New 6,400km cycle route to launch across the US

Cyclists, rejoice: a 6,400km cycle route crossing the US is being created.

The ambitious project is to run from east to west across the country, with aims to complete it in a few years’ time.

The plans were announced by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which has spent 18 months analysing existing trails across the US to come up with the best route.

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The Great American Rail-Trail will cross 12 states from a starting point in Washington DC, on thousands of miles of connected trails separated from cars.

More than half of the route has been chosen from the US’ existing 54,700km+ of trails.

The full route will be unveiled in spring, but will definitely go through Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, finishing up in Washington State.

“At RTC, we’ve known the potential of a coast-to-coast rail-trail for decades,” said RTC president Keith Laughlin. 

“But before we committed to bringing this vision to life, we wanted to be certain it was viable. 

“With open trails comprising more than 50 per cent of the potential route, combined with strong local and state enthusiasm, we are now confident that the Great American Rail-Trail can be completed. 

“RTC is ready to lead the effort to connect the trail across communities, counties and state lines to create a seamless off-road biking and walking journey for the country.”

The news follows September’s announcement that a new hiking route has been launched through Chile’s Patagonia region.

Created to attract more tourists to the area and improve awareness of the need for conservation, the Route of Parks runs from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn – a distance of 2,800km in total.

The area is known for its lakes and rich array of wildlife and plants.

The trail was funded by US billionaire Douglas Tompkins and his wife Kristine. The North Face and Esprit co-founder, who died in a kayaking accident in Chile three years ago, set up the Tompkins Conservation foundation, which bought up great swathes of land in Chile and Argentina in order to preserve it.

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