Check out this video highlighting the Mid State Trail, Pennsylvania’s 2019 Trail of the Year. It showcases the beautiful scenery along the trail and the hard work of volunteers who maintain it.
If you have a favorite trail and think that it is the best in the state, then nominate it for 2020 Trail of the Year. The designation is coordinated by DCNR’s Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee to elevate public awareness of the thousands of miles of trails available for public enjoyment in Pennsylvania.
The Trail of the Year will be recognized through a DCNR and Trails Advisory Committee news release, commemorative poster for statewide distribution, trailhead marker, and promotion on www.explorePAtrails.com. The supporting organization will receive grant funding for educational materials to promote safety and environmental protection on the trail.
The Bureau of Forestry of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently took the time to recognize the conservation volunteer work of KTA members Jane Huston and Ernie Werstler on the Mid State Trail. In a recent letter, district forester Matthew R. Beaver said the following of their work:
“I want to take this opportunity to formally recognize the outstanding efforts of your volunteer work on the Mid State Trail on the Bald Eagle State Forest. Your tireless efforts have been vital to the high-quality maintenance of the trail. You are a shining example of how volunteer collaboration can provide a great service to its members, the state forest system, and the citizens of the Commonwealth. The Bureau of Forestry applauds the contributions from both you and the Mid State Trail Association promoting hiking trail improvements in our state parks and forest. On behalf of the Bald Eagle State Forest, I wish to extend my sincere appreciation for your past accomplishments, and I look forward to future partnership opportunities for the benefit of state forests.”
The volunteers are a part of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (DCNR) Conservation Volunteer Program, launched June 24, 1997, by Gov. Tom Ridge. The Conservation Volunteer Program encourages active participants to help the department carry out its mission of stewardship of the state park and state forest lands.
The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have published the 2018 Annual Trails Report, which highlights and recognizes key trail accomplishments of 2018. The report illustrates the great dedication of many trail planners, builders, volunteers, funders, and advocates to advance the goal of having a trail within 15 minutes of every citizen to facilitate recreation, transportation, and healthy lifestyles.
Thanks to their continued efforts, citizens have greater access to trails than ever before and Pennsylvania has become one of the premier destinations in the United States for trail-based tourism.
The Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club (CVATC) has named its Trindle Road parking lot in honor of Craig Dunn. Dunn is one of the founders of CVATC, which was formed in 1991. Dunn has been a faithful friend, advocate and builder of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and other trails for approximately 40 years. He began his A.T. work with the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club, serving in many leadership roles, including president in the late 1980s. After that, in the early 1990s, he distinguished himself as a leader in the movement to relocate the 17 miles of the A.T. in the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania from a road walk to a true trail. Dunn and others held public meetings, negotiated with landowners, and relentlessly but diplomatically pushed forward against opposition groups. Through it all, Dunn stood out as a voice of calm reason who advocated for the long-term benefits the relocated trail would provide to the local community. In the opinion of many, these benefits have come to pass.
Dunn has served as CVATC’s trailmaster for decades. Craig has also served on the board of managers of Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and in several capacities with the Keystone Trails Association. In 2003, Craig received ATC’s highest award, Honorary Life Membership. Craig lives with his wife, Cindy Adams Dunn, in the Camp Hill area. Learn more about Craig here.
The Craig Dunn Parking Lot is just west of the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and Trindle Road (PA Route 641), in Middlesex Township, Cumberland County, midway between Carlisle and Mechanicsburg. It features eight parking spaces, including one space with handicap access and a rustic sign kiosk. The parking lot opened in 2012.
On May 24, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined Mid State Trail Association members and other hiking enthusiasts in celebrating the designation of the Mid State Trail as Pennsylvania’s 2019 Trail of the Year.
The Mid State Trail is Pennsylvania’s longest trail. Its 327 miles traverse some of Pennsylvania’s most remote and scenic areas, and stretch from the Maryland to New York borders.
“Drawn by the natural beauty that captures the essence of Pennsylvania’s wild places, thousands of hiking enthusiasts take to the Mid State each year, regardless of the season,” Dunn told trail supporters gathered at Raymond B. Winter State Park. “In their quest for everything from gentle rail-trail travel to rigorous rocky climbs, these travelers are an economic boon to the many small business communities near the trail.”
Improved by DCNR investments totaling almost $1.5 million, the trail saw a major three-phase project completed in 2015 on the Union-Centre county line. Work included: rehabilitation work on an old railroad bridge spanning Penns Creek; lining of the Poe Paddy Tunnel; and re-surfacing of the trail approaching both the bridge and tunnel. Earlier, $178,800 financed Yellow Creek Bridge construction in Bedford County.
Hiking enthusiasts say the Mid State Trail’s sheer length offers more challenges to hikers than any other trail in the state. Sometimes-difficult hiking takes travelers through isolated forests and past historic sites, vistas, waterfalls, and natural springs.
“As an all-volunteer organization, we rely upon and value the cooperation and partnership we get from the DCNR professionals at its Bureau of State Parks and Bureau of Forestry,” said Mid State Trail Association President Ed Lawrence. “Our goal is to maintain the Mid State Trail as a sustainable recreational resource for the entire community, one that provides a natural pathway today and into the future.”
Pennsylvania is a leader in trail development, providing its citizens and visitors with more than 12,000 miles of trails across the commonwealth, from gentle pathways threading through miles of preserved greenways, to remote, rugged trails scaling the state’s mountains.
Each year, the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee designates a Trail of the Year to help build enthusiasm and support for both large and small trails, and raise public awareness about the value of Pennsylvania’s trail network.
The Mid State Trail was created to foster simple, natural experiences that foster a greater respect for nature and a will to protect for future generations. Largely on public land, the trail passes through eight state parks; five state forests; eight state forest Natural Areas; four state forest Wild Areas; four state forest picnic areas; two Scout camps and one roadside rest.
The Mid State Trail is divided into four distinct regions. Traveling from the south, hikers pass through the Everett Region, State College Region, Woolrich Region, and Tioga Region. The trail’s main route, marked by rectangular, orange blazes, also features several long side trails.
The Mid State Trail Association was formed in 1982 to guide the Mid State Trail’s continued growth and protect its future. The association engages many local volunteers who construct and maintain only foot paths.
The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee is charged with implementing the recommendations of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan to develop a statewide land and water trail network to facilitate recreation, transportation, and healthy lifestyles. The 20-member DCNR-appointed committee represents both motorized and non-motorized trail users and advises the commonwealth on use of state and federal trail funding.