To The Daily Sun,
Let me begin by sharing how much I revere our country’s railroad history, as evidenced by my travels. Among others, I’ve ridden the A Train in New York, the City of New Orleans in Chicago, the Train to Maine, the remarkable Cog Railway and, yes, the charming Hobo Railroad in The Weirs.
I recognize the nostalgic attachment many have to rail travel, in part because I feel it myself, and I additionally acknowledge how essential the railroads were in building our country. Having lived in Nebraska for ten years, I know too how essential the railroads still are, particularly across the expanse of the Midwest and Great Plains.
However, I also have known the value of living places where investment in building bike path networks has revitalized and invigorated communities, and I have lived in communities where the railroad successfully coexisted with bike paths. My experiences lead me to support a study investigating the use and economic benefits of the publicly owned railroad corridor in the Lakes Region. I think it would be short-sighted not to embrace such a study, in part because the first two phases of the WOW Trail have been so successful.
I see more people walking through downtown Laconia because they’re utilizing the WOW Trail, and I also see more small businesses opening up. When I use the WOW Trail to walk to Bartlett Beach from the Downtown Gym or the Water Street Cafe, I’m encouraged by how much cleaner and safer the beach seems, and I can’t help but credit the increased traffic, thanks to the trail.
The more information we have, the more equipped our community will be in determining the future use of the railroad corridor and the expansion of the WOW Trail. I echo Rusty McLear’s call in a recent Sun column that it’s time to complete the WOW Trail project; all we need to figure out is how. As he said, “Let’s study how best we can do this and go from there.”
- Written by Edward Engler
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 207