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. The completed trail will be the local route for the greater East Coast Greenway, which stretches from Main to Florida. East Cooper Land Trust staff serve on the East Coast Greenway steering committee to ensure the best route possible through East Cooper.
In the 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.
Various partners work with East Cooper Land Trust to complete safe segments within the comprehensive vision of the trail. The following displays progress made to date.
||Miles in progress
||Miles left to complete the East Cooper Trail vision