAfter retiring from the US Forest Service in January 2014 and Sandra and I 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 published by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC). When we lived in Florida (2005 to 2014) and also in South Carolina (1990s) 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 found out about the Hall of Fame that RTC started in 2007 to recognize exemplary rail-trails around the country. Today there are 31 rail-trails in the Hall of Fame. Bingo, my Quest to ride my recumbent on rail-trails now went nationwide.

RTC was there in at the beginning of my career in trails and here they are in my retirement. Back in 1980s I signed up as 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. As an inducement to join RTC they sent me a booklet showing all the rail-trails in the country and South Carolina where I was living was blank. I thought there had to be a few in the State. 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 Rail-Trail 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 riding for years.

 

January-2016-Jim-Schmid's-Rail-Trail-Hall-of-Fame-progress-map

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 (2015/16) 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). I also biked the Tammany Trace which was added as member 31 in 2017.

Third (2015) was to travel to the midwest to bike Illinois Prairie Path, Monon Trail, Pere Marquette Trail, and a separate trip to bike the 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 September trip to the Northeast to bike four more trails (Hudson Valley Trail Network, Island Line, Minuteman, and East Bay Bike Path) and even walk one (High Line in Manhattan). I was on the road for 11 days and drove 2,459 miles through 11 states. Biked 113 miles and walked 1.5 miles on the High Line.

I had planned to bike the Torrey C. Brown and Heritage Rail Trail on my way home, but got sick so drive straight home. I drove back up in October to bike them (Torrey C. Brown / Heritage Rail Trail). I drove 1,204 miles on that five day trip. Biked 136 miles.

November-2016-Jim-Schmid's-Rail-Trail-Hall-of-Fame-progress-map

November 2016 Jim Schmid’s Rail-Trail Hall of Fame progress map — Pink (26) completed Yellow (4) yet to ride

Sixth (2017) during May  I spent 18 days in the Midwest to bike the last four trails on my Hall of Fame Quest (Elroy-Sparta Trail, Midtown Greenway, Paul Bunyan State Trail, and Wabash Trace Nature Trail). On this trip on my way north I spent a few days in Dayton, OH where I biked a few trails and stopped in at the International Trails Symposium’s  free event. I enjoyed walking through the exhibit hall and talking with trails folks I know. I then drove onto the Midwest to bike the rail-trails. On my way home I stopped in Tennessee to bike a couple of local trail-trails.  I ended up driving 3,421 miles  and biking 579.

The future: I still plan to reride the GAP and KATY trails that I biked years ago with groups. I’d like to ride at my pace and take more photos. They are both on my list to get to in the coming year.

Now that the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy will be adding a new Hall of Fame member each year my Quest will never end. Pretty neat.

May-2017-Jim-Schmid's-Rail-Trail-Hall-of-Fame-Quest-map

May-2017-Jim-Schmid’s-Rail-Trail-Hall-of-Fame-Quest-map

 


1.  hall-of-fame-web-button  – I biked the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage with an Adventure Cycling group (more photos and write-up) in 2010. The trip also included biking the C&O Canal.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Great Allegheny Passage (MD / PA – 150 miles).


2. hall-of-fame-web-button – Sandra and I biked the 225-mile Katy Trail with a Sierra Club group (more photos and write-up) in 2008.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Katy Trail State Park (MO – 225 miles)


3. hall-of-fame-web-button – Sandra and I first biked the Pinellas Trail in 1995 (more photos and write-up). We also biked the Pinellas Trail in 2007 (more photos and write-up). As part of my Hall of Fame Quest I biked the 45-mile Pinellas Trail again on Jan 25, 2016 (more photos and write-up).

1995 – Pinellas Trail (more photos and write-up)

2007 – Pinellas Trail (more photos and write-up)

2016 – Pinellas Trail (more photos and write-up)

RTC Hall of Fame link: Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail (FL – 34 miles)


4. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the 19-mile Burke-Gilman Trail (more photos and write-up) on April 26 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Burke-Gilman Trail (WA – 19 miles)


5. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Minuteman Bikeway (more photos and write-up) on September 5, 2016.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Minuteman Bikeway (MA – 10.4 miles)


6. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the 46-mile Illinois Prairie Path (more photos and write-up) from August 21 to 23 in 2015.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Illinois Prairie Path (IL – 46 miles)


7. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the 32-mile Elroy-Sparta State Trail (more photos, video, and write-up) on May 8&9, 2017.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Elroy-Sparta State Trail (WI – 32 miles)


8. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the 24.5-mile Bizz Johnson Trail (more photos and write-up) 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. hall-of-fame-web-button – Sandra and I first biked the W&OD Trail in 2000 (more photos and write-up). I biked the 45-mile W&OD Trail again Oct 6&7, 2015 (more photos and write-up) as part of my Hall of Fame Quest.

2000 – W&OD Trail (more photos and write-up)

2015 – W&OD Trail (more photos and write-up)

RTC Hall of Fame link: W&OD Trail ( VA – 45 miles)


10. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Monon Trail (more photos and write-up) on August 23, 2015.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Monon Trail (IN – 18 miles)


11. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked both the Silver Comet Trail (more photos and write-up) on May 11 to 14 and Chief Ladiga Trail (more photos and write-up) on June 1 in 2015.

