Southern Tip Bike & Hike Trail

 

If You Go...

 

  • Trail starts at Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (VC) parking lot (mile marker 0.0)
  • There are parking and bathroom facilities at the Refuge Welcome Center.
  • Continues north to Cedar Grove Drive- 2.6 miles (parallel to Rt. 13’s northbound lanes).
  • At Cedar Grove Drive there is another constructed parking lot- no bathroom facilities. 
  • Continues north from Cedar Grove Drive to Capeville Drive- 2.4 miles.

  • Ends just south of Cape Center (crosses Townsend Drive) 
  • Approximately 5.0 miles total in one direction. 
  • Trail 10-foot wide, asphalt surface, 2-foot wide shoulders (14-foot total)
  • Bike repair stations and benches are dispersed along the trail. 
  • Use for walking and bikes (no horses, ATVs, golf carts) 


 

 

Southern Tip Bike & Hike Trail Dedication
Posted on 05/21/2019

 Collage of Bike Trail Ribbon Cutting

Collage photo credit: Jean E. Flynn

"May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.”
- https://www.bikeleague.org/bikemonth

What better way to celebrate National Bike Month than with the opening of Phase II of the Southern Tip Bike and Hike Trail which adds another 2.4 miles to the already existing 2.6 miles of trail. According to the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, "The Southern Tip Bike/ Hike Trail is a paved path approximately 5 miles long that carries cyclists and walkers from the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge to the recently completed trail head near Capeville Road. Offering scenic views and easy elevation, the trail is good for all skill levels."

A dedication ceremony was held Friday, May 17, 2019 at 2 PM at the end of the trail in Capeville, Virginia.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

From left to right: Jill Bieri, Robert Leffel, Sen. Lynwood Lewis, Del. Robert Bloxom, Craig Seaver
Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn

In attendance for the ribbon cutting was Jill Bieri, Director of The Nature Conservancy Virginia Coast Reserve; John Coker, Board of Supervisor member for District 1; Senator Lynwood Lewis; Delegate Robert Bloxom;  Director of Virginia State Parks, Craig Seaver; and Robert Leffel of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Kathy Lewis and Tracey Dedicatoria of Eastern Shore Health District represented Virginia Department of Health and were there to confirm the trail is ADA Accessible. Also in attendance were many members of the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission including Regional Planner, Clara Vaughn who coordinated the dedication ceremony.

The second-grade class of Kiptopeke Elementary School got into the spirit of the day by taking a mile hike on the trail before the dedication ceremony.

Deputy Scott stops at the crosswalk with Kiptopeke ES 2nd grade class
Deputy Jennifer Scott took a walk with the 2nd graders to keep them safe while crossing Capeville Rd. to attend the ceremony but also for the pleasure of walking this beautiful trail with happy, energetic kids.
Photo Credit: William Dyas


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Trail Features: Trail 10-foot wide, asphalt surface, 2-foot wide shoulders (14-foot total)

Public Bike Fix Station Bike tools

Bike Fix Station complete with tools and a place to lift the bike. 

It is clear from the comments made by the special guests that many agencies came together for this project seeing the benefit of a healthier Northampton County community and a boost in economic development.
Jill Bieri, Director of The Nature Conservancy Virginia Coast Reserve recognized, “how important recreational trails are. We know it’s important to our local economy. We’re excited that a trail like this can help connect our rural community. It really helps to keep our community healthy.”

The trail was built on property previously held by The Nature Conservancy that once was the route of a former railroad operation. The Nature Conservancy donated part of the easement and land for the trail.

John Coker, Board of Supervisor member for District 1 where the trail is located, commended all the partners who came together to make this “beautiful asset for Northampton County and the Eastern Shore. This has been a long time coming. So much work has gone into this bike trail network. "

Coker continued, "Planning began in the year 2000, nineteen years ago. Eastern Shore of VA bicycle plan which was signed off for and approved by both counties Accomack and Northampton was approved in 2004- so 15 years ago is when we got together and said ‘let’s do this.’ The Northampton County bicycle committee was formed in 2006. The first leg of the trail which is 2.6 miles was finished in 2011 so we’ve made a lot of progress by government standards in not much time. This is a great asset for economic development for the county. It’s also a great piece of tourism infrastructure. There were a lot of people who supported it and have done a lot of work.
This is for everyone: citizens, tourists and bikers. This trail provides a great way to get some exercise by jumping on your bike, taking a walk in a beautiful setting. It helps Northampton County be a healthier community.”

