Rail-trails are multi-purpose public paths created from former railroad corridors. Flat or following a gentle grade, they traverse urban, suburban and rural America. Ideal for many uses, such as bicycling, walking, in-line skating, and cross-country skiing, rail-trails are extremely popular as recreation and transportation corridors.
Rail-trails also serve as wildlife conservation corridors, linking isolated parks and creating greenways through developed areas, and as a means of preserving historic landmarks. They stimulate local economies by increasing tourism and promoting local business.
LOCAL RAIL-TRAIL HISTORY
The Mon River / Caperton / Deckers Creek Rail-Trails were once the region’s busiest highways, carrying coal and coke, glass, sand, limestone and other items to distant markets. The legacies of frontier life, coal mining, quarrying, and railroading, can be found along the rail-trails and in local museums, historic sites, and antique shops.
The Deckers Creek Trail was originally the Morgantown & Kingwood Railroad when it was completed in 1905, while the Mon River Trail was the Fairmont, Morgantown, and Pittsburgh Railroad. The F M & P was completed to Morgantown in 1886 and nicknamed the “Sheepskin” by disgruntled herders, as trains scattered sheep for miles. Both lines were later acquired and operated by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
The abandoned rail corridor that is now the Mon River / Caperton / Deckers Creek Trail System, was purchased from CSX Railroad and is now held in a lease with the WV State Rail Authority. To date, over $2 million in Transportation Enhancement and Recreational Trail funds have been invested in the purchase and construction of this trail system. These funds have been further augmented by business and community donations.