James Rada, Jr.
Although the Hagerstown and Frederick Trolley last ran more than 65 years ago, the former trolley route has become a popular walking trail through Thurmont, from East Main Street along the side of Memorial Park to Moser Road.
The trail is less than three-quarters of a mile long, but plans have been made to extend the trail to the north and south. The H&F Trolley Trail Association formed to try and develop the trail so that it can connect with other trails in the county.
“Eventually, we would like to connect to the Carroll Creek Trail in Frederick off of Rosemont, and even get to Emmitsburg,” said Bryant Despeaux, president of the H&F Trolley Trail Association.
A fully connected trail could be an economic boon for the town and county. A 2012 Economic Impact Study on The Heritage Rail Trail in York County, Pennsylvania, found that the trail drew in 281,185 annual visits, resulting in over 4.4 million dollars in revenue to the local economy. The Heritage Rail Trail is similar to the proposed trolley trail, so it is hoped the results would be similar.
The southern trail extension runs from Moser Road south past the library and wastewater treatment plant and loops around a pond. This will extend the trail about 3,000 feet, and also takes the trail to the edge of the Thurmont municipal boundary. This extension will probably be the first one built.
The northern extension starts at Sunset Street and continues to the boundary of property owned by Mechanicstown, LLC. Mechanicstown, LLC has committed to extending the trail on the property as they develop the property. This would bring the trail to Radio Lane and close to the ultimate destination of Eyler Park. This extension probably won’t start until next year.
Despeaux said the estimate is that it will cost about $64,000 to develop these extensions. A large portion of that amount will go towards renting an excavator. The association has applied for three grants that will help reach this amount, although two of the grants will still require matching funds.
“We are hopeful we will receive at least one of them,” Despeaux said.
The organization is also soliciting donations and fundraising through various events.
You can learn more about the extension and the association at the Thurmont Greenfest on June 6. The H&F Trolley Association will be there building bluebird boxes.
Find out more by visiting hftrolley.org.
Trail Photos Courtesy of Bryant Despeaux
Photo by James Rada, Jr.