We’ve known that the Greenway sees about 10 million visits each year, but this year we’ve seen a spark in a different kind of visit – the month-long or longer variety. This summer an unprecedented number of cyclists and walkers are tackling large portions of the Greenway in the spirit of service, awareness, honor and a bit of fun. Read about five fascinating Greenway journeys occurring this summer to feel inspired, hopeful and maybe a tad envious!
East Coast Overdose Awareness Walk (Late January to early August)
Brett Bramble and John Azerolo are walking up the East Coast, mostly following the East Coast Greenway, for overdose, addiction and recovery awareness. Brett walks in honor of his sister Brittany, who died from a drug overdose in March of 2014. John, who had attempted a cross-country walk in 2014 but had to stop for health reasons, joined Brett for the adventure to help curb loneliness and provide support for the mission, plus share a few laughs with his comedic background. In 2016, Brett walked 3,200 miles from Delaware’s coast to San Francisco spreading awareness about drug addiction in the United States. Now, he’s walking to not only to inform others of the epidemic, but to raise money to purchase the farmland for a transitional retreat, Freedom to Grow, in northern Georgia where “people with troubled pasts can learn to have a happy and healthy future.”
The two began the trek of over 2,100 miles in late January, starting in Key West, FL, intending to finish on August 4 in Calais, Maine with a big celebration.
Hugging the Coast (Early May - late June)
Lisa, our communications manager at the East Coast Greenway Alliance, and her friend Deirdre “Dee” Bird, a retired professor living in Providence, RI, met on a bike ride in 1984 and have been friends ever since. This summer they set out to celebrate their three decades of friendship and their mutual love for bicycle touring while exploring the East Coast Greenway. They’ve enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and meeting bicycle and greenway enthusiasts and other locals along their journey.
The two are riding the East Coast Greenway end-to-end in two months. They departed from Key West, FL, on May 4 and will reach the Greenway’s northern end in Calais, ME, on June 30.
The Dream Project (Mid-May - Mid-June)
The Dream Project is a nonprofit in New Jersey dedicated to empowering young adults to become leaders within their communities through service and civic engagement. Each year, a small group of college students set out on a biking adventure, meeting with local charities and volunteering their way down the East Coast. This year’s team of five includes Alex Lopez-Perez, Hope McCraw, Sakib Jalal, Neeharika Thuravil and Max Wang. They'll cover 9 states across 2,000 miles (New Brunswick, NJ to Miami, FL) in just 30 days. They began their trip on May 19 and will end on June 19.
This year the riders are fundraising for the New Jersey-based organization Visions and Pathways, which provides support for youth experiencing homelessness or abuse.
Bike and Build: Keys to Canada (Mid-May - end of July)
Bike & Build organizes service-oriented cycling trips, bringing together young adults ages 18 to 29 together to spread awareness for affordable housing around the country and participate in home builds along their route. The organization has five programs, varying in length and time, and this year one team is following the East Coast Greenway for their "Keys to Canada" trip. Since the organization was founded in 2003, young adults have biked over 11 million miles, spent over 200,000 hours building affordable houses, and donated $6.4 million.
The team departed Key West, FL on May 20 and will finish in Calais, ME on July 25.
Jenn’s Journey North (Early June to early August)
Jennifer Popper and her husband, Michael, were always an outdoorsy couple, frequently going on great adventures together. In 2016, Michael died tragically during a kayaking trip in Maine. Fast forward to Summer 2018 and Jenn is walking in his honor, raising money for two nonprofits that inspire people to get outdoors and get active: Freewalkers and us, East Coast Greenway Alliance.
Her walk, Jenn’s Journey North, will cover over 800 miles of the East Coast Greenway in just two months. She began on June 2 with a public event in Cranford, NJ, near her hometown of Plainfield, NJ, and will end in Gouldsboro, ME, where the accident occurred, two months later.
Jenn impressively exceeded her $15,000 fundraising goal to support Freewalkers and ECGA before her walk even began, but your support is still encouraged and greatly appreciated. Donations can be made here.
We’re having a blast following these five unique East Coast cycling and walking adventures. And we know there are many more! These long-distance trips not only raise awareness for various causes but also for healthy lifestyles, environmental stewardship, and awareness of the East Coast Greenway. Congratulations to all involved. Enjoy the Greenway!
Feeling inspired? It’s important to note that our 3,000-mile greenway route from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida is still a work in progress. Those considering to bike, walk (horseback ride, skate?) long stretches of the Greenway should be experienced and comfortable traveling in traffic and navigating through both urban and rural areas. Read our Long-Distance Trips page to learn more and check out map.greenway.org, our web-based navigation tool.
Read more of our June 2018 On the Greenway newsletter
We'll send monthly updates on East Coast Greenway progress and people.
Your support helps to develop this ambitious, 3,000-mile route, Canada to Key West. Your membership gift builds more protected miles that we can all enjoy, today and for generations to come.