Kanawha Valley trails should be privately funded

An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — David Gordon, coordinator of the Ridge to Rivers urban trail system in Boise, Idaho, visited Charleston to tell 50 community leaders and reporters that Charleston and the Kanawha Valley can have a similar trail of 100 miles or more. What a splendid idea.

Paying for it is going to be a problem.

But there are solutions.

In Boise, the program linked existing trails on private and public lands. Lack of management and use by motorcycles had deteriorated the landscape. In 1987, concerned people formed the Boise Front Coalition that started with 25 miles of trails on national forest land.

That grew into a 150-mile network of trails covering 85,000 acres of land. They are operated by various entities, including the city of Boise, Ada County, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and private landowners.

Volunteers do hundreds of hours of work each year maintaining the property. Not only does the trail system promote better health through walking and hiking, but officials cite the trail as an attraction for tourists.

However, trail promoters lobbied for passage of a $10 million property levy to help fund the project, which means project promoters here likely will ask for taxpayer money.

Funding a walking and hiking trail will be a hard sell in a state that needs $1 billion to fix its roads…

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