Trails

Some people who worked toward the long-awaited opening of the Bloomingdale Trail died before it happened. And many who will enjoy the trail have been born since the project began inching forward more than a decade ago.

If you’ve seen New York City’s celebrated High Line, you might expect Chicago’s long-awaited 606 (and its elevated portion, the Bloomingdale Trail) to look similar. After all, they’re both elevated rail beds converted into green pathways. But while the High Line allows only walkers, the 606 welcomes cyclists, runners, and leashed dogs too.

Outdoor Chattanooga, the outdoor-recreation arm of the city government, estimates there are 150 miles of hiking trails within 15 miles of town, and that’s not counting the urban greenways, which add 100 more.

The Trust for Public Land is currently working in partnership with the town of Milan and the Northern Forest Center to join newly conserved property with existing publicly owned land to create a community forest that will support sustainable timber harvesting and protect habitat and recreation lands.

Residents of the eastern Vermont town of West Windsor are looking to bring back the former Ascutney Mountain Resort. The ski area went bankrupt and shuttered in the summer of 2010, but it could be turned into a community recreation area if the town can raise the $900,000 necessary to buy the property from its current owner, MFW Associates, according to Vermont Public Radio.

A bankrupt ski resort in West Windsor could become a year-round haven for outdoor sports. But first the town, with support from a land trust, has to raise enough money to buy a big chunk of the land.

The 606, which takes its name from Chicago's ZIP code prefix and whose centerpiece is a 2.7-mile recreational and cultural trail, is a bold and potentially brilliant reinvention of a dormant and derelict elevated freight line that blighted Northwest Side neighborhoods such as Bucktown and Logan Square.

In a densely populated, park-starved part of central Queens, a coalition of local residents and the Trust for Public Land are working to create new open space from a partially elevated rail line from the 1800s.

On a cold February morning in West Windsor, Vermont, the scene at the base of Ascutney Mountain Resort is particularly chilling. For nearly five years, the lifts haven’t spun and the trails have grown into a mangled mess of maple, poplar and birch seedlings. The depressing scene can’t diminish the drive of a few spirited skiers, however ... They’re working to purchase and conserve the land on which Ascutney Mountain Resort once operated and, together with local nonprofits and the townspeople of West Windsor, reopen Ascutney as a community ski hill with hike-to terrain and summertime mountain bike trails.

A Queens deli is making a meal of the proposed QueensWay, which would transform 3.5 miles of abandoned railroad tracks into the borough's version of the High Line.

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