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Beat a path to excellent urban trail loop in city


 Fredericksburg's new Rappahannock Heritage Trail is well worth the wait.
PAUL SULLIVAN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 1/27/2013

FEW THINGS-- with the excep- tion of agreement by every member of Congress--are truly impossible. But I believe I've discovered something nearly everyone likes.

It's the new Rappahannock Heritage Trail, a 1.8-mile, paved trail for runners, walkers, cyclists, dog-walkers and general perambulators. Combined with the existing Canal Park Path, it should yield a loop of about 3.5 miles, although the official length for the two trails is stated at 3.1 miles.

Let me cut to the chase: This trail sets the new standard for urban trails. It's that good.

The older Canal Path following the waterway through the city has been around for many years. This new part has been in the works for more than 20 years, probably closer to 25.

All I can say is it was worth the wait.

How many times have I castigated Fredericksburg for coming up short? It made up for it on this one.

(And there is more to come--just last week, City Council approved a contract for the first two sections of what will become a 3.5-mile rail trail. It will start in the city, travel west through Alum Spring Park, cross U.S. 1 and continue west.)

A week ago Saturday, I set out with a friend and my four-legged pal, Annie, from the Princess Anne Street point where old and new trails join. It was a beautiful day for a walk.

Within 15 minutes we passed what seemed like half the population of Fredericksburg. Wow! Don't tell me nobody's interested in a good trail.

They were walking, running, pushing carriages, pulling dogs, but what matters is that they were using this new city offering.

At the kiosk at Princess Anne Street I chatted with a not-so-young couple who had just ridden the entire loop on their bikes. They, like me, are Spotsylvania County residents.

"It's great!" said he. "Wish we had something like this."

I agreed that it's time we got more good trails in Spotsylvania. Check the website Trail Link--traillink.com--to get an idea what we have now. Stafford County, on the other hand, deserves praise for new trails there.


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