Last week we reported an ambitious plan, presented by Dr. Robert Keller of the Atlantic Coast Conservancy, to connect Talking Rock with Tate on a paved asphalt path suitable for cycling, walking, and jogging. This route would run alongside the existing rail line – if, big if, accepted by the rail line.
We included in this report, which was presented at the Talking Rock council meeting, a major hurdle – thus far, the railroad company hasn’t signaled any cooperation. Discussion indicates that generally rail lines like to move freight, not host jogging clubs near their tracks.
The plan is grandiose, put in an 11-mile long, 10-foot wide recreational path, linking two communities and coming right through Jasper.
Response at the meeting was enthusiastic – people were excited. What a great place to take a walk or to sell some shirts/food/overnight stays to people who come there from other areas.
This plan is swinging for the fence, going for the home run – a moon shot if you will. Will it easily happen? Heck no. It’s not impossible but far from a sure thing.
And knowing that we should still proceed with vigor. To summarize an online exchange, one person said the railroad will never go for it and another person replied, you might be right but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
We agree wholeheartedly, there is nothing to lose in pushing forward, especially as the private entity (Keller and his ACC) are doing the legwork.
This is comparable on our local, micro-level to a moonshot type mission. One that channels our resources, assembles our team and lays out a massive challenge.
NASA obviously did reach the moon. Often overlooked is that along the way, they were forced to create all sorts of new technology which led to artificial limbs, scratch resistance lenses, Jaws of Life rescue equipment, solar cells, wireless headsets, better tire technology, camera phones, CAT scans, air purifiers and a whole lot more.
Had they never reached the moon, it might have been considered a failure but the innovations achieved immeasurably benefit us all.
The same is possible with this trail plan.
Even if it never gets a green light, when the community and groups work together on a bold common goal there is the possibility of numerous achievements along the way. Focusing on better recreation and a bona fide tourist attraction, plus linking up three communities with a common purpose will not be time wasted.
Like the people at the meeting, we see the incredible value of a Tate to Talking Rock trail with tourists using it on weekends and local folks getting evening strolls during the week. And wow, just imagine if the trail here one day linked like the Silver Comet to a longer trail or how about if the railroad offered some type of tourist rides as well – that would be at the epic level for small town amenities.
We’d encourage anyone and everyone who has an interest in this to keep their eyes peeled for a chance to get involved or offer support.
Even if we don’t get the home run, seeing communities and groups from Tate to Talking Rock and all points in between united will surely result in a win somewhere down the road.