Active SWV’s Pedestrian, Bike, Trail Program Overview
Andrew Davis has served as Active Southern West Virginia’s Pedestrian, Bike and Trail Coordinator for over two years. Through his AmeriCorps Vista position, he assisted in implementing the goals of the Active SWV Bike/Walk program which seeks to improve transportation and trail infrastructure in the region. The outcomes of these projects allow citizens and visitors to southern West Virginia to walk, hike, bike and exercise on a connected network of safe streets, rail trails and hiking trails. To accomplish this goal, Andy has helped to introduce the concept of Bike and Pedestrian Action Committees (BPACs), whereby communities in our region can create their own safe streets and trails with assistance from Active SWV and its step by step BPAC Manual.
Andy grew up riding bikes in Georgia where he also pursued his studies in Environmental Sciences at Georgia College and State University. While there he was also exposed to various trail projects that were helping revitalize communities, sparking his interest to become more involved with connecting people to the outdoors with trails. Andy started working with Active Southern West Virginia in February 2016 and immediately began working with the community of Mount Hope as a model for the Bike/Walk program.
Active SWV has been working to combine the Bike/Walk program with the Community Captains program to help train individuals and groups who are interested in becoming leaders in their community. Some of Andy’s accomplishments through Active Southern West Virginia include:
Mount Hope pilot projects designed to be replicated across the region:
- Planning the development of the Mount Hope Rail Trail by bringing together stakeholders, negotiating purchase arrangements, and planning design funding.
- Installing fitness stations and a walking path in Mount Hope. http://woay.tv/mount-hope-phoenix-fitness-trail/
- Installation of Share the Road signs.
- Facilitating the adoption of a Complete Streets Policy in Mount Hope. https://activeswv.org/mount-hope-city-council-passes-complete-streets-policy
- Submitting and receiving Honorable Mention for the City of Mount Hope to be a Bicycle Friendly City by the League of American Bicyclist. https://visitwv.com/article/bike-trail-runs/
- Facilitating the funding and planning of a community mural in downtown Mt. Hope featuring the many assets of the New River Gorge.
- Acquired funding for installation of bike repair stations in Mount Hope and Beckley. https://activeswv.org/bike-racks-on-public-buses
Accomplishments across the region:
- Installation of bicycle racks on the public transportation. https://activeswv.org/bike-racks-on-public-buses
- Creating a Beckley Bike and Pedestrian Action Committee (BPACs)
- Assisting in the installation of a connector path from WVU Tech Beckley campus to the YMCA of Southern WV.
- Initiated Bicycle Friendly Business designations in Fayetteville.
- Organizing kid’s bike safety rodeos
- Trail maintenance and mountain bike classes at Fayette County 4-H camp
- Writing a “Creating a Bike/Walk Community” how-to manual
- Recruiting for trail work days and Adopt a Trail volunteers. https://activeswv.org/adopt-a-trail-walking-with-purpose
- Recruiting volunteers to provide bike valet opportunities for attendees at Bridge Day 2016 and 2017.
- Assisted in starting a group bike ride program on the McManus Rail Trail in Beckley. www.activeswv.org/events
- Compiling a trail inventory web page for recreation users. https://activeswv.org/resources2017
Active SWV’s Executive Director, Melanie Seiler, appreciatleively says, “The growth of Active Southern West Virginia is due in large part to Andy Davis’s consistent dedication to projects around the region. He began great momentum for the Active SWV Bike/Walk program by giving many motivating yet realistic presentations on the ways to improve the health of small communities in southern West Virginia. Andy has now become recognizable in each of these small towns and is some times referred to as the mayor. His eloquent speech and thorough writing skills have delivered a clear message across the region that the health of our residents is a top priority for their success. It has been a privilege to work along side Andy and I am excited for the places and opportunities he finds next.”
In August, Andy will be starting a graduate program at Indiana University studying Municipal Sustainability. He hopes to continue working with communities seeking to revitalize and repurpose natural and built assets. He says, “If there’s one thing I think any town could use more of, it’s trails! If you’ve ever had an idea about an activity you would like to do, pitch it to Active SWV. Our network of staff and volunteers are here to help you get out and do the things you want to do. You can be a leader!”
We invite you to volunteer with us at Active Southern West Virginia as a Community Captain to unite community members with free physical activity programming and a greater network of safe and accessible trails. Contact us today!
Stay up to date with Active SWV Bike/Walk news and events on facebook here.
Growing up Andy was part of a Boy Scout Troop that frequently went on hiking, canoeing, and other camping trips. In his spare time he was always riding his bike or trouncing through the woods. His church youth group took trips to WV each Presidents’ Day to go skiing at Timberline.
Andy spent a summer in West Virginia in 2009 training as a whitewater raft guide before moving back to Georgia to finish school. Active SWV was how he found a way to move here full time and enjoy boating, camping, and hiking with his brown dog.