The Eastern Shore offers thousands of acres of public open space with the potential to support natural surface trails. Biking and pedestrian trail networks provide environmentally sustainable, healthy transportation, and recreation alternatives. Natural bike and hike trails also provide an opportunity to promote local tourism. Recently, a large push has been made to increase interest in biking and hiking trails on the shore.

Currently, the only natural surface trail opportunity for enthusiastic members of the biking community is located in a municipal park in Salisbury. Naylor Mill has 7-miles of single-track trail known for its history in the mountain biking community. Pocomoke State Park is just south of Salisbury and offers opportunities for both hiking and biking. The Pocomoke State Park provides 14,000 acres of ample trail network options.

The Salisbury-Hebron Rail Trail is a potential trail that runs between Salisbury and Hebron. The rail line is currently owned by the state but could be transferred to the county for trail development. An extension to Vienna may also be possible. 12.3 miles of railroad run through Wicomico County from the Delaware State line in the town of Delmar south to Pocomoke City in Worcester County. Currently a few railroad lines are in use by large freight transportation companies. No commercial passenger services occur on any railways on the Eastern Shore.

The Snow Hill Rail Trail is a partially established greenway that follows an inactive rail corridor and connects Stockton, Girdletree and Snow Hill. County officials have been hoping to create a loop from the Snow Hill Train Station to the Pocomoke River State Park.

Over the past several months a large group of outdoor enthusiasts have been gathering at the Pocomoke YMCA to build trails and hold mountain biking contests. There are several small ponds, a medium sized man-made lake, a large wooded area, an open playing field, paved trails, dirt trails, and gravel trails winding through the YMCA property. The Eastern Shore chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (ESIMBA) has been actively encouraging children and adults to get outside and get active by hosting monthly bike rides at this location. Tres Denk, a member of the ESIMBA, said he hopes that their non-profit organization can hold more mountain bike races throughout the upcoming winter months and into the spring.

The above are just a few examples of how biking and hiking trails could be beneficial to our coastal area. The Eastern Shore offers thousands of additional acres of public open

spaces with the potential to support interpretive education opportunities. Trails could be used to better inform residents of the fragility and importance of the shore’s ecosystem. By utilizing countless miles of out-of-service rail road paths, many communities across the peninsula could be easily connected.

Development of a network of biking and hiking trails along rivers, creeks, greenways, and natural forest is an effective way to promote eco-tourism. Several counties in the area have tremendous potential for bike oriented recreation.

The Lower Shore Land Trust, Grow Berlin Green, and ESIMBA want to educate our communities about trails; how trails can create safe routes to schools, provide recreational opportunities for hikers, cyclists, runners, equestrians, and increase community fitness and health. If you have any questions, comments, ideas, or enthusiastic efforts, call the Lower Shore Land Trust at 410-641-4467.