Once an economic lifeline transporting goods and resources, the railroad that runs parallel to the Legacy Trail even carried the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which wintered in southern Florida. It’s since been converted to a carbon-free, safe transportation corridor for residents of Sarasota County, extending 18.5 miles from Payne Park in downtown Sarasota toward the city of North Port, providing benefits to hundreds of thousands of people in Sarasota County.
The trail offers an inexpensive commuting alternative to area residents, including 9,000 nearby low-income households—notable in a city where transportation costs are typically the second-highest household expense. Students benefit from having a safe route to and from 18 nearby schools, as well. Safety is key, as this metro area was ranked 19th most dangerous for pedestrians in the country in a 2022 report by Smart Growth America.
Part of our much larger Florida Gulf Coast Trail project, which will eventually stretch 336 miles from St. Petersburg through Tampa and down to Naples—the Legacy Trail is a crucial link in this epic plan and an important step in reducing pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths in the state.
Residents can use the trail to get to work, go shopping, play, exercise, and forge stronger community bonds—thanks to Trust for Public Land, the Friends of the Legacy Trail, Sarasota County, the ballot measure committee led by Gina Taylor and Dan Bailey, and additional financial support from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast.