Area coalition requests funds for trail work

PARKERSBURG – Kim Coram with the Hiking, Biking and Trails Coalition outlined progress on development of area hiking/biking trails and asked Wood County commissioners for funding to assist with continuing efforts in the county.

Meeting with the commissioners Monday, Coram, who is also a Parkersburg City Council member, said the goal of the coalition is to make pedestrian transportation easier in the community.

“That’s why the city created an ordinance and made it part of city government. We have adopted a national model communities across the country have used to elevate these alternative forms of transportation. There will be an application in February to make the city a bike friendly community. If you look at the information about communities that have done this, they are more recession proof and are proven to be a places where people want to live. The benefits are enormous,” she said.

Coram was involved with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department’s program to map all the hiking/biking trails in the six counties covered by the department.

“The plan is just sitting there. The next step is to implement it, look at trails in the area as a transportation network,” she said. “We could do it at the county level, dovetail with what the city is doing. We need to bring all the groups together. Right now there are different groups working on different projects,” Coram said.

Coram was earlier hired by the county commission to inventory area trails, which were compiled on a website theopam.com. Wood and Washington counties have 57 trails, parks and paths for public use.

Coram requested the commission consider giving her $2,500 to put together a coalition to help with the trails; $300 to update the website on trails and $300 for promotional materials.

“We are 100 percent behind improving the quality of life in the community by establishing a network of hiking/biking trails. It takes a lot of planning and it takes a lot of time, and we need to start acting on it now or it will never get there. We have areas we can do now,” commission President Wayne Dunn said.

The commissioners did not act on Coram’s request Monday, but continued the matter for consideration at their meeting next week.

Coram was earlier paid $4,500 to conduct an inventory of existing trails and an additional $300 to make the information available on the Internet.

For more information on area trails go to: theopam.com/communities.