East Cooper Land Trust continues to lead the effort to create an off-road public-use bike and pedestrian trail that would connect the Cooper River to the Santee River and preserve connectivity between communities and natural greenspaces. We envision someone living in downtown Charleston being able to bike all the way to the Francis Marion National Forest. The East Cooper Trail vision includes 82 miles of trails throughout the East Cooper area routing through existing parks and natural areas of interest where possible, as opposed to routing along highways. In fall of 2015 we conducted an Economic Impact Study for the trail that reported more than $87 million in total benefits per year to the Charleston Region when the trail is built. An alternative to motorized transportation will reduce carbon emissions, create family-friendly routes which will connect people to nature and the environment, promote exercise and health initiatives that reduce the need for medical funding, and contribute greatly to the local tourism revenue.
The completed East Cooper Trail will dramatically shape the ability of countless residents and tourists in Charleston County to get out and live more active, healthier lifestyles. It will help to generate over 3.6 million more bicycling and walking trips, remove over 4.8 million pounds of pollutants from the atmosphere, and spur over 424,000 new hours of physical activity.