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«PENNSYLVANIA TRAILS ADVISORY COMMITTEE Western terminus of the recently completed Great Allegheny Passage, Pittsburgh Year 2013 Annual Report ...»

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Western terminus of the recently completed Great Allegheny Passage, Pittsburgh

Year 2013 Annual Report

February 2014

This Annual Report documents the accomplishments of Pennsylvania

trail groups in 2013 as described by the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory

Committee and its partners. It showcases successes and illustrates

progress toward developing a statewide network of land and water trails.

Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee • 2013 Annual Report Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee 2013 ANNUAL REPORT The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee is pleased 2013 COMMITTEE MEMBERS to present its 2013 Annual Report. The report details Tim Karr, Chair, Snowmobiling significant accomplishments throughout the state and Jeffrey Cernic, Vice Chair, Off Highway Motorcycling describes trail projects large and small. We’ve been Thomas E. Baxter, Secretary, Bicycling inspired by trail builders, stewards, planners, and Cheryl J. Allerton, Horseback Riding educators. We've traveled the trails on foot, bike, Eric Bruggeman, All Terrain Vehicles Silas Chamberlin, Trail Walking canoe, horse, snowmobile, wheelchair, and offScott J. Cope, Member-at-Large highway vehicle in all kinds of weather.

James H. Foster, Hiking Jodi Foster, Member-at-Large Looking back on 2013, there are various ways to Andrew Hamilton, Member-at-Large evaluate progress. One is by the numbers: How many Eryn Hughes, Mountain Bicycling miles were built? How many volunteer hours were Larry Knutson, Trail Building logged? And how many critical gaps were filled?

Phil McGrath, Physically Challenged James McNulty, Water Trails But the goal of the Committee, to advance the overall Steve Risk, Four-Wheel Driving development of a statewide network of trails, is a Jane Sheffield, Member-at-Large complex undertaking. And we are only beginning

–  –  –


From ground-breakings to ribbon-cuttings, 2013 was a banner year for trails. These trails bring health and economic benefits, invigorated communities, improved quality of life, and make Pennsylvania a better place to live, work and play for citizens, visitors and future generations.

In 2013, trails were built, restored, celebrated, and reimagined by hundreds of volunteers, stakeholders and user groups who share the grand vision of a seamless, statewide network of trails and work tirelessly to make this vision a reality. Countless hours of dedicated work by trail crews, planners, funding agencies, local project sponsors, trail users and volunteers were logged during 2013. Under DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnership Program 71 trail projects, representing more than $28 million in state and local grant funds were completed.


In 2013, teams of trail builders across Pennsylvania added more than 83 new miles of trail, gaining on an ambitious goal set forth in the state’s 2001 Greenways Action Plan to connect every community to a trail. Some of these notable accomplishments are described in the following pages.

Montour Trail Project Location: Allegheny County, Peters Township Description: Walkers, runners and cyclists along the Montour Trail’s Arrowhead Trail section in Peters Township will no longer have to contend with the potentially dangerous Valley Brook Road curve.

A new bridge was installed over Brush Run Creek that connects two other finished sections of the trail.

More than a half-million people use the trail each year.

Sponsor: Montour Trail Council Submitted by: David Oyler, Montour Trail Council

–  –  –

Great Allegheny Passage Project Location: Allegheny County, Pa. to Allegany County, Md.

Description: The Allegheny Trail Alliance and the Regional Trail Corporation worked together to complete this Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail system, which has been 35 years in the making. The final mile passed through a metal recycling operation and a waterpark, each with their own safety issues to incorporate into the design and costing about $3.4 million. The project also included creating a marker at the western terminus at Point State Park where travelers can culminate their journey with a great photo. Both nonprofit organizations have been working together since 1995 to complete the GAP, along with several other trail organizations that govern and maintain the corridor.

The completion of the trail opened Pittsburgh to the vast number of recreational trail users who have been using the GAP for many years. It greatly enhanced the biking and walking opportunities in the Mon Valley communities of McKeesport, Duquesne, Whitaker, Munhall, Homestead, and West Homestead. Local residents have a wonderful facility that is accessible and safe for all ages and fitness levels. The once smoky Mon Valley, known for its steel production a century ago, is now a tourist destination because of the trail.

