Friday, November 07, 2008

Nature Coast State Trail: Trenton Trailhead

Florida has a very successful, very active rails to trails program. In my area, it's possible to ride a bike, horse, or just walk from one small town to another on these nicely maintained trails.

As a green kind of guy, I like the reuse of these old railroad right of ways as linear parks and common areas.

As a strategic thinking kind of guy, I like that these long strips of land are in the public domain, in case we need them for a future mass transit purpose.

Last week, I did a little biking along the Trenton section of the trail.

I parked the JEEP at the Trenton Train Depot and took Emma's new cruiser bicycle for a ride.

It would have been really nice if the scenery was all like this ... it was for a short distance, but the trail quickly opened up to a roadside, non-forested bike path that was okay, but not spectacular.

Trenton is a quaint little town though.

This mural graces a building near the old depot at the trailhead.

My experience at the trailhead reinforced something I've always wondered about rail trails. I've always wondered about security on and around these trails, because over the years, I've noticed that railways often run through the toughest side of town.

Therefore, when you turn that rail into a trail, you are inviting folks into areas that are sometimes ... nay ... often crime ridden.

My experience went something like this. I parked the JEEP, undid the bike, and took a short ride. When I returned, a group of teens were hanging out in the depot building being loud and apparently incapable of speech without using the "F" word a few times per sentence.

I work with teens, so I'm not quick to judge, but on the other hand ... I work with teens and I know trouble when I see it.

I didn't feel comfortable leaving the easily broken into JEEP there for a longer ride, so I moved it over to a grocery store parking lot before continuing my ride around Trenton. This was very pleasurable and the JEEP was fine when I got back.
Just be careful out there.


Sayre said...

I have ridden the St. Marks trail many, many times (it was 12 miles of my commute to word for a while) and I personally have never had a problem. Other people, however, have. When it was relatively new, there were a number of rapes that occurred in that 16 mile stretch - until the police started training on the trail with bikes and jogging. No more problem!

Floridacracker said...

A nice proactive solution.

VitaminSea said...

The Pinellas Trail, in our county, runs roughly 69 miles (I think) in and around various neighborhoods. In my part of town. It's relatively safe, but they do have a group of retirees and volunteers that sort of "patrol" the trail on bikes, although I don't know how often they do so, or what part of the trail they stick to, LOL.

However, our county is so highly populated, that makes it easier to find volunteers to help out.

I do love the way Florida has been so active in finding solutions to these old railways, however. That sounds like a real nice trail!

threecollie said...

We have them here too, and in fact a very lovely one runs right in front of our house. Even in this rural area crime is a problem and we never felt we could let the kids use it much. If they did go, we required pairs and preferred a nasty, nippy little border collie (leashed and obedience trained of course). So many of the DWI folks who lose their licenses use it as a thoroughfare.

Susan said...

We don't have these in central Georgia, but I've heard rumors that they're being considered.

Happy Friday!

Doug Taron said...

I'll join the party here. The Fox River Trail runs about a block from my house. I can cycle all the way up to Wisconsin if I want to. There have been a small number of crime issues on the trail, but not in quite a few years. The main problem is not a rough part of town but that the section of the trail just north of me is rather isolated.

Anonymous said...

My mother's first teaching job was in Trenton. Probably taught those kids grandparents. Looks like a pretty place.

Cathy S. said...

Oh, that was me, anonymous. Boy, somedays, I wish I was! Cathy S.

Pablo said...

We have a nice trail that passes through my subdivision. Something like 40 miles throughout KC. Still, there are "incidents" along the trail.

The KATY Trail across Missouri has some gorgeous stretches and then miles and miles of biking with no scenery but corn.

SophieMae said...

Ah for the 'good ol' days' when kids felt safe wandering all over town and playing in the woods.

Love the mural! Thanks for sharing that one. 8-]

Alan said...

I've often thought about checking out the one here between Jacksonville and Baldwin. At the halfway point is Camp Milton, site of a large Civil War encampment they have redone with an interpretive center, period bridges, buildings, and historic earthworks - a nice incentive for a history buff like me to take a little bike trip.

Now if only I still had my bike from college...

Aunty Belle said...

It is a fine program--and I see yore point on keepin the land in the Public Domain fer future--if need be--mass trans.

My mama-in-law used to drive from G'vlle to Trenton to teach--back a zillion years ago.

Anonymous said...

The KATY trail that Pablo spoke of was loacated in Sedalia, where Thunder and I lived right after we got married until we moved to Cincy. It's very nice.

Freste said...

Keen observations and rock solid advice, FC. Thanks. Wisdom, knowledge and open eyes go a long way to keepin ya safe.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Looks like a fun trail: and I love the shot of the water tower.

Floridacracker said...

I'm a slacker ... sorry for the slow response on this post, but I do appreciate all the comments.
Sounds like we all have some good trail projects in our backyards!

Jacki said...

Trenton is a quaint, lovely little town! I have a picture of my mom and I in front of that same mural: