CLERMONT – The public is invited to the “Pedaling to Eco-Tourism Success: A Summit on Cycling and Trails,” to be held from 8:30 a.m. - noon on Friday, March 27 at the Clermont City Center, 620 W. Montrose St., Clermont.
The summit, sponsored by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, Lake~Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Chamber Alliance of Lake County, will delve into the economic impact that cyclists visiting South Lake will have on the area. Participants will also learn about how the completion of the Coast-to-Coast Connector may impact Lake County’s economic development and tourism.
“Bicycling has the potential to be a substantial economic driver to the state of Florida, and with the forthcoming completion of the Coast-to-Coast Connector and Lake County’s geographical location directly in the center, we want to ensure all vested parties are working together to take full advantage of this amazing opportunity,” said Adam Ashton, Lake County Sports Development Coordinator, who is one of many expert speakers during the event.
Topics will include bicycling on both roads and on paved trails, and cycling advocacy organizations will be on hand to discuss ways local cycling may be enhanced. Representatives will also highlight regional trails and offer a description of trails that are already in place and trails that are planned for construction.
“The summit will emphasize the ecotourism opportunities that major regional trails bring to communities as well as the economic development possibilities of on-road cycling,” said T.J. Fish, executive director of the Lake~Sumter MPO. “In some cases, infrastructure improvements are necessary, however in other cases, we simply need to educate the public on the valuable amenities already available in order to better attract locals and eco-tourists to pedal our roadways.”
In February, Lake County and the city of Clermont cut the ribbon on the South Lake Trail extension, which marks the middle of the Coast-to-Coast Connector, a 275-mile trail linking Cape Canaveral to St. Petersburg. The connector is 80 percent complete, with the remaining sections currently under development. The South Lake Trail and the Minneola Scenic Trail are both part of the Connector.
For more information about the summit, contact the Lake~Sumter MPO at 352-315-0170, or email T.J. Fish at TJFish@LakeSumterMPO.com.