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Messages - GSullivan

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Hi Twilight,

We developed the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route to honor history of that time and showcase the amazing bravery of the freedom seekers and safe havens provided for them during a dark time in our history. We have done a few historic themed routes, including the Lewis and Clark Bicycle Trail, to commemorate the corridors that explorers took during that part of history. The idea behind honoring the UGRR was a request by our members and we partnered directly with the University of Pittsburgh Center for Minority Health (the center has since changed it's name to The Center for Health Equity). With their assistance we developed and were guided in this project by an advisory group made up of civil rights advocates, minority health experts, UGRR experts, and others to help us translate and portray the history accurately. The National Park Service UGRR Network to Freedom was also an important partner in this project.

The route is honorary in nature as there was no "one" route freedom seekers took to escape slavery. We choose a route based on a spiritual called "Follow the Drinking Gourd" however since developing the corridor of the route, researchers have questioned the songs authenticity. Our partner historians acknowledge this but also provided context that the song was at least related to true spirituals and provided a guide for us to follow for a one dimensional route.

The Center for Minority Health's interest in working with us on the bike route was an effort to encourage African Americans and all American's to learn this history by human powered means. The bicycle is a wonderful way to see, feel, learn and experience movement, history, and culture while improving your health.  Since the inception of the route(s), we've worked with people who take students on the UGRR as an experiential learning opportunity and it's inspired people from all walks of life to understand the circumstances around the complex and horrific realities of the time both previous to and after the civil war.

I would like to respond to all your comments and would love to talk with you about the process and reasons for this route. I am out of the office until next week 3/18), but please call 406-721-1776 and ask for me, Ginny Sullivan. I take your concerns very seriously and want to make sure I respond completely.

I would also like to add that you are quite right, much of the content on the website is old and links are broken. It wasn't our intention to let this information go lapse and we are very appreciative that you've brought this to our attention. We are working to fix that immediately.

Thank you for your thoughtful questions. I hope we can connect via phone very soon.

Best regards,
Ginny Sullivan, Director of Travel Initiatives

They actually do offer touring, but you have to get to it through the mountain biking category. I know, it's confusing.

I'm posting this on behalf of Outdoor Alliance, hoping some people who have bicycled through the Custer Gallantin NF (either on their own trip, or Lewis and Clark Bicycle Trails or TransAm - both of which go through the forest) see this and can take the survey. Please note, when you open up the survey, you must choose "mountain biking" even as a touring/cross country cyclist. I gave OA my feedback on the confusing nature of this category so hopefully that will be changed in the future.

Thank you, Ginny Sullivan
Director of Travel Initiatives.

- - -

The Custer Gallatin National Forest stretches across 3.2 million acres of public land from West Yellowstone, Montana to Camp Crook, South Dakota. It is home to Montana’s highest peaks, wild whitewater from the Gallatin River to Big Timber Creek, and world-class ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon. Opportunities for mountain biking, rock climbing, backcountry skiing, and hiking are also abundant across the forest.

We will use the results of this survey to understand and quantify the economic impact of outdoor recreation in Montana. Economic impact data is a powerful tool Outdoor Alliance will use to protect human-powered outdoor recreation on the Custer Gallatin, which is currently in the middle of forest planning.

Take the survey today to help improve outdoor recreation in Montana.

Thank you!

Outdoor Alliance

Hi PeanutButterShammyCream,

Thanks for posting your comment to our forums. We take this information very seriously due to the crashes that have happened in KS (three crashes in three different locations and all involved the TransAmerica Race). The good news is we are actively working and communicating with the KS DOT. In addition, we are sending a route researcher out later this summer to look at options/gather road and traffic conditions. We are presently meeting with the DOT weekly and researching each crash that's happened in KS, including the one that happened by Scott City. In the coming weeks, we'll be sending the KS DOT a report summarizing information about each crash, providing information about what our route researcher found; then we will include recommendations to them for improving conditions and safety. 

In speaking to one of our TransAm tour leaders, harvest time puts more of these semi's on the roads. I'll add working with the trucking community to  the list of recommendations. Have a great time on your trip and stay safe. Thanks again for your comment.

Ginny Sullivan

Routes / Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« on: June 26, 2018, 07:21:33 pm »
The Ohio to Erie Trail is also one on my bucket list.

And the Western New England Greenway includes some fabulous trails.

So many great places to choose from. Good luck!

