Harrison OKs bike route development

CADIZ — During the recent commission meeting in Harrison County, officials approved the development of various U.S. and state bicycle routes.

According to the commissioners, bicycle tourism is a growing industry in North America that contributes $198 billion a year to the economies of communities that provide facilities for such tourists.

Harrison County Commissioner Paul Coffland said the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials have designated a series of corridors crossing Ohio to be developed as U.S. bicycle routes. The Ohio Department of Transportation also is designating various corridors in Ohio to be developed as state bicycle routes.

Coffland said ODOT and the AASHTO are collaborating with affected jurisdictions, such as Harrison County, to inventory, analyze and designate specific facilities the routes will traverse.

The Harrison County commissioners, Conotton Creek Trail Committee and the Adventure Cycling Association will be cooperating with ODOT and other stakeholders to designate specific routes in the county to become U.S. and state bicycle routes. The commissioners said they have investigated the Conotton Trail and determined it to be a suitable route. It has been proposed for mapping and for ODOT and the AASHTO to sign off on in hopes of promoting bicycle tourism in the area.

Coffland added the route may change over time because new facilities are being constructed that are more suitable for bicyclists.

“We continue to support this growing segment of recreation. The Conotton Creek Trail Committee has done an outstanding job not only maintaining but improving their trail,” Coffland said. “This goes hand in hand with our existing trails and tourism promotion in Harrison County.”

Once the route is approved by the AASHTO, there may be efforts to publicize the route via Internet maps, incorporating the routes on local maps. Tourism agencies may be involved in these efforts as well, officials said.