American Trails awards Underground Railroad bike route among others

A nonprofit that works on behalf of all trails — including those for bicyclists– recognized the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route at its annual meeting that ended Monday in Little Rock.

American Trails issued its 2008 Partnership Award to Adventure Cycling Association and the University of Pittsburgh and the Center for Minority Health, who worked together on the project.

The bicycle route takes cyclists along the path to freedom used by many slaves before the Civil War. It stretches 2,100 miles from Mobile, Alabama, to Owen Sound, Ontario.

According to a ACA press release:

“Since the route's official establishment in 2007, Adventure Cycling's Underground Railroad Route map sales have been exceptional, with 4,150 maps sold to date. The Association has also seen a significant leap in the number of African Americans participating in its tours.

“In its inaugural year, libraries and museums in small communities along the route suddenly became “safe house” cycling hubs and began hosting events for cyclists, such as historical reenactments, and including them in established celebrations.”

Some other awards issued by American Trails:

Lifetime Service Award — Ronald Strickland

Best Trails State Award — Florida Office of Greenways and Trails

Community Service Award — Jim Meyer, Trails4All

Trails for Health Award — Pottstown (PA) Health and Wellness Foundation

Public Service Award — California State Sen. Tom Torlakson (Great Delta Trail System)

Outstanding Trail Sharing Award — Bill Manning, Colorado Trail

Trails and the Arts Award — Pinellas County (FL) Environmental Lands Division

This isn't all the awards listed at the National Trail Awards website. There are many more, including state-by-state Trail Advocacy awards and Trail Worker awards (kudos to Tom Mix of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state).

Scanning through them, you can read all the great work people are doing to create and improve the nation's trail network. Congratulations to everyone.

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