Two New Easements
Throughout 2019, Hollow Oak Land Trust worked with both the Forest Grove Sportsmen and the Montour Trail Council to negotiate trail easements to accompany the planned bridge construction over Montour Run. Acquiring both of these easements will allow Hollow Oak to build a connecting trail from Montour Woods Conservation Area to the Montour Trail at approximately mile 1.5 near the Hassam Road parking lot. The bridge across Montour Run will span Moon and Robinson townships, which have been supportive of the project, which will benefit local residents and businesses.
This trail and bridge project is the centerpiece of the Montour Woods Greenway project being led by Hollow Oak Land Trust. Thanks to state support from PA DCNR and county support from the Regional Asset District (RAD), a trail user will be able to hike or bike from Moon Park to the Montour Trail without crossing a single street.
Depending on permitting, construction is expected in late 2020, which will complete Phase I of the greenway. Phase II will seek to connect Moon Park to the Montour Trail at approximately mile 4.5 in Robinson Twp. By collaborating with local homeowners, the Moon Golf Club, and the Allegheny County Airport Authority, Hollow Oak hopes to establish several miles of new trails between Moon Park and the Montour Trail connection at Trout Run Conservation Area.
Overall, the greenway will establish a 10-mile trail loop, plus additional trail clusters at the park and conservation areas. This greenway will make Moon Township one of the top trail destinations of the greater Pittsburgh area.
Phase I of Trout Run Trails Complete
On September 11 Hollow Oak worked with volunteers from Matrix PDM engineering to finish the first phase of the trails in our Trout Run Conservation Area. This trail traverses the property from Hookstown Grade Road to the former Western Area YMCA on Montour Run Road.
Volunteers from Matrix PDM worked very hard on a long, hot day to finish the trail segment. This work compliments many volunteer hours by FedEx Ground employees earlier in the season. A closer look at the property can be found on our website here and we are working with an Eagle Scout to install directional trail signage along the entire length of trail.
Greenways and Trails Field Workshop
The second half of Hollow Oak’s trail workshop featured a field day where participants got their hands dirty building a new segment of trail at Robin Hill Park.
There was a wide array of participants who attended from active volunteers interested in learning how to lead trail building efforts to parks staff members to professionals from
trail groups and land trusts in the region.
The workshop project area was a segment of the Ridgeback Trail in the park that needed to be rerouted around a section of exposed beech tree roots. As the group walked to the site they were shown field examples of different aspects of trail maintenance and construction. The group was able to finish the entire reroute while learning vital techniques of trail building including how to plan and build a trail, directional pruning, bench cutting, and how to properly close the old trail segment so that it stays closed and re-vegetates.
The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association supported this two-part workshop. If you are interested in learning more about trail building techniques, a great resource is the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Trail Solutions guidebook about sustainable trail development.