One segment closer to completed trail

Published 7:06 pm Friday, October 1, 2021

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A Thursday event featured the official snipping of a ribbon on Suffolk’s newest outdoor recreation amenity, one that will help local folks get outside and get more exercise for years to come.

Segment II of the Seaboard Coastline Trail was officially opened with a ceremony off Suburban Drive, just behind the Food Lion shopping center. The segment has been essentially open for a few months now, and walkers, runners, cyclists and others have been making good use of the trail. Clocking in at just over 1.5 miles from one end to the other, it’s the perfect length to test your 5K time out and back, go on a leisurely stroll or give the (non-motorized) wheels a spin.

This trail also connects several neighborhoods and will eventually lead to Suffolk becoming a more walkable, bike-able community. The plan is for it to make up one part of the city’s 11.1-mile trail network, eventually becoming a part of the 41-mile South Hampton Roads Trail and — in big dreams for regional officials — be a part of an eventual 190-mile Birthplace of America Trail.

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In a region that has unfortunately been designed to make heavy vehicular travel a necessary part of life, these trails are an important way for people to be able to recreate and exercise safely and, eventually, perhaps even get around between home, school, work, shopping opportunities and more without using the roads or turning the keys in a vehicle. And the best part for Suffolk taxpayers is that much of the work on Suffolk’s part of the trail has been completed using grant money.

At the event, Parks and Recreation Director Mark Furlo gave a tip of the hat to Helen Gabriel, project manager and assistant director for Parks and Rec, who is a cycling enthusiast and has been a major driving force behind this trail for nearly two decades.

In turn, we tip our hat to Gabriel and all others who are helping make this important trail a reality.