The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has decided to add the Olympic Discovery Trail to the Great American Rail-Trail (GART) — a multi-use trail stretching more than 3,700 miles from Washington, D.C., to Washington state.
“Inclusion of the Olympic Discovery Trail as the westernmost segment of the ‘coast-to-coast’ GART represents a huge recognition of the significance of the ODT and the vision for its completion,” said Jeff Bohman, president of the Peninsula Trails Coalition board.
“It also will provide a significant boost to the work of the Peninsula Trails Coalition and all the ODT jurisdictional partners to complete the missing pieces in the full vision of a continuous trail from Port Townsend to La Push,” he added.
The Great American Rail-Trail has 1,900 existing trail miles — about 52 percent of the projected 3,700 mile-plus full length. The trail boasts more than 125 existing trails — and 90 gaps to fill — spanning the 12-state route.
The Olympic Discovery Trail is expected to be 130 miles long, using both road and multi-use paths across the North Olympic Peninsula. More than half of the ODT route is on non-motorized paths.
“The ODT is one of the Olympic Peninsula’s crown jewels, linking together many of our communities and attracting outdoor enthusiasts to visit,” said Marsha Massey, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau.
“We expect that attraction to grow, bringing more cyclists, runners and walkers from further afield to experience the variety of trail offerings. With the scale of this route, communities along the trail should see a bonus of economic opportunities and benefits.”
To learn more about the Great American Rail-Trail and to view the preferred route, see www.great americanrailtrail.org and follow @greatmamerican railtrail on Facebook and Instagram.
For more information about the Olympic Discovery Trail, see www.olympic discoverytrail.org/explore.