LancasterThriving_Summer2017 - 33

Columbia. There are also plenty of parks and places to have
a picnic or just sit and take in all the breathtaking sights
and sounds.
Improvements to the Trail continue, with the section of trail
on the riverfront side of the railroad tracks in Marietta slated
to be paved this summer. Couple that with the educational
programming, recreational opportunities and resources
available at the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center on
Walnut Street in Columbia, and it's no wonder the number
of people using the Trail is expected to increase.
The Columbia Crossing River Trails Center first opened
its doors on March 16 of last year, and in 2016, alone, the
Center helped more than 23,000 guests at their front desk.
"This number is probably very small compared to Trail usage,
as there are five Trail access locations, as well as many hours
that the Trail is used when the Center is not open," explained
Hope Byers, manager of the Center.
As with any project of this scale, the construction of the Trail,

which has taken more than 20 years to build, was met with
some concerns from residents in the local communities
related to specific sections of the Trail. But according to
Michael Domin of County of Lancaster, many of those
concerns have dissipated since residents have begun to
see the benefits of the Trail in their communities. "Overall,
development of the Trail was supported by the communities
and entities it involved. With the recent completion of the
trail from Columbia to Bainbridge, businesses along the
route have witnessed an influx of customers and an uptick in
business. I think Marietta has benefitted the most."
With the historic, welcoming charm of the parks, homes,
restaurants and other businesses in the communities that
line the Trail, it's no wonder the local food, lodging, retail
and other industries are benefitting from the increased use
of the Trail.
"We have had very positive feedback from restaurants along

and near the Trail," said Byers. "At Susquehanna Heritage
[which operates the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center],
we work hard to drive economic development through
increased heritage and ecotourism. By managing Columbia
Crossing, we have a unique opportunity to share great
places to eat, shop and explore during a visitor's outdoor
According to Bob Shank, owner of Shank's Tavern on
Waterford Avenue in Marietta, Lancaster County's oldest
continuously operated Tavern which still retains its vintage
appeal and family atmosphere, "The Trail has brought a lot of
people in. It has been really good for the community." With
their delicious menu, including gluten-free, vegetarian and
other special dietary options, and their wide assortment of
craft beer, fine liquor and more, Shank's Tavern is sure to
attract more and more Trail users in the coming months.
Chiques Rock Outfitters has two locations in Marietta and
Columbia and offers everything you need for an adventure

on the Trail, including canoe, kayak and tandem rentals, bike
rentals, climbing equipment, guides, shuttle service, catering
and box lunches, and more. According to owner James
Cox, "We bought the Marietta property in anticipation of the
trail." He says the benefits of the Trail to his business and the
community are primarily related to exposure - "We give 50
brochures away a week - up from previous years. Most of the
businesses, to my knowledge, have seen increased bike and
automobile traffic."
For the team at Columbia Kettle Works on North 3rd Street
in Columbia, which serves a variety of beers, wines, and
cocktails, as well as snacks, meat and cheese plates and
sandwiches, the Trail has also made a positive impact on
their business. "We are only two blocks from the Columbia
Crossing trailhead," said Bill Collister. "As soon as the
trailhead opened, we began seeing bikes chained out front,


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