The rally to raise awareness of the need to link up the Ma & Pa Trail was a major success Saturday, its organizers said.
Rod Bourn, president of the Ma & Pa Trail Inc., said about 25 people walked the trail in an invitation-only Awareness Walk aimed at community leaders, and many more than that came to the rally itself, which was open to the public.
"I thought it went extremely well," Bourn said. "We had a great conversation, talking about options, explaining to them what our situation was, and it really did what we …hoped it would do, give some local leaders a better idea of exactly what our situation is."
The "situation" is the divide between the two pieces of the trail, one in Bel Air and one in Forest Hill.
Bourn and vice president Phil Hosmer said last week they want more people to realize the trail should be connected.
"The rally was a great turnout," Bourn said, noting a number of local officials and government leaders came, including state Del. Wayne Norman, Harford County Council members Chad Shrodes and Jim McMahan, Bel Air town commissioners Robert Reier and Eddie Hopkins and Harford County economic development director Jim Richardson.
"We had some live music going and a lot of people who planned to come, and several people who just happened on by," he said.
Bourn said he advised interested residents to get in touch with The Aegis and government officials.
"A lot of people asked what they could do. My response was to write letters to you, to write letters to the town and the county," he said. "It was neat in the sense that you could see the gears turning in their heads, as far as, 'What can I do to add to this and make this connection happen?'"
Bourn said many of those who came live in the immediate vicinity of the trail and want to find ways to make the project a reality.
"It just generated a lot of 'what ifs' and people were excited," he said.
An online petition listed 265 signatures as of Tuesday.
"I think it just really lit a fire under some people," Bourn said of the rally.
A map of the connection's proposed route, available at http://www.mapatrail.org/proposed_connection_20.html, shows a path starting at Bel Air's Main Street, just north of Broadway, running parallel to the Bel Air Bypass south of the road and crossing the highway near Water Tower Way to connect with the segment in Forest Hill.