Chessie Circle Trail - Interpretive Master Plan - Toledo, Ohio. The Chessie Circle Trail is a rails-to-trail program owned and managed by a partnership of organizations including: Metro Parks of the Toledo Area; the University of Toledo; the Wood County Park District; and the Wood County Park Authority.
The trail was part of the old "Terminal Railroad" that served the regions massive industrial sites, and eventually becoming part of the Chessie Line.
The rail-to-trail segment is 11 miles long and will serve both bicycles and hiking activities. Interpretation will focus in part on the railroad history the trail illustrates and the communities and industries it once served.
The 11.6-mile railroad right-of-way purchased for development in Lucas and Wood counties as a bike/hike trail has been officially named the Chessie Circle Trail by the operating partners. Called the Westside Corridor before the property was acquired, the new name is a tribute to the trail’s rail history and Toledo’s railroad culture. The right-of-way that has been preserved was part of a rail route that once circled Toledo. That track was known as the Toledo Terminal Railroad and it served the region’s wide range of industrial plants, delivering raw materials and hauling out finished goods. As heavy industry diminished in the region, the rail line was broken up into east and west segments. The westside section was purchased by C & O and then by the Chessie Line.
The Chessie Circle Trail is owned and operated by five partners: the Metroparks of the Toledo Area, the City of Toledo, the University of Toledo, Wood County Park District, and Wood County Port Authority. TMACOG is a facilitating partner of the project, but not a property owner. Each partner is responsible for the development and maintenance of their section of the trail. Because each entity has different funding streams and different priorities, the trail will be developed incrementally. However, all partners are working together to ensure that the result is a well-planned, seamless route where signage, pavement, and amenities are all coordinated. Except for underground utilities, all plans and specifications for trail development and other approved uses must be submitted to and approved by the Chessie Circle Coordinating Committee.
The long, bending route starts in the north at Laskey and Bennett, runs west and then sweeps south past Start High School, Toledo Hospital, the University of Toledo, the University Health Science Campus, Bowsher High School, and Beverly Elementary. The route then turns east, crosses the Maumee just north of the Ohio Turnpike bridge and turns north to the W.W. Knight Nature Preserve. “The Chessie Circle Trail will greatly improve our region’s bicycle and pedestrian assets,” said Warren Henry, TMACOG vice president of Transportation. “As the trail is developed, residents will have a valuable new resource for getting exercise, getting to work and school, and connecting to our region’s parks.”