The Friends of Blackwater announced that the West Virginia Mountain Railroad National Historic Trail Project received a grant worth over a million dollars for its development. The trail will be located between Thomas and Cumberland, Maryland.
The $1,226,000 grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) will also support the Blackwater Loop and Regional Heritage Trail Project, according to a report.
“To grow regional tourism and the outdoor recreation economy, the project will design and construct an 8-mile Loop Trail and suspension bridge connecting the City of Thomas, the Town of Davis, Monongahela National Forest, and Blackwater Falls State Park,” according to the Appalachian Regional Commission’s website.
“Additionally, the project will install trail signage and support planning work for the proposed 107-mile Blackwater Canyon Regional Trail.”
The Blackwater Loop Trail will include key hubs of tourism and employment, historic assets, and other important areas. The trail will also connect and improve existing trails, building new segments and providing new pedestrian and bicycle crossings for the Blackwater River and its tributaries.
“We are underway with a regional plan to connect the Blackwater Loop Trail to the broader region, from the towns of Thomas and Davis, up to Cumberland, MD, with 20 other heritage locations including towns, villages, employment centers, tourism hubs, and recreational areas in West Virginia’s Mineral, Grant, Tucker, and Randolph Counties and Maryland’s Garrett and Alleghany County,” Friends of Blackwater posted on social media.
This development is one of 395 projects that have received $319.3 million from the ARC since 2015 to support the coal-impacted communities.
“Appalachia is a region with unique downtown communities, vibrant cultural and art traditions, and beautiful natural assets,” ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin said. “I’m excited that this POWER grant to the Friends of Blackwater will help boost regional tourism, promote outdoor recreation in Northeast West Virginia and Western Maryland, and bolster the partnership between two Appalachian states.”
Friends of Blackwater will also partner with the U.S. Forest Service and West Virginia Abandoned Mine Land Office on the project, serving Grant, Mineral, Randolph, and Tucker counties in West Virginia and Allegany County, Maryland.
This article originally appeared on The Inter-Mountain.