Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort -- Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail and the Path Foundation of Atlanta partnered together to start a project to enhance a 13.6 mile trail connecting Beaufort, Port Royal, Burton and Grays Hill.
The Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Northern Beaufort County by developing, enhancing and maintaining the Spanish Moss Trail. Their partner, the Path Foundation of Atlanta, specializes in creating a network of off-road trails for walkers, runners and bicyclists.
The trail was originally the historic Magnolia Rail Line but was acquired by the Beaufort Jasper Water Sewer Authority in Nov. 2009. Two years later, the rail line was bought by Beaufort County and the idea to make a safe trail came to light.
“A couple years ago, the Spanish Moss Trail was just a vision,” said Dean Moss, founder and executive director of the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail. “Today, the first mile is complete, two additional miles are under construction, and almost four more miles are being designed for implementation.”
There is a 10-phase master plan with a projected $12.4 million implementation cost.
Moss said funding has been secured for the first 5.4 miles of the Trail (Ribaut Road to Parris Island Gateway) through gifts and challenge grants from the Cox Foundation of Atlanta, along with the financial collaboration of the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail, City of Beaufort, Town of Port Royal, Beaufort County, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, and Atlanta’s Path Foundation.
“We are currently working on [acquiring funds for] segment six of the trail,” said Moss. “This portion of the trail goes from Parris Island Gateway to Laurel Bay Road and will pass over the wooden railroad trestle at Albergotti Creek.”
The organization’s goal is to have segments three to six complete by next summer.
“The city of Beaufort, Port Royal and the County are all involved with their portion of the trail enhancement,” said Moss. “With their combined effort, the trail will cover a span of 13 miles.”
For this reason, Moss is hoping that the trail will emphasize health and fitness.
“People like the idea of having a safe place to walk, run and ride,” said Moss. “This trail gives them exactly what they need.”
If you’re trying to convince certain companies or even people to come visit your city, having a trail like this is a great amenity.”
The entire Spanish Moss Trail will not be completed until about five to six years from now due to budget constraints. However, people can still use the completed segments of the trail to get from one point to another safely.
Hilton Head Island also offers many different paths that are available for walkers and bicyclists. In total Hilton Head Island offers nearly 60 miles of public pathways and nature trails on which pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy the many destinations.
Hilton head also offers 50 miles of pathways and shared roadways for the use of of residents and renters of the respective communities and their guests.
Annually, tourism at Hilton Head Island pumps more than $1 billion into the area economy.
For more information, visit www.spanishmosstrail.com.