The Virginia Creeper Trail is arguably the most beloved bicycle trail in Virginia. But it wasn’t always so. As Bill Lohmann reminds us in the Times-Dispatch, many landowners along the trail, which was built upon an abandoned railroad bed, opposed its development in the 1980s. Writes Lohmann:
One group filed a lawsuit. Others placed logs and hay bales across the trail and locked public gates. One farmer put a bull in a field next to the trail and posted a sign warning, “Cross at your own risk.”
By the mid-1990s, when the trail had opened and the world hadn’t come to an end, Lohmann says, a survey of property owners showed that 75% approved of it. That number might well be higher today. Many who live on the trail enjoy it as a recreational amenity. The community as a whole in Abingdon and Washington County certainly loves the trail, which has become a significant visitor attraction and revenue generator.
Tastes are changing. People place a higher value on cycling amenities than they did in the past. Bicycle access increases property values. Higher property values makes people happy.