PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The beginning of construction of a new trail center for High Bridge Trail State Park near Farmville was made official with a groundbreaking ceremony.

High Bridge Trail State Park is most known for High Bridge, a former rail bridge that has been converted for pedestrians and cyclists. High Bridge is over 2,400 feet long and 125 feet above the Appomattox River, making it one of the longest recreational bridges in the United States, according to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

High Bridge Trail State Park in Prince Edward County (Photo: Department of Conservation and Recreation)

The new 2,600 square-foot trail center is designed to look like a train station that would have been typical in the early 1900s. It is planned to include an exhibit space, lobby, offices, outdoor deck space and bathrooms.

“We are excited about this project because it will improve the visitor experience at the park, assist us in meeting our mission of providing the best in class outdoor recreation opportunities while also educating the public about the important history of the High Bridge and surrounding area,” said DCR Director Matt Wells. “This will have a major positive impact as the new building will allow the park offices to move to the park’s main entrance, Camp Paradise. The new trail center provides an opportunity for visitors to connect with park rangers, obtain information about the park and the surrounding community and to obtain things needed to enjoy a great day on the trail.”

The building will be located about .3 miles from the eastern end of High Bridge and will have an ADA-accessible path to the trail.

Representatives from DCR and Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park, as well as elected officials, were present for the groundbreaking ceremony, which took place Monday, Oct. 24.

“The success of the trail encompasses the partnerships of the entire community that includes the counties, towns and local business,” said High Bridge Trail State Park Manager Daniel Jordan. “The Friends of High Bridge Trail have equally been an amazing community support organization who have been with us along the way to make our successes, community successes. We are excited to get this project underway as it has been a long time coming. This new center will enhance the visitor experience for everyday users and for the special events and races that we have throughout the year.”