SGI: Who We Are, What We Have Accomplished, and Where We Are Going
SGI was incorporated as a 501(c )3 non-profit organization in 2009, with the following mission and vision:
Mission: The Spotsylvania Greenways Initiative preserves and creates greenways in Spotsylvania County to connect natural and culturally significant areas to provide recreation opportunities that inspire respect and responsibility for green space everywhere.
Vision: The Spotsylvania Greenways Initiative envisions a future when everyone is within walking distance of a path or park to connect county residents to nature, to recreation, to each other, and, through non-motorized trails, to other communities throughout the region.
Our theme is “Building Trails – Building Connections”. We take both aspects of this theme very seriously, having put together a rich, extensive program to both build a network of 100-miles of walking and biking trails in Spotsylvania County (consistent with the County’s award winning Trailway Master Plan) and to reach out to the community to engage people in the incredible and beautiful natural and historic resources available in Spotsylvania County.
- The Master Trailways plan was approved by the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors.
- A Memorandum of Understanding between SGI and Spotsylvania County was signed.
- We also signed a Programmatic Agreement with the Corps of Engineers establishing the historic and natural resources to be protected on the Virginia Central Rail corridor.
- We have identified the best locations to connect to the National Parks—which facilitates the implementation of the County Trailways Plan and our mission to connect to Spotsy’s historic and natural resources.
- We have established the top five priority trailways projects and identified project managers for each:
- •Ni River—The first segment of the Ni River Trail, the Salamander Loop, was officially opened in June 2010 with a grand celebration that involved 200 community members—Mr. Benjamin Pitts, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, helped us cut the ribbon; the second segment, which begins to fulfill our goal of reaching the Ron Rosner Y from the Salamander Loop, was opened in June 2012, again with the involvement of 200 community members and with Ms. Ann Heidig, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, helping us cut the ribbon. Our next step in the Ni River corridor is to establish easements with the property owners between our established trail and the Y.
- •Massaponax Creek—The Utilities Department has an established sewer and trail easement behind Loriella Park along Massaponax Creek. Our plan is to make the necessary additions of bridges and easements to establish a beautiful walking/biking trail between Breckinridge and Piedmont.
- •Virginia Central Rail (VCR) Trail—The Utilities Department is working on a sewer and trail easement in the Whitehall section of the VCR trail. This is an incredible opportunity to connect Jackson Trails East and West through a natural trail, providing connections to the historic battlefields.
- •Deep Run—There is an amazing opportunity to connect historic Civil War sites on the Rappahannock River with the Fredericksburg Battlefield via a walking and biking trail. The Virginia Tech Community Assistance and Design Center (CDAC), under a VA Department of Forestry Grant, is developing a conceptual plan that will facilitate conversations with landowners and other stakeholders in the corridor.
- •Lake Anna Connector—This trail provides incredible opportunities for the equestrian community to connect the equestrian facilities of Lake Anna State Park with the northern parts of the County and into Orange County. They are currently seeking a project manager to bring this to fruition.
- A database of volunteers and those interested in our events and activities has been developed and is growing.
- Our web site is currently under reconstruction to modernize it.
- Our Facebook page is reaching out to thousands of people through an aggressive marketing campaign.
- A regular newsletter is being published to promote all the walking and biking trails in the region as well as SGI’s trails and events.
- Monthly guided walks by Master Naturalists on the Salamander Loop Trail are drawing increasing numbers of people, both repeats who just love to be with these knowledgeable and experienced people and new people who wish to “check us out”.
- We have a full schedule of events to let people know who we are and how they might connect with us and to promote walking and biking in the community, including:
- • Earth Day
- • The Ron Rosner YMCA Family Fun Festival
- • The Lakes and Grapes Century Ride
- • The Cannonball Century Ride
How Do We Get All This Done?
- We have an incredible Board of Directors which consists of community members who are committed to our mission. We are proud to say that 100% of our Board contributes financially to our organization. The money raised through this effort enables us to commit every additional fundraising dollar to trailbuilding.
- Our extensive group of trail building volunteers—Boy Scout Troop 165, Master Naturalists, and many other citizens– remains ready to tackle any segment of trail that is ready to build.
- The Friends of the Salamander Loop is keeping the trail in tip-top condition so it welcomes people of all ages who come out to enjoy its beauty and appreciate its healthful benefits.
- We have received amazing support from a range of partners: our legacy sponsors Luck Development Partners and the Million Mile Greenway; the Community Foundation of Fredericksburg; and the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program.
Paul Gehring, Chair SGI