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Article Archive >> Spring Tourism

Western Maryland Rail Trail Releases New Brochure & Map

Western Maryland Rail Trail Releases New Brochure & Map

The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) has a new brochure that includes phase three of the popular recreational trail. The map shows the recently added two and a half miles of trail and a parking lot at Pearre Station. The brochure was a partnership between the Hancock Chamber of Commerce and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). It was designed by Icon Graphics.
The new WMRT brochure is the third edition, but it won't be the last. In 2005, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., awarded $5 million to extend the trail another four and a half miles to Little Orleans, Md., in Allegany County, with access through the 4,000 foot Indigo Tunnel. Additional funding is being provided by the National Park Service, but before the trail can be extended, the in-process environmental assessment and environmental impact study must be completed. This expansion could begin as soon as this year.
In December 2006, the Urban Research and Development Corporation of Bethlehem, Pa., completed a WMRT Economic Impact Study for the Town of Hancock. It found that the trail created more than $2.9 million in annual gross direct spending from approximately 95,000 user visits in Washington County.
A group known as the Western Maryland Rail Trail Supporters (WMRTS) is working to promote and support the extension of the WMRT through the Paw Paw Bends area of the Potomac River. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is seeking donations from both the private and public sector. The organization already has the support of the C&O Canal Association, the County Commissions of Morgan County, WV, and Allegany and Washington County, MD, the State of Maryland, the State of West Virginia, and the Potomac Headwaters Resource Conservation and Development Program, as well as the Hagerstown-Washington County CVB.
The Western Maryland Rail Trail Supporters, in partnership with the Hagerstown-Washington County CVB, is currently working with DH WEB Inc. in developing a new website promoting the extension of the trail from Pearre Station to Little Orleans, and the next fourteen miles known as the Paw Paw Bends. The new extension would include two more tunnels, Kessler and Stickpile and six high trestle bridges. It would cross and re-cross the Potomac River between Maryland and West Virginia.
The WMRT opened in 1998 and is managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (Parks). It begins just west of Fort Frederick State Park and follows the former Western Maryland Railroad line through the town of Hancock, ending 10.5 miles west of Hancock at Pearre Station. The trail follows the bends and curves of both the C&O Canal and the Potomac River but is almost completely flat and is paved. The WMRT is a popular recreational spot for cyclists, walkers, joggers, and cross country skiers, weather permitting. For more information about the WMRT, visit www.westernmarylandrailtrail.org.

Provided by The Crossroads, News and Notes from the Washington County Travel Industry. For more information visit www.marylandmemories.com.

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