Sponsors: Allegheny Trail Alliance and Regional Trail Corporation Submitted by: Linda McKenna Boxx, Allegheny Trail Alliance

–  –  –

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Trails Project Location: Allegheny County, North Fayette Township. The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is 5 minutes from Settlers Ridge and 7 miles west of the city, on Pinkerton Run Road, next door to Settler's Cabin Park.

–  –  –

Woodland trail and bridge at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Three Rivers Water Trail – Natrona Landing Project Location: Allegheny County, Natrona Heights Description: Friends of the Riverfront (FOR) constructed the Three Rivers Water Trail access point in Natrona, including an ADA-complaint concrete ramp and a canoe and kayak rack for storing non-motorized watercraft.

In addition, FOR established a riparian restoration area to improve the environment at the site, remove invasive species, and plant native species. Members of the community, through Natrona Comes Together, provided several hundred hours of volunteer time to help make the project a success.

FOR worked closely with Natrona to gather community input, develop strong partnerships, and ensure timely completion of the project. The placement of native plants was accomplished largely by volunteers who were generous with their time and expertise. The site was once a very popular, yet unofficial, river access nearly 50 years ago. Local residents were pleased to reclaim their connection with the Allegheny River. This project and several other key revitalization efforts have helped bring a sense of pride to Natrona. This is the 19th completed site that is dedicated to non-motorized public riverfront access and recreation. These efforts provide safe access to the river, renovating once-dangerous locations that are now a source of beauty and pride in the community.

Sponsor: Friends of the Riverfront, Natrona Comes Together Submitted by: Thomas Baxter, Friends of the Riverfront Natrona Landing on the Allegheny River Mingo Creek Park Pedestrian Trail Project Location: Washington County, Nottingham Description: A new trail was constructed through Mingo Park, including several creek and stream crossings using pre-fabricated bridges and other structures designed and built by county staff.

Washington County was a leader in addressing new accessibility guidelines for outdoor developed areas.

New signs alert users about sections of the trail that may be too steep for physically challenged people or those in wheel chairs.

Sponsor: Washington County Submitted by: Lisa Cessna, Washington County Planning Mingo Creek Park Pedestrian Trail Blairsville River Trail Project Location: Indiana County, Blairsville Borough Description: The 1.7 mile Blairsville River Trail project included construction of the trail along the Conemaugh River on the Army Corps of Engineers property in the Borough of Blairsville.

Two rest shelters, five benches, trail signs at each end of the trail, mile markers along the trail, two ADA parking areas at each end of the trail, and guard rail fencing were added to several sections of the trail.

Blairsville River Trail and Bairdstown Bridge, Indiana County The trail loops through wooded acres along the Conemaugh River, connecting Blairsville to the scenic Kiski-Conemaugh Water Trail. The trail links users to downtown businesses, historic sites, the Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway and the Trans Allegheny Trails network.

Blairsville Borough is making good progress on its effort to connect this trail to the 15-mile West Penn Trail and the 47-mile Hoodlebug and Ghost Town Trail system.

Sponsor: Blairsville Borough and Blairsville Community Development Authority.

Submitted by: Tim Evans, Blairsville Borough Westmoreland Heritage Trail Project Location: Westmoreland County, between Slickville and Delmont in Salem Township Description: This project entailed the construction of 3.7 miles of new rail-trail along a former Pennsylvania Railroad corridor. It was undertaken by the Regional Trail Corporation, working in Westmoreland Heritage Trail Grand Opening in Slickville, Pa.

partnership with the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation, the County Engineer, the Westmoreland Heritage Trail Chapter of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation - District 12, and the municipalities of Salem, Penn and Loyalhanna townships; and Delmont, Murrysville, Monroeville, Trafford and Export Boroughs.

