Phase 4 now open

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Photo above: the newest segment of the Spanish Moss Trail crosses over Battery Creek by way of Ealey’s Trestle.

The Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail (FSMT) announce the opening of the next 2 miles of the Spanish Moss Trail – from Depot Road to Broad River Boulevard – bringing the Lowcountry a fully-connected, 6.5 mile Trail that provides a seamless route from Port Royal to the communities south of the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS).

“The Spanish Moss Trail brings Beaufort’s past into its future,” said Paul Sommerville, Chairman of the Beaufort County Council. “From a rail line that brought critical supplies to our community and was Beaufort’s lifeline to the outside world, to a joyous opportunity to introduce young, old and new to the unmatched beauty of our marshes, rivers and semi-tropical canopy.”

With a grant from the Federal Highway Administration, Beaufort County completed construction on the much-anticipated Phase 4 of the Trail that connects Phases 1-2 with Phase 3 – which until now had a 2 mile gap.

“This new segment is a beautiful section of the Trail crossing over Battery Creek on the newly restored Ealey’s Trestle,” said Dean Moss, Executive Director of the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail. “People can now enjoy the sunset as they walk, run, bike or even fish on this Trestle.”

This segment also has the only pedestrian-controlled stop light in Beaufort County – where the Trail crosses Robert Smalls Parkway/Hwy 170. It also provides continuous access to downtown Beaufort and Port Royal from the neighborhoods along Salem Road as well as access from both directions to the movie theatre and the Beaufort Plaza shopping center.

Today, there are 6.5 miles of the Spanish Moss Trail open to explore by bike or on foot. Its 10-Phase Master Plan, which when complete, will be a 13.6-mile long, 12-foot wide, paved trail –dedicated to pedestrians and bicyclists. Parking is located along the Trail with Rest Area Trailheads at Westvine Drive, Broome Lane, Depot Rd., Beaufort Plaza Shopping Center and Roseida Road.

“As for what’s next for the Spanish Moss Trail, the Friends are actively involved in the planning and engineering of Phase 5 of the Trail that will take our residents and visitors up to and beyond the MCAS to Clarendon Road,” said Moss.

Phase 5 will extend the Trail to a total of 11 miles with Trail developers anticipating completion of construction by early Fall 2016. This segment of the Trail is designed to leave the original railroad right-of-way at several points giving the Trail a more interesting route. This section will also feature a great view of the fighter plane display at the main entrance of the MCAS.

“We are also working hard to build the appropriate partnerships to ensure the Trail is sustainable, well-appointed and a safe outdoor recreational experience here in our community,” said Moss. “We are advocating and securing funds for continued Trail development as well as for enhancements – like long-term business sponsorships for Rest Area Trailheads, individual benches and water fountains.”

The FSMT 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. Tax-deductible contributions are accepted year round by the FSMT (a 501(c)3 nonprofit). To support the efforts of the FSMT, 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. If your business is interested in a long-term sponsorship of a current or future Trail amenity, contact Sissy Perryman at info@spanishmosstrail.com.