The paved bicycle and pedestrian trail that crosses four counties and runs 51.7 miles from here to Jamestown – known as the Virginia Capital Trail - is now the second most visited attraction in Richmond.
Cat Anthony, the executive director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, launched the Capital Trail Outdoor Equity Fund in 2021, which funded eight organizations with the goal of making sure everyone has access to the Capital Trail. Part of this included advocating for expanding the trail with small connector trails leading to schools and neighborhoods, ensuring that users will be able to cycle and walk safely to get to the trail. Her mission includes working to get the Fall Line Trail, a proposed 43-mile trail from Petersburg to Ashland, funded and built.
Unlike so many others, the pandemic has actually helped her advocacy and fundraising efforts. “Because there were more trail users than ever before, people finally realized we need more trails and green spaces,” Anthony explains. “Everyone should be within a ten-minute walk to a trail.”
Anthony’s work career has always centered around outdoor recreation, whether as the former director of adventure programs for the Blue Sky Fund, or as director of development for Sportables, where she worked to make sports accessible for those with physical disabilities and visual impairments. Becoming a champion for a grand network of trails throughout the commonwealth just feels right to her.
“Riding a bike is so freeing, you feel good, and you have a smile on your face,” she says. “From rock climbing to managing a trail, I’ve been lucky to work in outdoor recreation.”