June 24, 2011

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE GRANT TO CONSTRUCT HIKING/BIKING TRAIL, HELP TOURISM IN GARRETT COUNTY

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced a $50,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant to Garrett County to construct a hiking/biking trail.  The County expects 27,000 people annually to use the trail, which will greatly benefit the area’s tourism industry and other local businesses. 

"Expanding and developing greenways has been one of my most satisfying achievements as a member of Congress," said Senator Cardin, who is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and has long fought for funding to create greenways across Maryland. “Garrett County is one of Maryland's top tourist destinations and expanding its trail system will make it even more attractive to visitors, and create jobs for local residents.”

“The new trail linking the Visitor Center in McHenry to the Fork Run Trailhead will help increase access to Garrett County’s tourist destinations,” Senator Mikulski said. “That means a boost to the local tourism economy, including small businesses – the engines that create local jobs and strengthen local economies – along Route 219. That’s a smart investment.”

ARC funds will be used to construct a 1,100-foot long paved trail between the Visitor Center in McHenry to the Fork Run Trailhead, and enable safe travel for users to access the WISP Resort, the Adventure Sports Center, and visit local businesses along Route 219.  The connector trail will also link to the Continental Divide Loop Trail system, a 150-mile, multi-user, multi-surface trail connecting to the Great Allegheny Passage to the north.  The project includes construction of a trailhead kiosk with benches and bike racks. 

In addition to ARC funds, the state will provide $23,000, and local sources will provide $27,000, bringing the total project funding to $100,000. The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of the Appalachian region to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.   

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