The Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails, Inc., has as its mission to promote, protect and enhance the publicly operated trails in Anne Arundel County. The Friends promote trail use through the sponsorship and co-sponsorship of special events on the trail system and advocacy for the construction of new trails and critical trail linkages. We protect County trails by supporting the Trail Blazer program where volunteers log thousands of bicycle miles annually while offering free information and assistance to trail users.
But perhaps the part of our mission that we interpret most broadly is the enhancement of our public trails. The Friends act as a conduit for individuals who wish to make the trails a more user-friendly environment through the installation of benches, water fountains, picnic tables and similar amenities.
We provide landscaped plazas at several locations along the trail system where individuals may purchase engraved memorial bricks to honor individuals and, at one location, pets. Dozens of flower beds maintained by Friends volunteers adjoin our public trails, and, at multiple locations, landscaped greens and rest areas provide sites to take a break or enjoy public events such as free concerts.
And perhaps our most ambitious undertaking has been the development of a 4.7-mile-long Planet Walk on the B&A Trail, with planet markers and two monumental sculptures marking each planet’s proportional distance from the Sun.
Our trails are perhaps the only public recreational facilities that serve all segments of our population, from babies in strollers to seniors with walkers. They exist for exercise and enjoyment, but also serve as transportation corridors which provide access to businesses, schools, libraries and public transportation facilities. Their benefits are legion, promoting public health and wellness, contributing to air quality by providing safe corridors for non-motorized transportation and serving as greenway corridors in an increasingly urbanized environment.
And finally, our County trails are engines of economic development. Bicycle repair facilities, food service establishments and the lodging industry all benefit from monies expended by trail users.
Three long distance trails, the East Coast Greenway, the American Discovery Trail and the September 11th National Memorial Trail, all utilize portions of the Anne Arundel County trail system as part of their routes.