Eastern Shore Rail Trail Benefits
COMMUNITY RECREATION & ACCESSIBILITY
Parking will be available at the trailheads and at the many towns along the trail.
The Eastern Shore Rail Trail is for YOU!
Enjoy a safe commute to work or school, indulge in local shopping and dining, take advantage of community amenities, connect with friends and family on a bike ride, train for your next marathon, or simply relish in nature during a leisurely stroll.
The choice is yours!
The ES Rail Trail has the potential to greatly increase economic development in our region.
Studies show trails boost spending at local businesses, encourage revitalization of vacant buildings, create new jobs, increase property values, attract visitors, and more.
The Virginia Capital Trail has an estimated annual impact of $5M and the Virginia Creeper Trail has been an economic driver for towns along the trail. In 2015, the Town of Abingdon estimated that “trail-related tourism revenues stand at about $25 million a year.”
Trails offer natural and scenic views while also providing a safe, cost-effective place to enjoy healthy and sociable activities.
According to the 2022 County Health Rankings, Accomack and Northampton County rank among the least healthy counties in Virginia, with only 11% of residents in Northampton County and 32% in Accomack County having adequate access to exercise opportunities, compared to 78% in all of Virginia.
A study of the GreenBelt trail in Georgia reports that the majority of residents found opportunities for exercise and physical activity more accessible and convenient than before the trail was constructed.
Trail users report it’s easier to find time to exercise, they exercise more frequently, they enjoy moderate or vigorous physical activity, and their overall state of health and physical ability has improved. Multi-use trails encourage a healthy way of living through safe and accessible recreation, exercise, and social connection.
The historic Eastern Shore Railroad corridor has been preserved following approval from the Surface Transportation Board to railbank the inactive line.
By filing a petition for abandonment, the ANTDC actually initiated the process of “railbanking”, authorized under the National Trails Act and is commonly used to preserve a corridor that would have otherwise been abandoned.
This agreement ensures the right-of-way will remain in place for future rail operations.
Until then, the corridor can benefit the public as the Eastern Shore Rail Trail, while also accommodating regional infrastructure needs, such as the backbone of our broadband network, wastewater treatment force main, and potential future natural gas lines.