The long-awaited Mendota Trail — with 3 new completed miles of a former railroad turned scenic footpath — will hold its grand opening this Friday at the Bristol trailhead.

Starting at 10 a.m. on Aug. 16, a ceremony beneath the I-81 underpass on Island Road will show off the trail’s entrance and the work made possible by financial and volunteer support from the local community.

The first mile of the Mendota Trail was completed in October 2017, from a Mendota trailhead, and the ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the opening of the Bristol trailhead on the opposite end. Eight more miles of trail need to be completed to make a full connection between the two, but after many delays and some controversy from local property owners, the project has finally picked up steam.

“We are so excited about the long anticipated opening of the Mendota Trail for hiking, biking and running!” said Bob Mueller, the trail’s volunteer project manager. “Many volunteers have generously given their time, energy and financial support in order to have this 3.1 miles completed for the public to enjoy.”

The ceremony will be attended by leaders from Washington County, the City of Bristol and Virginia’s General Assembly, with Del. Todd Pillion scheduled to speak.

For more information on the Mendota Trail, visit http://mendotatrail.org.

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