Silver Comet Trail (more photos and write-up)

Chief Ladiga Trail (more photos and write-up)

RTC Hall of Fame link: Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails (GA / AL – 61 / 33 miles)


12. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the East Bay Bike Path (more photos and write-up) on September 6 & 7, 2016.

RTC Hall of Fame link: East Bay Bike Path (RI – 14 miles)


13. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail(more photos and write-up) on September 6, 2015.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Pere Marquette Rail-Trail (MI – 30 miles)


14. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Little Miami Scenic Trail (more photos and write-up) from July 31 to August 2, 2015.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Little Miami Scenic Trail (OH – 78 miles)


15. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the 123-mile Paul Bunyan State Trail (more photos, video, and write-up) from May 10 to 14, 2017.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Paul Bunyan State Trail (MN -123 miles)


16. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the 63-mile Wabash Trace Nature Trail (more photos, video, and write-up) from May 16 to 18, 2017.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Wabash Trace Nature Trail (IA – 63 miles)


17. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail (more photos and write-up) 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. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Springwater Corridor (more photos and write-up) on April 25 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Springwater Corridor (OR – 21.5 miles)


19. hall-of-fame-web-button – I walked The High Line (more photos and write-up) in New York City on August 31, 2016

RTC Hall of Fame link: The High Line (NY – 1 mile)


20. hall-of-fame-web-button -I biked the George S. Mickelson Trail (more photos and write-up)  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. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked both the Peavine and Iron King Trails (more photos and write-up) on April 7 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.

Peavine Trail (more photos and write-up)

Iron King Trail (more photos and write-up)

RTC Hall of Fame link: Peavine and Iron King Trails (AZ – 6 / 5.8 miles)


22. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Longleaf Trace (more photos and write-up) on June 11, 2015.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Longleaf Trace (MS – 41 miles)


23. hall-of-fame-web-button – 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 (more photos and write-up) May 12 to 15 and Route of the Hiawatha (more photos and write-up) on May 26 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.

2003 group photo (Sandra and I are circled)

Jim-and-Sandra-Schmid-group-photo-June-2003-Trail-of-the-Coeur-d'Alenes-group-trip-led-by-Leo-Hennessy-photo-by-Owen-Jones

2016 -Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes (more photos and write-up)

2016 – Route of the Hiawatha (more photos and write-up)

RTC Hall of Fame link: Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and Route of the Hiawatha (ID – 73 / 15 miles)


24. hall-of-fame-web-button – Sandra and I first biked the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park on August 31,  1998 (more photos and write-up) when I was in Park City, UT for an American Trails Board meeting. I biked the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park (more photos and write-up) again while on May 1 while on my two-month Western trip in 2016.

1998 – Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park (more photos and write-up)

2016 – Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park (more photos and write-up)

RTC Hall of Fame link: Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park (UT – 28 miles)


25. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Island Line (more photos, video, and write-up) rail-trail in Burlington, VT on September 1, 2016.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Island Line (VT – 14 miles)


26. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Greenbrier River Trail (more photos and write-up)  on June 21 to 24, 2015.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Greenbrier River Trail (WV – 78 miles)


27. hall-of-fame-web-button – 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 (more photos and write-up). We walked a section near Abingdon in 2011 (more photos and write-up) when we were in town for a conference. In 2014 I walked in to see the new replacement trestle (more photos and write-up) (tornado had taken it out in 2011). I biked the entire 34 mile Creeper again on July 10,  2016 (more photos and write-up) as part of my Rail-Trail Hall of Fame Quest. Sandra and I bicycled the Virginia Creeper Trail from Abingdon to Alvarado Station (more photos and write-up) on Oct 28, 2016.

1997 – Virginia Creeper Trail (more photos and write-up)

2011 – Virginia Creeper Trail (more photos and write-up)

2014 – Virginia Creeper Trail (more photos and write-up)

2016 (July 10) – Virginia Creeper Trail (more photos and write-up)

2016 (Oct 28) – Virginia Creeper Trail (more photos and write-up)

RTC Hall of Fame link: Virginia Creeper Trail (VA 34 miles)


28. hall-of-fame-web-button Sandra and I first biked the Heritage Rail Trail County Park in 2002 (more photos and write-up).

2002 – Heritage Rail Trail County Park (more photos and write-up)

2016 – I biked the Heritage Rail Trail County Park (more photos and write-up) on October 5, 2016.

I biked the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (more photos and write-up) 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)


29. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway (more photos and write-up) on May 10, 2017.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Midtown Greenway (MN – 5.5 miles)


30. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the three trails that make up the Hudson Valley Trail Nework (more photos, video, and write-up) on August 30, 2016.

RTC Hall of Fame link: Hudson Valley Trail Network (NY – 18 miles)

31. hall-of-fame-web-button – I biked the Tammany Trace (more photos and write-up) on June 12, 2015. Tammany Trace was added to the Hall of Fame in July 2017. I had biked the Trace two years before in my quest to ride the rail-trails in the Southeast.

RTC Hall of Fame link:

jamesfschmid@gmail.com