25 years, 50 rivers, 1 Greenway
You’re invited to the East Coast River Relay, a rolling, 3,000-mile birthday party
The East Coast Greenway, by its scope and vision, is a big idea: A 3,000-mile protected biking and walking route that connects major cities from Maine to Florida. So when it came time to celebrate our 25th birthday, we knew we had to think big. Picture a rolling birthday party of 60-plus celebrations — rides, walks, paddles, and more — over 10 weeks. We’ve partnered with 100-plus nonprofits and institutions, including the League of American Bicyclists. We launched the East Coast River Relay in Calais, Maine, at the Canadian border, on August 24, and we’ll finish in Key West on October 30.
So why rivers? The Greenway crosses or runs alongside 50 key rivers. Those scenic stretches — such as Boston’s Charles River Bike Path, Manhattan’s Hudson River Greenway, Philly’s Schuylkill River Trail, the Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac, the nearly rural Neuse River Greenway outside of Raleigh — always rank among our visitors’ favorite (and most photographed) trail segments. By giving people easy access to rivers, the Greenway fosters stronger environmental stewardship. And throwing a two-month party gave the East Coast Greenway Alliance the opportunity to build partnerships with watershed and river keeper groups, organizations that share our mission of connecting people to place and protecting natural resources.
Check out the River Relay schedule and join us; chances are an event is coming to a city near you in September or October. We’ll be greeting several governors and many other officials, checking out a few craft breweries, holding a greenways summit in North Carolina, cleaning up river banks and planting native species, and much more. Between the events, designated cyclists are riding the route, connecting the dots and collecting water samples from our 50 rivers.
It’s an exciting time for the East Coast Greenway as we head into our next quarter century. One-third of our route is now on protected, off-road trails. More communities, states and regions are embracing the notion of greenways as good for public health, the environment, transportation infrastructure, and community engagement in general. Greenways often become a kind of Main Street and community center. The trails are open and accessible to all, a place where neighbors catch up with each other, friends meet to walk, families bike to school and work.
And, this fall, the East Coast Greenway becomes the perfect venue for a 25th birthday party. Join us — you’re invited!
Lisa Watts is Communications Manager for the East Coast Greenway Alliance.