On Thursday, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the River Trail Gateway, a new trail that connects the Center to the Schuylkill River Trail. Read all about the new trail here.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is currently accepting letters of interest for seven Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee appointments representing the following user groups: bicycling, hiking, cross-country skiing, water trails, and three members at large.
The 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.
Appointed members will serve a three-year term beginning January 1, 2019. Interested candidates must submit a cover letter and resume to RAfirstname.lastname@example.org by October 31.
The Pennsylvnaia Trails Advisory Committee is an award-winning committee! The National Coalition for Recreational Trails recently awarded DCNR’s Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee the 2018 Achievement Award for Outstanding State Recreational Trails Advisory Committee.
Click here for more information.
On August 18, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined the Department of Transportation (PennDOT), local officials, and hiking and biking enthusiasts in the dedication of the recently renovated Climax Tunnel on the Redbank Valley Trail, near New Bethlehem, Clarion County.
Improvements were facilitated by investments totaling almost $2 million by DCNR and PennDOT. The tunnel work helps close a vital gap in a trail network designed to eventually stretch from Pittsburgh to the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds.
“This project opens the first of DCNR’s so-called ‘Top 10 Trail Gaps,’ while helping us meet our goal of having a trail within 15 minutes of every citizen by closing openings in Pennsylvania’s current trail system,” Dunn said. “The Wolf Administration believes interagency coordination is vital to establishing a statewide network of trails and this achievement is a great example of what can be accomplished with a public-private collaboration.”
Spanning more than two years and costing more than $2.5 million, tunnel reconstruction work was financed by PennDOT investments totaling more than $1 million in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds; $1 million in DCNR Pennsylvania Recreational Trails funds; and investments by Allegheny Valley Land Trust, Redbank Valley Trails Association and others.
“Investments in all transportation modes are essential to strengthening our communities,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said of the project. “We were pleased to partner to ensure this trail is a safe and robust asset for years to come.”
Not far from the Borough of New Bethlehem, Clarion County, Climax Tunnel now allows passage along the Red Bank Valley Trail, a 51-mile, four-season trail, improved and maintained mainly by volunteers. Recognized by DCNR as its first Trail of the Year in 2014, the trail is known for scenic beauty; connection to other trails; and the hard work and involvement of dedicated volunteers.
“Amazing things can happen when businesses, people and organizations pull together for the betterment of ourselves and our communities,” said Allegheny Valley Land Trust Executive Director Chris Ziegler.
A total of 42 miles of the trail parallel Red Bank Creek, and it connects to the Armstrong Trail and a network that includes Pittsburgh’s Alliance Trail and Great Allegheny Passage. The Red Bank project is part of a trail initiative that foresees an eventual connection of Pittsburgh and Ridgway, in the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds.
“The tunnel will bring increasing tourism, a development that already is benefitting the local business community and towns along the trail,” said Redbank Valley Trails Association President Sandy Mateer.
The Redbank Valley Trail – Climax Tunnel is part of the PA Wilds Conservation Landscape, where there are strong natural resource assets; local readiness and support for land conservation; locally-driven planning; and community revitalization efforts.
The public is invited to attend a free ceremony on August 15 where the annual Greenways Awards will be presented by the Council on Greenways and Trails in Clarion, Crawford and Venango counties.
These annual awards celebrate individuals, groups, and businesses which reach out to assist the communities in these three counties to enhance or protect greenways and trails, which can be parks, land and water trails, hiking /walking paths, scenic, and cultural resources.
All award recipients will receive framed certificates issued by the CGT, plus native serviceberry trees will be planted in their honor in an active greenways project site of their choice within the three-county area. For best tree survival, the actual tree plantings occur in the autumn; a custom bronze plaque made by Franklin Bronze Plaques is also positioned at the base of each of these award trees.
The awards event will begin at 4:00 p.m. at Oil Creek Memorial Landing, located on Route 8 North in Oil City adjacent to the Dollar General store.
Refreshments will be served at the ceremony; there people planning to attend are asked to RSVP by calling Kim Harris at 814-677-3152; Ext. 120 or send email to: email@example.com.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recently announced the award of $488,000 in snowmobile and ATV trails grants for five projects.
“These grants are designed to enhance the riding experience of ATV and snowmobile enthusiasts across the state, who supply funding when they register their vehicles,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “We know improved riding means more visitors, whose numbers can have a positive economic impact on nearby communities.”
