Pinellas Celebrates Trail Connector Opening
The Pinellas County segment is the first to be completed for the Coast-to-Coast Connector.
More than 100 elected officials, local leaders, community partners and bicycle enthusiasts attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Pinellas Trail Coast-to-Coast Trail Connector on Thursday, July 20.
The new 5-mile segment extends the county’s Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail by connecting it to future trails in Pasco County as part of Florida’s Coast-to-Coast Connector Trail. It begins near East Lake and Keystone roads on the south side of Keystone and will extend toward the Hillsborough County line. It then continues north through the Brooker Creek Preserve to the Pasco County line.
“This is a great day for our wonderful trail, which is used by (people) from all over the world, including our residents and tourists,” said Janet C. Long, chair of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. “Opening this new segment shows that we’re proactively doing this every day.”
The Coast-to-Coast Connector Trail will feature a continuous 250-mile network of trails starting in St. Petersburg and ending at the A. Max Brewer Causeway in Titusville. The Pinellas Connector was the first segment of the Coast-to-Coast Connector to be completed.
The Pinellas connector segment was funded by the state legislature and approved by Gov. Rick Scott. Pinellas County partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation, Forward Pinellas, the Friends of Brooker Creek Preserve, the Office of Greenways and Trails, the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation and the Florida Greenways and Trails Council to complete the project.
The Pinellas Trail, which broke ground in 1990, stretches from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. Funding for the project, which started as a 34-mile corridor of abandoned CSX railroad right of way, came from Penny for Pinellas funds. The trail now stretches for 54 miles.
Rails to Trails of the Withlacoochee, Inc. is a Key Part of the Coast to Coast Connector.
Rails to Trails of the Withlacoochee, Inc. is a friends group under the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Division of Recreation and Parks. RTW helps to develop, maintain, and promote the Withlacoochee State Trail. Members volunteer their time and labor on projects such as trail maintenance, fundraising, public education about trail-related issues, and building trail amenities.
The Withlacoochee State Trail is a 12-foot wide, paved 46-mile multi-use rail trail, which opened for use in 1992. The trail is currently one of the longest Rail Trail in the state of Florida. The total acreage of the trail is 761.51 acres. Horseback riding is available on a separate trail adjacent to the paved trail. The trail extends from near Dunnellon, FL, at the Gulf Junction Trailhead south to Owensboro Trailhead, on Hwy 301, Dade City, FL. The Withlacoochee State Trail connects scenic small towns and villages and goes through the beautiful Withlacoochee State Forest.
The WST traverses three counties (Citrus, Hernando and Pasco) and offers an enjoyable, varied journey through small towns, ranches and natural communities. As it makes its way south from Citrus Springs to Trilby, the Trail seems to lead visitors back through time. The WST’s northern trailhead is situated next to a modern, suburban setting while halfway down the Trail visitors have access to small towns that reflect the comfortable lifestyles of some forty years ago. As they approach the southern end of the Trail, visitors can drift yet another step back in time as the quaint, historic town of Trilby stands in peaceful contrast to the relatively nearby theme parks and bustling atmosphere of Central Florida.
Like most rail-trails in Florida, the WST is generally flat, offering an easy ride for all skill levels. Reminders of the Trail’s historic railroad activity include cement mileage and whistle markers, the Lake Henderson Trestle and the privately owned Inverness Depot which was built in 1982. The Trail’s extremely dedicated citizen support organization, Rails to Trails of the Withlacoochee, relocated and restored a 1925 caboose for the Inverness trailhead. The red caboose now serves as a symbolic, welcoming landmark which volunteers hope will ultimately house a small museum of railroad memorabilia. The group has also enhanced the Trail with the installation of a 20-station health and fitness circuit near the Inverness trailhead and interpretive signage highlighting points of interest and natural resources along the Trail.
|Pinellas Trail – Pinellas County – The 47-mile multi-use trail from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs is one of the premier trails in Florida and forms the western end of the Coast-to-Coast Trail.|
|Starkey Wilderness Trail – Pasco County – Located at Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park, the 7.2 mile paved trail will be linked to the Pinellas Trail at the east and now links to the Suncoast trail to the west.|
|Suncoast Trail – Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando Counties – The 41 mile trail parallels the Suncoast Parkway, it currently links to the Starkey Trail and will link to the Good Neighbor Trail.|
|Good Neighbor Trail – Hernando County – 10-mile trail east from Brooksville, will link with the Withlacoochee State Trail. 4 miles is currently paved.|
|Withlacoochee State Trail – Hernando, Citrus and Pasco Counties, 46 miles. A portion of the trail will be part of the Coast-to-Coast Trail between the Good Neighbor Trail and Van Fleet State Trail.|
|Van Fleet State Trail – Polk, Lake, Sumter Counties – Totally rural 29 mile rail-trail with one curve and no hills through the Green Swamp. A portion of the trail will be part of the Coast-to-Coast Trail between the Withlacoochee and South Lake Trails.|
|South Lake Trail – Lake County – Together with the Minneola Scenic Trail, runs 13 miles from Clermont east to connect with the West Orange Trail as part of the Coast-to-Cost Trail.|
West Orange Trail – Orange County – This is a 22 mile, world-class rail trail through urban and suburban sections of Orange County. Part of the Coast-to-Coast Trail from the South Lake Trail to Clarcona, where a gap remains to be filled to link the Seminole Wekiva Trail.
|Clarcona-Ocoee Trail – Orange County – A 3 mile connector trail between the West Orange Trail and Seminole-Wekiva Trail.|
|Seminole Wekiva Trail – Popular 14-mile Seminole County trail, part of the Coast-to-Coast Trail from its south terminus at US441 to the bridge over I-4 at Lake Mary. (Updated: August 2015)|
|Rinehart Trail – Seminole County – From connection with the Seminole-Wekiva Trail at the bridge over I-4 in Lake Mary, 5 miles along Rinehart Road and CR46 to Lake Monroe Wayside Park (portions under construction). (Updated: October 2016)|
|Spring to Spring Trail – Volusia County – From Lake Monroe Park in DeBary, when completed it will total 26 miles. One leg runs north to DeLeon Springs. To the east from DeBary it is part of the Coast-to-Coast Trail, connecting to the East Central Regional Rail Trail at Green Springs Park in Enterprise.|
|East Central Regional Rail Trail – Volusia and Brevard Counties – When complete, will total 50 miles. Links to the Spring-to-Spring Trail at Green Springs Park in Enterprise. To the east, it proceeds through Osteen to Guise Road where a gap remains to Maytown. From Maytown, one leg goes north to Edgewater, but the leg south to Titusville is part of the Coast-to-Coast Trail.|
Volusia County, 12 miles (Enterprise to Maytown) – Bridge over SR415 in Osteen has been completed, trail completed from Enterprise to Guise Road in Osteen.
Brevard County, 12 miles (Maytown to Titusville) – Under construction. A portion from I-95 at Mims to Titusville has been completed but not open to riders until remainder completed, tentative opening date October 2017. A bridge now goes over Garden Street in Titusville and a Welcome Center/Bike Shop opened. The route to Max Brewer Bridge is marked by a 12-foot striped bike lane along Main Street and Indian River Avenue.
|Canaveral National Seashore – Brevard County – Eastern end of the trail. The Coast-to-Coast Trail will continue over the Max Brewer Bridge in Titusville, through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to Canaveral National Seashore.|