16,500 people used bike path last year

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Madison County Commissioner Tony Xenikis, representing the Madison County Park District, recognizes volunteer trail sentinels at the Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails annual meeting, held on Jan. 15: (from left) Xenikis, Dr. Gregg Alexander, Gene Pass, Jerry Miller, Meloni McCormick, Jim Price and Wayne Roberts.

(Posted Jan. 22, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails (FMCPT) is gearing up for another year of promoting and helping to maintain the portion of the Ohio To Erie Trail that runs through Madison County.

At the Madison County commissioners meeting on Jan. 21, Wayne Roberts, FMCPT executive director, reported that approximately 16,500 people used the walking and biking path in 2019. He also noted that nearly 200 people, up 35 percent from last year, used the primitive campsites located at the trailhead located behind the Madison County Senior Citizens Center in London.

At their annual meeting on Jan. 15, FMCPT members elected officers for 2020: Dr. Gregg Alexander, president; Mike Michael, vice president; Jim Pozy and Dr. Alan Knowles, secretary; and Pozy, treasurer.

Also at the meeting, the Madison County Park District recognized volunteer trail sentinels for their hours of service on the trails. Trail sentinels provide “good Samaritan” assistance to trail users, participate in community outreach events and assist with trail maintenance, such as clearing honeysuckle, blowing leaves off the trail, and weeding.

Twelve volunteers gave 1,682 hours of their time in 2019, including 534 hours volunteered by Jerry Miller, 423 hours by Gene Pass, 250 hours by Jerry Miller and 213 hours by Meloni McCormick.

FMCPT will host their annual all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. Feb. 8 at the Senior Center, 280 W. High St. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children younger than 12 years old. A silent auction is planned for 8 to 10:45 a.m. Proceeds benefit FMCPT and the Senior Center.

“This is one of our big fundraisers for trail maintenance,” Roberts said.

Roberts also shared information about the Ohio Trail Connections Summit set for March 28 in Mount Vernon. The Ohio To Erie Trail is hosting the summit with sponsorship from Rails-To-Trails Conservancy and community partners. The event’s purpose is to bring together representatives from 25 trail organizations spanning the length of the cross-state trail for a day of education and networking. The focus will be fueling economic growth and tourism through connectivity of the trails.

FMCPT is sending representatives to the summit and will help to lead a talk on the success of their trail-side campsites.

More information about the summit can be found at ohiotoerietrail.org/events. The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Knox County Memorial Building, 112 E. High St., Mount Vernon.

For more information about FMCPT, go to www.fmcpt.com.

For more information about becoming a volunteer trail sentinel, visit the FMCPT website or contact Julia Cumming, Madison Soil and Water Conservation District program administrator, at (740) 852-4003. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, enjoy riding on the Ohio to Erie Trail, and have the ability to communicate positively with staff, trail users and property owners adjacent to the trail.

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