WALKING has had the reputation for centuries about being beneficial to a person's health, and the formation of the Ohio Valley Trail Association with its plans to help with this healthful exercise is starting out on the right foot.
Even Hippocrates, traditionally considered to be "the father of medicine," had something good to say about walking when he described it as "man's best medicine," and he lived more than 400 years before the birth of Christ.
Organizations which joined together six months ago to form the Ohio Valley Trail Association are the Barnesville Area Rails to Trails Committee, Ohio Valley Riverfront Development Committee, Ohio Valley Trail Partners, Ohio Valley Walkers and Runners, and the Brooke County Pioneer Trail Committee.
During the group's first annual fund-raising banquet, Danny Popp, who heads the Ohio Valley Riverfront Development Committee, reported the group had been selected to receive funding for the acquisition of a 4.5-mile of abandoned railway corridor between St. Clairsville and Neffs. The Clean Ohio grant application for the project was in collaboration with the county commissioners.
Still other efforts are underway about possible grants.
Locations where railroad tracks have been ripped out seem ideal for trails, because the railroad beds provide the basis for the trails.
The trails won't be limited to the use of walkers. Running and biking also figure in the recreational activities that can become available.
Eric Oberg, trail development manager for the Midwest Regional Office of the national Rails to Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, told those at the banquet how trail development is becoming more important across the nation.
It was noted that Belmont County is a prime location for establishing connecting routes to some of the nation's best-known trails, including the Great Allegheny Passage.
THE OHIO Valley Trail Association's mission "is to promote the conservation of open space, to develop trail systems connectng local communities in order to provide health transportation corridors with recreational opportunities, and in so doing stimulate economic development,."
The organization encourages membership and support from area organizations, businesses and individuals interested in furthering this important work.
A public meeting has been scheduled by the organization for April 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Ohio University Eastern.
Showing support for this group's aim is a step in the right direction.