November 2011

In This Issue...

National News
  • Greetings from the Director
  • ECG 20th Anniversary Celebrations Dec. 10th
  • $20 for 20 Campaign


  • ECG Founding History

ECGA In the News


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ECG News Online is a publication of the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

Dennis Markatos-Soriano: Executive Director

Andy Hamilton: Mid-Atlantic Coordinator

Herb Hiller: Southeast Region Consultant

Eric Weis: Trail Program Coordinator

Debbie West: Office Manager / Communications

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Donate to the ECGA

Contact Us


Greetings from ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano

A Time to Celebrate: 20 Great Years of Progress

Dear East Coast Greenway teammates,

This November is an exciting one. Twenty years ago this week, ten East Coasters came together and put our project in motion. Their vision is transforming communities from Maine to Florida.

It is such a privilege for all of us on staff, as volunteers, and at partner institutions to be part of this amazing project to complete an American treasure.

We'll have a fun celebration to kick off our 20th anniversary on Saturday, December 10th at our founding community, New York City. You are all welcome to join us then or at another 20th celebration in your region over the next 12 months. Details are available below.

Hope to see you at one of these fun events coming up!

Together, We Are Building a Sustainable & Healthy America,

Dennis Markatos-Soriano

National ECGA News
ECG 20th Anniversary Celebrations Begin Dec. 10th in NYC!

ECG 20th Anniversary

Celebrate our 20th Anniversary with us in NYC, the city of our founding meeting! Join us December 10th for a day full of exciting events: bike rides, a walk, and an event at the site of our founding, culminating in an evening celebration with founders, current leaders, and special guests. (If you can't make it to NYC, we'll have 20th Anniversary events in other cities in 2012! Stay tuned for details.)

Events in NYC on December 10th:

Bike Ride to the Site of our Founding,
1-2:15 PM, FREE, from Pier 84 Bike And Roll (near 42rd St. & 12th Ave.). We'll ride 8.5 miles crosstown to see the new East Side bike lanes then bike through Central Park to the American Youth Hostel. (Bikes available here for rent, $20 - email to reserve a bike.)

Event at the Site of our Founding Meeting, 2:30-3, FREE, American Youth Hostel (Upper West Side, Amsterdam Ave. & 104th St.). We'll hear a few words from current ECG leaders and some of our founders who were at the original meeting.

Bike Ride on Hudson River Greenway, 3-4 PM, FREE, starts from American Youth Hostel, Amsterdam Ave. & 104th St. Join us for a fun, relaxed-paced, five mile bike ride from the AYH along the Hudson River Greenway segment of the ECG to the High Line in Chelsea. (Bring your own bike to start the ride here.)

Sunset Walking Tour of the High Line, 4-5 PM, FREE, meet at 30th St. and 10th Ave. in Chelsea. We'll enjoy an evening walk along the High Line, down to Gansevoort St. and back up to 24th to watch the sunset. Bring your cameras!

20th Anniversary Kickoff Celebration, 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM, SoHo REI in the Puck Building, 303 Lafayette Street, $20 minimum donation, registration required.

Celebrate our 20th Anniversary in style at the new REI in Soho! Our guests will include ECG founders and current leaders, climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer (who was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007), and Academy Award Nominated Actor, Michael Shannon. Mingle and enjoy complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, and hear from ECG founders and Michael Oppenheimer. At 9:30, Michael Shannon's band Corporal will play a set for us! Space is limited for this event, click here to register now!

You can read more about the day's events on our blog.

Thank you to our current sponsors, REI, the Anderson-Rogers Foundation, Jeffrey & Ileen Doppelt, Masha Mimran, Bike and Roll and Hostelling International. Sponsorship opportunities are available; contact us at if you’d like to sponsor our kickoff event, or join our 20th Anniversary Giving Circle and be recognized at all 20th anniversary events.

$20 for 20 - Help the ECG in our 20th Year!

A dream only 20 years ago, the East Coast Greenway is now a 2,900 mile route accessible to over 40 million people in their communities throughout the Eastern Seaboard. And it's YOU, our members, supporters, and volunteers who have made this happen.

Our goals for 2012 are to place signage on another 500 miles of our route (100% growth), designate at least 65 miles of new greenway (10% growth), and expand our network beyond 16,000 crucial volunteers and supporters. We are dedicated to realizing our founders' vision of a fully off-road East Coast Greenway separated from car traffic. But we need your help to do it!

