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The Eastern Shore Trail, one of Alabama's 15 National Recreation Trails, is a 24 mile greenway/urban trail/bikeway for pedestrians and slow cylists. The multi-use path of varying widths and surfaces travels along the Easten Shore of Mobile Bay from US Hwy 98 at Gator Alley in Daphne to Weeks Bay on Scenic Hwy 98. Teko Wiseman, founder of the Baldwin County Trailblazers - the organization responsible for the Trail’s development - envisioned a safe, scenic route connecting historic Mobile with the communities along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. Hwy 90, locally known as the Causeway, is a 7 mile Share the Road Connector linking Mobile's Battleship Park to the Eastern Shores Trail's northern trailhead at Gator Alley. The Trail then travels south mostly along Scenic Hwy 98 through Spanish Fort, Daphne, Montrose, Fairhope, Point Clear, the Y-Weeks Community, and Barnwell to its end at the Weeks Bay Reserve at the mouth of Fish River.
Ever since 1995, the Baldwin County Trailblazers non-profit organization has engaged in a campaign to fund and build a continuous multi-purpose recreation trail along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay in Baldwin County, Alabama. Founder Teko Wiseman’s vision was to connect cities and towns and encourage a pedestrian and bike-friendly community. The initial challenge was to create a public appetite for sidewalks in small communities where none existed and then to connect the communities.
The Trailblazers worked with county commissioners, mayors and the local press to sell the concept. Well-known national trail enthusiasts Dan Burden, Jeff Speck, and Ed McMahon provided guidance and encouragement at Trailblazer conferences and public-input meetings.
The cities of Daphne and Fairhope, the Alabama Department of Transportation, and the Baldwin County Highway Department helped to design, produce and install both trail and trail signage and continue to provide maintenance and repairs.
The initial construction of the Trail began in 1998 in Olde Towne Daphne on Main Street (Scenic Highway 98). Construction of the final 1.5 mile segment on Scenic Hwy 98 between Co. Rd. 13 and Hwy 181 in the Barnwell area is slated to begin in late summer or early fall of 2014.
In September 2013 the Trailblazers and the Baldwin County Commission were awarded a Federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant of $308,324.00 toward this segment's construction. On December 3, 2013, the Trailblazers presented a check for $77,041 in Trailblazers-raised matching funds to the Baldwin County Commission for this final segment’s construction - the completion of the Eastern Shore Trail.
To date, the Trailblazers have written grants and helped raise matching funds for the Trail’s development and construction for a total of nearly 7 million dollars. In addition to planning and fundraising for the Trail, the organization serves as its steward: representing and advocating for it with local leaders, agencies and governments; monitoring maintenance and repair issues; addressing local and visitor questions and concerns; hosting volunteer work days to help with clean-up and beautification; promoting it as a destination attraction locally, regionally and nationally; and keeping the press and the public aware of its purpose, benefits, unique features and diverse beauty.
Gator Alley Boardwalk Opening July 10, 2013
Left to right: Daphne Beautification Committee members David Dueitt,
Selena Vaughn, Elaine Maxime, Rebecca Trosclair, Trailblazers President Valery Wiseman De Laney (in right rear amid the committee members), Tomasina Werner, and Dorothy Morrison