A Great Beginning

Dear friends of the East Coast Greenway Alliance,

It is an honor to be chosen as your next Executive Director. I’ve spent the last few weeks getting to know your amazing organization and am so excited to lead it in the years ahead. Karen Votava’s brilliant leadership and your dedication as volunteers and supporters have driven the completion of over 20% of our 3,000-mile corridor. Now, it’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and accelerate trail progress!

We will be developing our Strategic Plan this Fall for the road forward and would love your input. This blog will become a daily communication between ECGA staff and our members – in addition to our regular email and paper newsletters. We also will be connecting to the twitter streams and setting up a facebook account in September to keep East Coast Greenway buzz climbing.

In the past week, I have had a great beginning as incoming director. I had the privilege of joining 15 cyclists on a 43-mile stretch of the ECG in Connecticut – led by Alliance boardmember Steven Mitchell. The experience riding northeast from Yale’s campus in New Haven to Simsbury couldn’t have been more fun. And it showed so many of the positive aspects of our trail – the biking group called themselves the “Jersey Girls”and made the ride their annual summer bike trip to both bond and stay fit. They all finished the trip safely without even a flat tire! And they were a great group of awesome people to ride with along the historic canal path.

We rode through small towns contributing to the local economy, as folks bought fruit at a local farmers’ market along the way and stayed at the Simsbury Inn afterward. Our trip through these communities didn’t create parking headaches or hurt local air quality. And it wasn’t an expensive experience for the riders :)

But there were a few stretches where we had to ride on roads without bike lanes or an ample shoulder – showing that we have work to do before this section of trail is comfortable and accessible to all. You have my word that I will do everything in my power over the next several years to close such gaps in Connecticut and every community — from Key West to Callais, Maine. I look forward to visiting your community along the ECG and collaborating to complete a great route for commuters and recreationists alike.

Together, we can establish a landmark trail that millions can enjoy!

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