Our members are the foundation of our success - without your membership dues and donations, we could not have the resources we need to work with your states and local communities to create more ECG trail. Your donations directly support advocating for new trail, placing new signage, providing maps and cue sheets, and educating the public about the ECG.

Can you help us continue our greenway progress with a tax-deductible contribution of $20 to celebrate our 20th year? (You can easily donate online, mail us your donation, or call 919-797-0619.)


This trail is YOUR trail!

If you haven't yet joined the ECG, a donation of at least $20 between now and December 20th will get you a year's membership - half off our regular price! As a member, you will be part of the national treasure that is the ECG, and you'll get discounts on ECG rides and gear!

You can easily join online (enter $20 in the donation form), mail us your membership, or call us at 919-797-0619. Join before Dec. 20th to get this special rate! (This special offer also counts for gift memberships, if you want to give the gift of the ECG this holiday season!)

Thank you for your support! Together we are revolutionizing transportation for health, community, the economy, and the environment, one trail at a time.

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ECG Spotlight - The Founding of the ECG
ECG Founders - Ten People with a Vision

On the day after Thanksgiving, November 29, 1991, a group of 10 visionaries involved in bicycle and pedestrian advocacy, urban planning, and parks and recreation met at the Amsterdam Youth Hostel in Manhattan to develop the idea of an off-road trail that would go through cities from Boston to Washington, DC.

The idea of creating a greenway along the eastern seaboard had emerged in the 1980s. Cycling advocates and planners including Tom Pendleton, bicycle pedestrian planner for Washington, DC, and David Lutz, NYC bicycle advocate, proposed linking trails between DC and New York. The idea gained momentum, and by the fall of 1991, twenty people attended a special session to discuss an East Coast Greenway at the East Coast Bicycle Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

NYC planner Karen Votava, who was working on a citywide greenway system for New York at the time, suggested at that session that a group should meet to set a strategy. She and David Lutz offered to host this meeting in New York City.

The 10 people who attended the initial meeting were Toby Brandt of New York, Dan Convissor of New Jersey, Mary Frances Dunham of New York, Aldo Ghirin of New York, Patricia King of Boston, David Lutz of New York, Tom Pendleton of Washington, Chris Squires of Connecticut, Karen Votava of New York, and Ken Withers of Boston.

Dennis in Key West

According to Karen Votava, who became the ECG's first Executive Director, the founders defined the ECG's vision, mission and goals in that initial meeting. The group affirmed that the trail would ultimately be off-road, and that volunteer committees in each state would advocate for the Greenway and be the foundation of the Alliance. The founders also decided that the group would be membership-based, with the members ensuring that the organization stay true to its mission.

The founding members also decided to do a month-long bike tour from Boston to DC the following summer to explore and promote the new route. This was an excellent way to spread excitement and gain support for the emerging East Coast Greenway as they spoke with leaders and citizens in communities along the way.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the ECG this weekend, we are so very thankful to our founders for their vision, ambition, and courage in starting the East Coast Greenway. The vision and mission they created in that first meeting still guide the ECGA today. Their hard work laid the foundation for what is now a 2,900 mile continuous route accessible to 40 million people on the Eastern Seaboard. Founders, we thank you and we salute you!

-- Thank you to Karen Votava for providing the information in this article.

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ECGA In the News

We've been getting some great press lately as trail progress is made along different parts of our greenway. Here are some recent media highlights:

Rails to Trails Highlights the ECG's Down East Sunrise Trail

Black Creek Greenway Added to ECG in Cary, NC

Durham's ATT Bridge Out for Re-Bid - Due December 15th

Update on Federal Bike/Ped Funding:

Senate Rejects Paul's Amendment to Cut Bike/Ped Funding

Special guests at our 20th Anniversary Celebration in the news:

UN Panel Finds Climate Change Linked to Extreme Weather

NY Times Reviews Michael Shannon's Latest Film

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ECG News Online is a publication of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, a national not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting the establishment, preservation, sound management, and safe use and enjoyment of the East Coast Greenway, a 3000-mile, continuous route linking seaboard cities and towns from Maine to Florida. It aims to be 100% traffic-free.

Support the Greenway by becoming a member of the ECGA or sponsoring a mile of trail today.

Get Involved! Volunteer, write a letter, help spread the word...learn about all the ways you can help create the ECG.

Comments? Suggestions? News? Contact the ECGA at

Learn more about the East Coast Greenway by visiting our website, or call us at (919) 797-0619.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Copyright 2011 East Coast Greenway Alliance