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Newest Segment Of The Pinellas Trail Connects To Pasco County

The newest segment of the Pinellas Trail opened Thursday, connecting it to Pasco County. It's part of a trail that will eventually allow bikers and hikers to travel all the way to the Atlantic coast.

The ribbon was cut on a five-mile segment of the trail. It now extends from East Lake Road and Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs, turning north into Pasco County. Once Pasco completes its next segment - through J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park to the Suncoast Trail- bikers will eventually be able to cross the entire state. Pinellas County Commissioner chairwoman Janet Long was on hand.

"This is a part of the Coast-to-Coast network of trails that totals 250 miles in length. Starting from the Gulf of Mexico here in Pinellas County, to the Atlantic Ocean, down in Brevard," she told people gathered in a field next to the trail.

The Coast-To-Coast Connector trail

The trail segment that opened hugs the Pinellas-Hillsborough county line, winding through farms and woodlands, with hardly any buildings in sight.

Pasco Commissioner Kathryn Starkey praised Pinellas' efforts during the ribbon-cutting, saying they're working on opening the next segment.

"I think that they have inspired people all across the country - and I bike all across the country, and I know people know the Pinellas Trail," she said. "So in Pasco County, copying someone I think, is the highest form of flattery, so we are working to copy Pinellas County in Pasco County.

Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News
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WUSF News
A nearly vacant section of the new trail, as it winds north toward Pasco County

 

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.