John Coker and members of the dedication ceremony

From left to right: Subrina Parker, Principal of Kiptopeke Elementary School; John Coker, Board of Supervisor member for District 1; Jill Bieri, Director of Virginia Coast Reserve; Tracey Dedicatoria, representing VDH/ Eastern Shore Health District; Senator Lynwood Lewis. 
Photo Credit: Jean E. Flynn

According to the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, “Planning a comprehensive bicycle trail network for the Eastern Shore region of Virginia began in the year 2000. The Eastern Shore of Virginia Bicycle Plan was completed and adopted by Accomack County and Northampton County in June 2004. The plan identified proposed routes and destinations following Virginia Department of Transportation standards for bicycle facilities. A Northampton County Bicycle Committee was formed in January 2006 to begin the development of a bicycle trail within the county – the first leg of this trail is the 2.6 mile stretch from the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge north and parallel to and on the east side of Route 13.”

The long-term plan for the bike and hike trail is to eventually have a 25-mile round trip trail that would make “Northampton County a premier destination for bicyclists and walking enthusiasts by adding to the tourism infrastructure and bringing in additional transient occupancy tax dollars. It would provide an alternative to driving a car to work for some of our citizens or a safe route to shopping for those without a motorized vehicle. The trail provides a premier outdoor experience for anyone using it – locals or tourists and connects important natural assets – Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, Kiptopeke State Park, Cape Charles Natural Area. This 5.3-mile stretch is the ‘first leg’ of the Eastern Shore of Virginia trail system that would eventually connect with Maryland’s trails on Delmarva.”

Phase III and IV of the bike/hike trails are in the final phase of a feasibility study.

Senator Lynwood Lewis spoke about the benefits of a multi-use trail bringing an economic boon for Northampton County. Lewis stated, “Recreational infrastructure investment is important for economic development potential and also for quality of life that it offers all of our citizens. In Northampton alone you’ve got 78-million-dollar impact from tourism and recreational efforts. When we make these policy decisions it’s important to defend the positive impacts these investments have. I hope going forward we continue to be ambitious and robust as we move on into the next phase of this trail project.”

Delegate Robert Bloxom saw this as an “important next step” to completing the larger vision of a 25 mile round trip trail.

The Director for Virginia State Parks, Craig Seaver emphasized how important parks and recreation are to healthy communities. “Education is just one of the many parts of the health and recreation aspects of these types of trails, State Parks, County Parks, local recreation has a phenomenal impact on our society today. Health and recreation are so important in today’s society for obesity and childhood diabetes and all of those things. In fact, state parks just started a program called ‘Parks Rx America’ with doctors that can prescribe prescriptions to spend 3 times a week 20 minutes a day walking in a park. It doesn’t have to be a state park. It can be a county park. It can be a multi-use trail like this one. “

Phases I and II of the Southern Tip Bike Trail were funded and constructed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge.

Seaver went on to talk about the important role parks play in economic development. “Virginia Tech does a study for the parks every year and 268 million dollars is generated in the Commonwealth and a lot of State parks are in rural areas so it’s a vital part of the economy there. Kiptopeke State park is an 8.3-million-dollar impact.
Tourism is economic development and parks can play a big role in that. Health, education and community building are all very important. We’re glad to be a partner in this and represent a piece of the Shore. It’s all about partnerships and relationships because that’s how we get it done. And this is a great example of how it should work: Private, public, non-profit all working together for the betterment of the community. That’s the way government is supposed to work.”

With so many agencies working together putting in the effort it takes to instigate, plan and complete this 5-mile portion of the Southern Tip Bike/Hike Trail, everything else seems like a walk in the park.





The second grade class 'Kippers' of Kiptopeke Elementary School took a hike along the Southern Tip Bike/Hike Trail to celebrate the opening of Phase II of the trail on May 17, 2019. 

Sources:

ANPDC Bike-Plan FINAL-DRAFT 4-September-2014

ANPDC Phase-III-Southern-Tip-Bike-Hike-Trail-Information

Accomack-Northampton-Planning-District-Commission/transportation-planning/plans-projects/

https://www.fws.gov/

https://www.bikeleague.org/bikemonth



Jean Flynn
Website Content Coordinator
Northampton County, VA