There are miles and miles of what you see in the picture above. This, my friends is wasted trail that is useful to nobody. Can you image if all those miles of that (which quickly turns into overgrown mess) turned into:
I took both those pictures this morning on my run. Can you imagine a clear and clean bike trail from Eustis to Leesburg or from Leesburg to Ocala. Wouldn't it be nice.
I love rail trails. I really do. I remember being a very young child and my dad taking me riding on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. This was one of the original rail trails built in the early 80's.
It is a darn shame that so many miles of abandoned railroad right of way just simply get overgrown and become un-usable as development and mother nature take over.
I used today's adventure as a workout and I recorded a quick video:
The city of Leesburg has done a great job turning the downtown rail corridors into paved multi-use trails. Kudos to them. But...there is so much more work to be done.
I had a great exploration run today with my dog. I wish there were more areas to explore but sadly many old rail corridors are to far gone to even explore. With time comes development, fences and prickers!
Here are some more picture from my run.
|Cool looking tree!|
|Old train station at trail head|
|Its been a long time but the ties are still here!|
|All the effort to make a parking lot and there are 2 spaces. Really?? Hey Ruby!|
|This is very sad to me. Graffiti? Really??!!|
In the 1870's the Gainesville, Ocala & Charlotte Harbor Railroad Co. built a railroad from Ocala through Belleview, Candler, Weirsdale, Lady Lake, Fruitland Park, Leesburg through to Brookville. Over the years the railroad changed hands many times. Eventually most railroads in the area merged into the Seaboard System in the 80's. Due to low demand, and duplicated route steadily the railroad were abandoned and the tracks and ties pulled.
Leesburg was once a major hub but eventually all the road road whistles went silent and the tracks disappeared.
The history is neat to read about and explore but it is steadily going away. In another 10 years there will be little to no evidence that railroads once crisscross Leesburg.
I hope that you enjoyed your little history lesson today. If you are interested in exploring some of the old railroad grades with me send me a quick email and I'll let you know when I go out again.
Rick Copley, AdvoCare Gold 3-Star Independent Distributor
"Empowering YOU to be a champion"