The trail is envisioned as a 26-mile, cross-county, multi-use trail. Phase II was formally dedicated on October 5, 2013. Combined with Phase I, which opened in 2008, the Westmoreland Heritage Trail (WHT) is now a 9mile route, and it connects with the West Penn Trail in Saltsburg. It provides direct recreational access for residents of a rural and small town portion of Westmoreland County where no close-to-home trail opportunity had existed.

Sponsor: Regional Trails Corporation, Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, PennDOT Submitted by: Jeff Richards, Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation Allegheny River Trail Project Location: Venango and Clarion counties, Foxburg to Parker Description: Two Allegheny River Trail (ART) projects were completed in 2013. Three miles of paved trail were constructed from Foxburg to Parker, including the decking of a 900-foot bridge over the Clarion River and an overlook that was constructed near the bridge. In addition, 3 miles of the ART were repaved near Franklin.

The Allegheny River Trail is part of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail and connects with the North Country Trail (a long-distance trail from Minnesota to Maine), Sandy Creek Trail (14 miles in Pennsylvania) and eventually the Armstrong Trail in Armstrong County and the Redbank Trail on the southern edge of Clarion County.

Sponsor: Allegheny Valley Trails Association, Richland Township, Cranberry Township and Perry Township Submitted by: James Holden, Allegheny Valley Trails Association Allegheny River Trail near Emlenton, Pa. Photo by: axsdeny@gmail.com Redbank Valley Trail Project Location: Clarion, Armstrong and Jefferson counties, parallel to Redbank Creek from the Allegheny River to Brookville, near I-80 in Jefferson County.

Description: The Redbank Valley Trails Association (RVTA) formed in 2010 to improve and maintain 51 miles of scenic railroad corridor acquired by Allegheny Valley Land Trust. The four-season nonmotorized trail follows Redbank Creek and connects with the Armstrong Trail and the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail. An additional 9-mile branch extends from Lawsonham to Sligo in Clarion County.

Logging thousands of hours in 2013, Redbank Valley Trails Association volunteers made The Redbank Valley Trail was surfaced with equipment donated great progress improving the trail. With by Rosebud Mining Company.

funding from the North Central Regional Planning Commission and the Greenways Block Grant Program, 11 miles of trail were graded, rolled and surfaced with crushed limestone. Bridges were decked, railings constructed and approaches installed.

Mile 17 near Climax to Mile 11 was graded and rolled by volunteers using donated equipment from Rosebud Mining. Decking and railings were installed on the 13th and final bridge over Mortimer’s Run at Mile 1 on the main 41-mile trail. The remaining 3 miles in Jefferson County from Baxter Mile 36 to Coder’s Run Mile 39 is slated for completion Volunteers install the approaches to the Rachel Carson Bridge near Mile 36 on the Redbank Valley Trail.

in the spring of 2014.

The 3rd Annual Kessa’s Blessings in the Valley 5K Turkey Trot took place on the trail on Thanksgiving morning and sponsors raised over $4,600 for local families in need of assistance. RVTA partnered with the Brookville YMCA and C.R.E.A.T.E. Brookville to host the first annual Run the Redbank. Over 130 racers participated in the 1 mile, 5K, 10K and half-marathon. For more information, visit www.redbankvalleytrails.org.

Sponsor: Redbank Valley Trails Association Submitted by: Darla Kirkpatrick, President, Redbank Valley Trails Association Sponsor: Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism Submitted by: Kim Harris, Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area Trailhead Project Location: Northumberland County, Coal Township Description: In 2013, Northumberland County Commissioners appointed a five-member authority that began the task of building the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) trailhead, parking area, and access road. Several off-highway vehicle clubs and other organizations now use the access to ride nearly 80 miles of trails on the eastern portion of the property. A grand opening is anticipated in 2014.

The county-owned, 6,500-acre property is gradually developing into a premiere, actively managed trail destination. The AOAA Authority has created unique partnerships among local police, municipalities, conservation departments, county and state agencies. In addition, the Authority has forged strong relationships with adjacent landowners who have participated in planning. The AOAA project has become a source of pride for the state, the county, and the local economy. Hundreds of users have already participated in sponsored trails events, and the property hasn't even officially opened.

Related activities on the property included:

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