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak - Vancouver (Canada) to Seattle
« on: October 11, 2017, 04:23:33 pm »
Hi everyone - thanks for helping answer Neil's questions about Amtrak's bike service on the Cascades. You are all on the right path - boxing the remaining 2 bikes as checked baggage is possible. For the other 10, it's very important to make the bike reservation so all 10 are accommodated. As for the boxed, checked baggage option, some station managers get confused regarding this option, so it would be good to reference this page when you check your boxes: You will find all the relevant information about bicycle accommodations on Amtrak located here in an easy to find format.

In addition, please note all the great tools we have regarding planning a bike trip and using Amtrak.

Our map overlay tool:
And a trip planning spreadsheet that can help you with transfers:

Thanks again - and Neil I hope you all have a great trip to the Northwest
Cheers! Ginny from Adventure Cycling

Routes / Re: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« on: September 15, 2017, 11:59:47 am »
Hi everyone -

I'm going to weigh in on this discussion on behalf of Adventure Cycling. Unfortunately, we don't have the resources to sign the Great Divide, but more importantly, the jurisdictions (as John pointed out) would have to agree to the signs - whatever they might be - and in many cases they would have to pay for them, place them and maintain them. We know from coordinating the U.S. Bicycle Route System how complicated and costly this can be. I love the idea of the small swatches and that might be something we can work on in the future, noting that there will be hundreds of land managers (USFS, counties, BLM, townships, cities) that would have to agree. So, we'd have to grow staff and/or volunteer workforce to make that happen.

John also mentioned town campgrounds, we do have an effort to get more towns and land agencies to put up bike camps, hiker/biker sites and no-turn-away policies. For the camping sites, we are mostly focused on National Parks and State Park systems, however we work with a great number of small towns on how they can install bike camps like the one in Twin Bridges,  MT and Ovando, MT - Ovando sees over 1000 GDMBR cyclists come through their town of 65 residents. This has had a big and positive impact on them. Here is more information from our website:

and bike camps

Thanks for the great discussion and ideas. We do listen. We do pay attention. Be sure to take our surveys when they come your way so we can continue to serve you to the best of our abilities.

Cheers, Ginny Sullivan

General Discussion / Re: MRT (Mississippi River Trail)
« on: February 08, 2017, 11:25:48 am »
Hi Bicycle Ranger,

The MRT does still exist but the non-profit group that supported its development has ceased to exist in any formal state. While parts of the MRT are also the Great River Road, not all of it co-aligns. I think you might be able to find archived info about the MRT on this website: and Bob Robinson wrote a trail guide:

The MRT is being supported through the National Geographic Geo Tourism project: and individual state trail projects. Iowa and MN are the best supported/developed. Minnesota's section of the MRT is also designated as UBR 45 (see and then search Maps and Route Resources). You can find DOT maps of the route: and Iowa:

I believe there is also a great deal of traction around Memphis and the MRT due to the opening of the Harahan Bridge. I found this site which offers some links:

I hope all this helps!

Hi -

Yes, we hear you. We've met several times with Yellowstone NP but haven't made much impact. Our local partner, Tim Young from WY Pathways is meeting with Supt and staff again in late Oct. and we'll be passing along our concerns about the road closure and some other issues that we've recently heard about from some touring cyclists from Tennessee.

Thanks for your post and letting us know about the closure and the growing issue concerning lack of bicycle accommodations in Yellowstone.

General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« on: April 15, 2014, 11:40:03 am »
Hi All -

Thanks for engaging in this topic. I'm actually happy to report that we are making progress with Amtrak. This January, Adventure Cycling and Amtrak formed a Bicycle Task Force to work on several initiatives for helping make Amtrak more friendly to bicycles. Here is the vision statement: Amtrak officials, passenger rail association members, bicycle and trail advocates, and transportation officials are convening a Task Force to address both long-term and short-term goals for improving bicycle access and services. The Task Force will build the business case for bicycles/cyclists on Amtrak, and will oversee pilot project(s) within the Northeast region that will facilitate and document design solutions, potential policy changes and communication strategies for better bicycle service.

We are working on choosing two pilot projects in the next month. One will be on a long corridor and one will be on a short corridor in the North East region. The routes chosen will depend on a long laundry list of things - funding, local and/or state agency support, cars, platform accommodations, operational limitations, etc. But the Amtrak officials and the bicycle, passenger rails advocates are dedicated to make the pilots successful. 

Stay tuned for more information, we'll be announcing more progress publicly as we determine which lines we'll be piloting and figuring out the business case and how we can make the pilots work across numerous Amtrak lines. If you wish to be included in the "milestone updates" please contact the travel initiatives department and we'll put you on the email list.

