Board favors 'Magnolia Line Trail' for Beaufort walking, biking path

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Board favors 'Magnolia Line Trail' for Beaufort walking, biking path

Published Thursday, June 21, 2012   |  510 Words  |  

The recreational trail to be built along the former railroad tracks from Port Royal to Whale Branch should be called the Magnolia Line Trail, not the Spanish Moss Rail-Trail, Beaufort County Historic Preservation Review Board members unanimously agreed Thursday.

"The new name is the (Spanish) Moss Trail," board member Rita Igleheart said. "The old name is Magnolia. So I personally would rather stick with the old name, the original name, the name it has always been called."

The Magnolia Line ran from Augusta to Port Royal for more than 100 years, according to railroad history buff Tommy Logan, who supports the name Magnolia Line Trail.

"We do have a very unique history here and very few places rival our history, and whenever possible we should try to preserve that," he said.

Construction work on the trail will be begin this fall thanks to grants and assistance from Atlanta-based PATH Foundation and the James M. Cox Foundation.

Debate about what to call the trail surfaced during a June 4 meeting of county and city of Beaufort officials, residents and trail planners.

The path has been called the Spanish Moss Rail-Trail for several years by a group called Friends of the Spanish Moss Rail-Trail, said Jane Frederick, a member of the group. Logos have been prepared that use the name, legal paperwork and agreements also use it and many people refer to the project that way.

Additionally, Frederick said, other towns have "Magnolia Trails."

"Having one with a unique name that is very evocative of the Lowcountry will be very helpful for marketing the trail," she said.

Resident Edie Rodgers felt otherwise. The first she heard of the railroad's history was from Logan during the June 4 meeting. She said stories about the rail line -- such as one Logan told Thursday about a trip President Theodore Roosevelt made on the railroad -- will draw visitors.

"It is wonderful to think we have a built-in story here with this trail," Rodgers said. "An absolute built-in historic story that we could use on every brochure that is ever printed."

The Beaufort County Council's natural resources committee will also weigh in on what to name the trail. Its recommendation and that of the historic preservation board will be considered by County Council, which will make the final decision. The timing of those votes was not available Thursday.

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