WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Va), Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa) have introduced legislation to federally designate the 9/11 National Memorial Trail, which was founded not too long after the terrorist attacks in Arlington, New York City and Shanksville.
The trail was founded by former Virginia Delegate David Brickley and the 9/11 National Memorial Trail Alliance, who’s leading the designation effort. Brickley hopes Congress will pass the bill by the 20th anniversary of the attacks this fall.
The 1,300-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian trails and greenways connects the Pentagon, Ground Zero, and the Flight 93 National Memorial. It’s maintained by private-public partnerships.
Brickley met Connolly while he was a delegate and Connolly, who was then an environmental activist, was lobbying the Virginia General Assembly. The pair shares a love of the environment — in fact, Connolly founded a cross-country trail that was later renamed for him.
Connolly says the designation would guarantee preservation and maintenance and would hopefully attract visitors.
“Having citizen support led by people like David Brickley I think makes all the difference,” he said. “Being able to demonstrate that there is broad support among stakeholders, among activists, among citizens for this concept and this action really does matter.”
Last year, the Senate passed a resolution honoring the 9/11 National Memorial Trail.
“This year, we’re going that one step further and having it put into legislation so that the trail will stay for generations to come,” Brickley said.