Ten cyclists rode from Boston to Washington, DC, in 1992 to generate media attention for the East Coast Greenway.

Our History

Since our founding in November 1991, the East Coast Greenway Alliance has made remarkable progress in designing the route, forming partnerships, and spreading the word.

30 years of the East Coast Greenway

Join us in celebrating 30 years of the East Coast Greenway, which was founded in November 1991. What started as a dream, now boasts more than 1,000 miles of safe, protected pathways and hosts more than 50 million visits annually, becoming the most visited park in America.

East Coast Greenway | 30 years of the Greenway

Paving the Way: History Highlights

first meeting


Eight people meet at a hostel in NYC in November 1991 to establish the East Coast Greenway Alliance. They had met earlier at a bicycling conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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east coast greenway ride in pa


10 cyclists ride month-long tour of proposed route from Boston to Washington, D.C., attracting media attention and endorsements from elected officials.



Cofounder Karen Votava becomes first paid executive director, initially part time. First five segments (56 miles) are designated: Baltimore & Annapolis Trail (MD) Charter Oak Greenway (CT) Coventry Greenway (RI) Delaware & Raritan Canal Trail (NJ) Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (CT)

1998 map at board meeting


At spring meeting, board of trustees discuss route choices, working with room-size paper map.

2001 annual report


10th Anniversary State of the Trail Report, 68 pages of trail updates and descriptions, is published.

2004 sendoff


Seven cyclists ride entire Greenway from Calais, ME, to Key West, FL, in 55 days, becoming our first End-to-Enders. They raise $75,000 for the East Coast Greenway Alliance.



GQ Magazine publishes feature article by Wil Hylton on his 2005 end-to-end ride with his wife, Jenny.

new york city 2008


Sixteen major donors bike from Wilmington, Delaware, to New York City as part of a Close the Gaps Club tour.

dennis 2011 nebws


After 18 years of leadership, Karen Votava retires as executive director and hands baton to Dennis Markatos-Soriano.

with paul


Alliance hosts U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin for evening walk on the Greenway in Durham, NC, with a crowd of 200 coming along. A record 42 new Greenway segments are designated in 12 different states for a total of more than 50 miles The nonprofit FreeWalkers hold a Cross-Jersey Walking Challenge, inspiring people to walk 100 miles of the East Coast Greenway during the year.

baxter groundbreaking


We reach the milestone of 30 percent of the route off-road by designating 36 new Greenway segments totaling 40 miles. Groundbreakings continue on still more segments, like this celebration in Philadelphia with Mayor Nutter (center) at Baxter Trail.

east coast greenway 01b


East Coast Greenway reaches 1,000 miles signed and nearly 900 miles on protected, off-road greenway.

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In celebration of our organization's 25th birthday, we hosted our largest program in our history. The East Coast River Relay began in Calais, ME, and headed south to the Florida Keys, with 57 public events held along the way and 200+ partnerships strengthened.

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staff in durham


Great year of growth as protected miles along our route hit 33 percent and our staff grows to 12.

17 white oak greenway nc by dave connelly


The Greenway reached the milestone of 1,000 miles of protected, off-road trails for 35 percent completion. In addition, the Greenway hosted 50 million runs, rides and walks to become the most popular park in America.

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Fueled by a record $550 million in public investment toward East Coast Greenway completion, 660 miles of trail signed and 40 percent staff growth, 2021 was a record-setting year for Alliance.

shan and josh last day maine 0960


Ultrarunner Shan Riggs brought record media attention to the Greenway by becoming the first-known through-runner of the route. Four federal RAISE grants and $200+ in funding supported Greenway projects.

Together, let's grow the Greenway

Recent record-setting funding for design and construction goes directly to building the East Coast Greenway - as it should. TheĀ East Coast Greenway Alliance needs your support to continue our advocacy work that is fueling completion of the Greenway. The Alliance has a sustained track record of turning every dollar donated to our nonprofit into $100 in public infrastructure investment. Invest today and support the growth of the East Coast Greenway from Maine to Florida.