BY CLARA VAUGHN, Eastern Shore Post —
When work began on the John H. Tarr Bay to Beach Trail, leaders aimed to provide a safe connection between downtown Chincoteague and Assateague Island.
The town will celebrate those leaders, particularly John H. “Jack” Tarr — who served as Chincoteague’s mayor for almost two decades — during a trail dedication ceremony and bicycle ride Wednesday, June 21, at 2 p.m.
“It’s a long overdue dedication to Jack,” said Mayor Arthur Leonard, who replaced Tarr when he decided to not run for re-election.
“He gave the town 17 years of service. He led us through a long, long time and a lot of growth,” Leonard said.
Conceptual work on the trail began around 2015, when Tarr was serving as mayor. The goal was to improve road conditions and the connection between downtown Chincoteague and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
“With the growth in the tourism industry … we wanted to be able to provide a safe corridor for bikes and footpaths that wasn’t along the road,” Leonard said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2017 awarded a $1.5 million grant for the project, completed two years later.
The trail running from the Chincoteague Volunteer Firemen’s Carnival grounds on Main Street along quiet back roads before feeding into Maddox Boulevard “eases some of the congestion on Maddox,” he said.
“It was all about perpetuating good access to the wildlife refuge,” Leonard said.
Chincoteague’s town council voted in 2019 to name the trail after Tarr to mark his years of service to the town.
“He did a lot for the town,” Leonard said. “He sacrified a lot in those 17 years, so it’s well deserved.”
The dedication ceremony begins at 2 p.m. at the carnival grounds at 3648 Main St. A trail ride will follow the ceremony. Participants will be entered to win a new bicycle.
After the ride, there will a reception at 3:30 p.m. at the Town Office at 6150 Community Drive. The public is invited.