The projects are:
Columbia, Northumberland, and Schuylkill Counties: Famous Reading Outdoors, $225,000, for preparation of a master plan for development of 20,000 acres of Famous Reading Outdoors ATV Trails and Off-Roading Park.
Fayette County: Indian Creek Valley ATV Club, $29,800, for preparation of a master plan for development of 750 acres of the Indian Creek Valley ATV Club in Saltlick Township. Also, Indian Creek Valley ATV Club, $110,400, for development of the Indian Creek Valley ATV Club, with work to include construction of a trailhead building; ADA access; landscaping; and signage and other related site improvements;
Lackawanna, Susquehanna, and Wayne Counties: Northeast PA Sno Trails Inc., $8,300, for purchase of equipment to construct and maintain 250 miles of snowmobile trails within the Northeast Pennsylvania Sno Trails Inc. system.
McKean County: Majestic Kamp and Lost Trails Inc., $50,980, for purchase of equipment to construct and maintain 41 miles of Majestic ATV trails in Keating and Otto townships;
Schuylkill County: Burma MX and ATV Park, $174,000, for purchase of equipment to construct and maintain 100 acres of Burma off-highway vehicle tracks and trails in Blythe and East Norwegian townships.
The grants can fund up to 100 percent of a project. DCNR can award grants two times each year to municipalities, for profit, and nonprofit organizations for ATV- and snowmobile-related projects on county, municipal, nonprofit, state, and private lands.
All ATVs and snowmobiles in Pennsylvania must be registered and titled with DCNR’s Snowmobile/ATV Section.
Registration money is used to provide program administration funding; maintain trails in DCNR’s parks and forests; and provide grants to profit and non-profit organizations for developing additional riding opportunities in the commonwealth. Statewide ATV registrations approach 185,000; snowmobiles, 34,000.
For more information about ATV and snowmobile grants, visit DCNR’s trail grants webpage.
Last week, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined other state officials and Providence Township representatives in the dedication of an Enola Low Grade Trail bridge over Route 222 in Providence Township, Lancaster County.
Funded by DCNR and PennDOT, the span is one of three bridges linking the 30-mile trail, which stretches from the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County to Atglen, Chester County.
“The Enola Low Grade is a true asset to the citizens of the southern end of Lancaster County,” Dunn told listeners gathered at the Providence Township dedication. “As sections of the trail are completed, it will provide not only health and quality of life benefits to communities, but also lay groundwork for opportunities for sustainable economic growth to support the trail users through bed and breakfasts, restaurants, bike shops, and outfitters.”
DCNR provided $300,000 to pay for design and engineering of the bridge. Bridge construction totaling $2.1 million was funded by PennDOT and Lancaster County.
“We are committed to a truly multi-modal approach as we advance transportation across Pennsylvania and helping to underwrite bicycling improvements is an important way for us to enhance the quality of life for the state,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “I personally biked this trail with Secretary Dunn and saw firsthand how this investment will have a positive regional impact.”
DCNR has worked with Lancaster County and local municipalities for almost two decades to construct the trail, and Providence Township has emerged as a keystone in developing sections of the Enola Low Grade Trail east of the Safe Harbor Bridge to Atglen.
“The Enola Low Grade Trail is a great asset to the southern end of Lancaster County,” said Upper Providence Manager Vicki Eldridge. “We are thrilled that the completion of this bridge re-establishes the connection of the trail to the eastern most portions of the trail located in Quarryville Borough and Eden, Bart and Sadsbury townships.”
In addition to Providence Township, the trail passes through six other municipalities: Quarryville Borough, and Martic, Conestoga, Bart, Sadsbury, and Eden townships.
There are three large bridges along the trail. The largest—Safe Harbor in Bridge in Manor and Conestoga townships—recently received $3 million in PennDOT TAP funds and $500,000 in additional DCNR funds.
The second largest, Martic Forge, was heavily damaged by fire April 13, and the third was dedicated last week. Trail proponents say all three are critical for a connected system.
Dunn said a primary goal of DCNR is to provide a trail within 15 minutes’ travel of all Pennsylvanians. Closing priority gaps in existing trails helps achieve this, she said.
Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation economy generates $29 billion in consumer spending; $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue; $8.6 billion in wages and salaries; and sustains 251,000 direct Pennsylvania jobs.