New section of Spanish Moss Trail now open

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Photo above: More than 36,000 people have enjoyed the Spanish Moss Trail in the past year.

An additional 2.5 miles of the Spanish Moss Trail – from Roseida to Poppy Hill Roads – is now open, bringing the Lowcountry a fully-connected, 9-mile trail from Port Royal to the communities north of the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS).

“This rails-to-trail greenway has become a recreational centerpiece for our community,” said Dean Moss, executive director of the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail (FSMT). “With an 18-mile round trip experience, the recreational and commuting benefits of the Spanish Moss Trail are now being fully realized.”

The new section of the trail provides a safe connection from MCAS to Beaufort’s downtown shopping, restaurants and Henry C. Chamber’s Waterfront Park.

It also provides a safe route for the residential communities north of MCAS. This section also features a view of the fighter plane display at the main entrance of MCAS and leaves the original railroad right-of-way, at several points, giving the path a more interesting route.

The approximately 1-mile section from Poppy Hill to Clarendon Roads is still under construction.

In the last year, an estimated 36,500 people explored the trail by bike or on foot. Its 10-phase master plan, which when complete, will be a 14-mile long, 12-foot wide, paved trail – dedicated to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Public parking is located along the trail with rest area trailheads at Westvine Drive, Broome Lane, Depot Road, Beaufort Plaza Shopping Center and Roseida Road.

The FSMT recently developed The Spanish Moss Trail Mobile Guide (available for free download on Apple Store and Google Play) that is proving to be an extremely useful tool for residents, prospective travelers as well as current visitors who want to navigate themselves and share their experiences on the trail.

“As for what’s next for the Spanish Moss Trail, the Friends are actively involved in the funding and planning for the next section of the trail that will take our residents and visitors into the downtown area of Port Royal,” said Moss. “We will also begin the engineering phase of the segments that will complete the trail to the Whale Branch River.”

The FSMT have secured more than 90 percent of the funds needed for upcoming commitments to the trail. They are launching a public fundraising campaign to raise an additional $150,000 to meet their goals in 2017.

The continued success of the trail has been made possible through a network of sustainable partnerships, local government participation and the generous funding from community-minded individuals.

To support the efforts of the FSMT, tax-deductible checks can be made payable to: Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail, P.O. Box 401, Beaufort, SC 29901, or online at www.SpanishMossTrail.com.

The Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail are dedicated to improving the quality of life in Northern Beaufort County by advocating for the development, enhancement and maintenance of the Spanish Moss Trail – through community partnerships, local government participation, and private support. If your business is interested in name recognition with a long-term sponsorship of a Trail amenity, contact Sissy Perryman, the Trail’s public awareness and development specialist, at info@spanishmosstrail.com.