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Great American Rail-Trail Halfway Done

A trail that connects the Quad Cities to both Washington state and Washington D.C is over halfway done.

Tomorrow, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy will hold a three day trail ride from Davenport, Iowa to Ottowa, Illinois to show the gaps in the trail, and the opportunities it holds.

Kevin Belle, project manager for the Great American Rail-Trail says there are several unfinished areas near East Moline, Colona, and Silvis but they hope to finish the trail in the next few years.

"We know that trails are used even more once they're connected with each other. So once we're able to fill some of these small gaps we really feel like the opportunities that exist with the trail itself will only be highlighted."

A study done in 2022 looked at projected visitor spending in the Western Illinois counties surrounding the trail. When the trail is complete, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy estimate $2 million in annual visitor spending.

"That is a major economic driver, is the tourism aspect. Getting people off the trail, into downtown, eating ice cream, getting dinner, getting a hotel room for the night. All of that starts to add up, especially in small communities."

Bikers will head out from Union Station in Davenport on Tuesday, and arrive in Ottawa on Thursday.

The Great American Rail-Trail, a project started by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is the nation's first cross country multiuse trail.