I am writing you today about our experience with the American Tobacco Trail in Apex, NC. Ron Polk, a member of the Joseph Branch Trail Consortium, asked me to share my story with you.

Living in a rural part of Wake County, North Carolina, our property adjoined an old railroad track that was no longer in use. A group of people formed to create the Planning Board of the American Tobacco Trail to turn the rail bed into a recreational trail for runners, cyclists, horseback riders and individuals wanting to spend time in nature.

With being accustomed to the peace and quiet of rural life, we were opposed to the trail and went as far as to join a group to halt the trail being created. There was talk of people on the trail trespassing, stealing or vandalizing personal property and threats to personal safety. After numerous public meetings the American Tobacco Trail (ATT) was approved. Work began on the initial six mile portion of the trail which has been expanded to 26 miles currently.

At first, we were unhappy with the fact that we could see people using the trail from our home. As the months went by (without a single incident) we began using the trail for walks with our dog. I purchased a bike and began riding the length of the trail multiple times per week. We met neighbors/friends out taking in the fresh air, exercising and enjoying nature. As time passed, we became ardent supporters of the ATT. Walking year round, we never experienced any issues. People that use the trail were respectful of others, we rarely saw any litter and of course, picked it up if we did. Running and biking events were held on the trail. The ATT became a very popular trail that promoted clean outdoor activity. In fact, we advertised the easy access to the ATT to sell our home in Apex three years ago.

I hope that this letter provides insight from a landowner’s perspective that was once opposed, then had his mind changed by experiencing all the benefits of living next to the ATT.

John Musselwhite

Sugar Grove, VA

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