More than 100 citizens, organization representatives, and dignitaries gathered on Thursday, July 20, 2017 to celebrate a very notable addition to the Pinellas Trail. The new trail segment, spanning five miles in length, takes the Pinellas Trail to the Pasco County border and helps complete a crucial section of the statewide Coast to Coast Connector trail.
“We’re here because we’re both recreational bicyclists. This is the next piece to finish the Coast to Coast Connector,” said David Feller, a local citizen who took time out of the busy schedule to attend the ceremony with his wife, Linda. The couple has set a long-term goal of riding the entire Coast to Coast Connector Trail, which will, in its entirely, span approximately 250 miles and connect the south end of Pinellas County to Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Coast. “How great it is to see this extension!” said Feller with a smile.
The ceremony was energetically lead by Pinellas County Commissioner, Janet Long, and included a number of government officials and other collaborators. One official, Pasco County Commissioner, Kathryn Starkey, expressed that Pasco County aspires to follow Pinellas’ leadership. Construction will begin in 2018 on the next segment which will extend from the new Pinellas Trail terminus to the northern end of the Suncoast Trail in Hernando County, providing 100 contiguous miles of trail.
Dale Allen, Executive Director for Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation, had this to say: “Just two words. Thank you.”
Along the way, snacks and refreshments were provided while dignitaries greeted passers by. John Morroni, Pinellas County Commissioner and Board Chair for Forward Pinellas, the county’s land use and transportation planning agency, had this sentiment to share: “Three different forms of government came together to accomplish this. The state, two counties, and the federal government. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when all three branches of government are working together!”
“This trail segment adds an environmental destination to this trail system that is unmatched in quality. The Brooker Creek Preserve is the largest locally-owned preserve in the State and this trail segment makes that accessible to everyone both in Pinellas County and from other parts of Florida––all by trail!,” said Brian Smith, Chair, Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) for Forward Pinellas.
In addition to the usual perks that can be expected with a new trail, this particular five-mile stretch along undeveloped land is especially picturesque. Views include rolling hills, waterways, and an abundance of wildlife. If you would like to walk or ride this new beautifully-scenic trail, it begins at East Lake Road and Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs and heads east into the rolling countryside. For those wishing to bring their bicycles from other areas, parking can be found at Brooker Creek Reserve or John Chestnut Park.