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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Milford, Ohio - Embracing the Trail Town Concept

Trail Junction sign
the sign which will be placed at the actual junction of the eight trails, with Joan Young and Ron Strickland (photo by JHY)

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by JHY

The sycamore leaves were twirling on a lazy breeze, and the rain which had fallen all week backed off to at least a trickle, as the Citizens for a Better Milford hosted the 4th Annual Trail Junction Festival. A town crier rang his bell and Mayor Charlene Hinners presented certificates of appreciation to several members of the Citizens Group.

Trail Junction festival displays
each trail had a display (photo by JHY)

Not only was each of the eight trails which meet in Milford, Ohio represented, many of them gave presentations throughout the day. Attending for the North Country Trail were Andrew Bashaw, Regional Trail Coordinator for Ohio/Pennsylvania, and Joan Young, hiker. Another face familiar to many NCT folks is Ron Strickland who explained the Sea to Sea Route which will include the North Country Trail.

Milford has a plan which, if brought to fruition, will set the bar very high for trail towns. In keeping with the theme, they hope to build a Trail Junction Park. This area along the Little Miami River includes everything from an elevated road crossing to safely bring hikers and cyclists across a busy highway to a hotel! Two camping areas are also included in the park, and a large conservatory for botanical displays.

Trail Junction park master plan
Trail Junction park Master Plan (photo by JHY)

The key element of the park will be an eight-sided building, with one entrance on each face dedicated to one of the eight trails. As a person enters the building they will be able to see displays, a mini-museum about the designated trail. On the second floor of the building will be classrooms which could be used for education, workshops, etc. and offices where he hopes each trail will want to situate a staff member. And the top story of the building will be an open room for large meetings, banquets, etc.

Some NCT folks will remember Steve Boller, and wife Sharon, who attended the Annual Conference in North Dakota this summer. Steve, a retired lawyer, is one of the key players in the Citizens for a Better Milford group. They note that the small city was pleased to discover that they have a single meeting point for so many trails, and believe that the feature is too unique to ignore.

Steve Boller
Steve Boller poses beside the Master Plan (photo by JHY)

It's unlikely that this plan would come to fruition in time for the Annual Conference 2011, but after spending a weekend with this energetic group, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to see Conference 2018 in Milford, Ohio!

See Trail Junction Festival
See Junction Trails Park Newsletter

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