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Signs mark Rail Trails in Hancock

July 10, 2003

HANCOCK - Last month, Del. LeRoy Myers, R-Allegany, Washington, and Maryland Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. officially unveiled new signs along Interstate 70 promoting the Western Maryland Rail Trail in Hancock.

The June 20 ceremony, which included brief statements, took place at the Rail Trail/C&O Canal Parking area in Hancock.

"These signs along the Interstate and on the ramps will inform travelers of this wonderful opportunity for recreation in Hancock," Myers said. "Increased use of the Rail Trail will undoubtedly stimulate local commerce."

Myers worked closely with Ports and others at the State Highway Administration to get the signs installed after he was contacted about the signs in April by members of the local business community.

"This signage was a top priority for our local Chamber of Commerce," said Penny Pittman, chamber president. "A study was done to determine the economic impact that the Rail Trail would have on our community."

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The Western Maryland Rail Trail is currently about 20 miles long. Beginning about a half mile west of Fort Frederick State Park in Washington County, the trail follows the former Western Maryland Railway through Hancock.

In August 1990, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources acquired the 20.3 mile abandoned segment of the Western Maryland Railway and three lots in Hancock from CSX Transportation, Inc.

To reach Hancock and explore the western end of the trail, take exit 3 from I-70 into Hancock. Travel west on Md. 144 for 1.4 miles and turn left into the Western Maryland Rail Trail parking lot.

Myers represents District 1C, which includes Cumberland, eastern Allegany County and western Washington County.

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