Ginny Sullivan
Director of Travel Initiatives

Routes / Re: Suitability mapping?
« on: November 07, 2011, 11:56:39 am »
Hi All,
I thought I would chime in - for several reasons.
1) Suitability maps - I think through your discussion you've covered the fact that suitability maps are often not very complete and that they depend upon how "deep" the DOT will dig in on road conditions. Often the DOT will only work with itself - and won't coordinate on these types of things with counties and municipalities. Thus, you get a suitability map that only has conditions on state owned roads. Not very helpful.
2)ODOT - well, hello John Nettles. It's interesting to see you posting about OK on the forum. I was just at the Oklahoma Bike Summit wherein many state and city planners and engineers joined in a full-day session on bike facility design. the OK Bike Coalition did a fabulous job attracting ODOT and city agencies to the training and I believe some eyes were really opened. On Saturday, I did a session on bicycle tourism but only a few agency people were there - an ODOT planner and the tourism bureau (who is taking over Scenic Byway program!). OK has some great potential but it will take a coordinated effort between tourism, cities and the organized bicycling community pushing ODOT to step up and do something for cyclists. It just isn't their bag - yet.
3) the BAD news is that while today the DOTs are federally mandated to have a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator AND spend money on things for bicyclists, under the new bill being proposed by the Senate - and Oklahoma's Senator Coburn, there will no longer be a pot of money dedicated. Things will be eligible...but we will be in competition with HOV lanes, environmental mitigation and worst of all, there is an opt out. While we have some time (the current bill has an extension until end of March) the EPW committee has said they won't accept any amendments and will vote as a block.

We have the fight of our lives ahead, especially for states, like OK, who are just getting ready to start implementing more bicycle and pedestrian practices. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to support the OK Bike Coalition. They are going to need a lot of voices in order to be heard.

As for suitability maps, I feel, personally, these aren't very helpful. States are so inconsistent. That's why the U.S. Bicycle Route System is such a great option. Local cyclists identify great through routes between destinations and these are most likely NOT on state owned roads. It is mapped and promoted and someday - signed for cyclists. In OK i think the best opportunity at the moment to get a good bicycle map is by working with the Tourism bureau. They get it, but it means the cyclists will have to do ALL of the grunt work.

Thanks for a great discussion. I hope you find I contributed to it. Ginny Sullivan

Canada / Re: ACA Maps for Canada
« on: May 20, 2010, 05:24:38 pm »
Hi folks, Ginny Sullivan entering the conversation here. ACA is developing some routes in Canada - mostly Ontario with the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route which enters Ontario at Buffalo, NY and terminates in Owen Sound. We're now working on a new Alternate to that route that will enter into Ontario in Detroit and link back to the main route in Owen Sound - creating a US-Canada loop!

As for the U.S. Bicycle Route System, the interest in connecting these routes into Canada is definitely there. It would be helpful if Canada's provincial governments had a designated person to help us coordinate an official system (I believe Quebec is the only Ministry of Transport that has a person designated to work on biking??). That being said, we'll be working with local organizations and that will help us connect with Canada's local groups on best routes. It might take awhile, we're focused on getting the U.S. system in place but I know the border states are very interested in working the routes into Canada. And yes, La Route Verte was included in our planning for the US Bike Route System.

Living in Montana, one of those border states, I very much see the value of making the system continental - like EuroVelo.

Sorry I am so tardy getting back to you on the state of the federal transportation bill. As of now, it's slated to stay as an extension until end of Dec 2010. Congress/Senate must come up with revenues to fund a transportation bill - sustainable funding. Right now, with the trust fund bankrupt, the general fund is financing SAFE TEA-LU extension.

There is good news however, Secretary of the US DOT, Ray Lahood is all in favor of livability and has developed a new bike/ped policy that emphasizes a change in the way DOTs do business.

Read Ray's blog: Fast Lane
Read the policy:

We do have people working on the USBRS in Oregon. Cycle Oregon's route researcher has picked up the ball and is drafting routes for the system. This is a great first step.

As for a TransAm mountain bike route, I haven't heard of anything like that but a likely place to look would be the website. this lists ALL the bike routes and trails for Oregon with interactive maps, feedback and services. It's done by Travel Oregon.

Enjoy! and Welcome to the Forums.

Corridor 20 Implementation / Re: Updates from all over
« on: March 29, 2010, 02:22:13 pm »
Nice Work!

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