Friday, October 31, 2008

Rails to Trails to the Appalachian Trail

Christopher Baxter of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call reports that Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has granted $200,000 to Palmer Township in order to convert about 1 mile of railroad to trail. This adds to "a very extensive bike path system" in the township. Eventually, "local officials plan to extend the path in the future to connect to the Appalachian Trail." The article's 31 October 2008 headline is "Palmer gets $200,000 to extend rail-to-trail bicycle path; State grant will pay for a one-mile addition to system."

The same news appeared in the Allentown Morning Call on 30 October under the headline "Bushkill Creek bike path will be finished."

The report on this appearing on something called the SYS-CON web site reports "from the wires" under the headline "Pennsylvania DCNR Awards $283,000 for Outdoor Recreation, Open Space in Northampton County" in more detail. For example, there we read that the Keystone Fund grant is to
"Palmer Township, $200,000, to include the construction and installation of a paved trail, new decking on three bridges, signage and landscaping. This a part of a much larger system of greenways trails planned in Northampton County stretching from the Appalachian Trail to the Delaware River Trail".

A related editorial in the 30 October 2008Reading (PA) Eagle opines that trails are good, but have to be done right. And they offer an example of one that apparently was done poorly. Under the headline "Critical connection is people, not trails" they say
"The recent case of the ill-fated Hay Creek Trail shows what can happen even to a laudable idea when poorly executed. The proposed 9.7-mile trail would have wound southward from the Thun Trail near Birdsboro, through Union, Robeson and Caernarvon townships and New Morgan, following an abandoned railroad bed. It would have connected to the 140-mile Horseshoe Trail, which runs from Valley Forge to the Appalachian Trail in Dauphin County."
BUT the planning process took so long that when the work was finally to start "it had likely slipped the minds of the property owners." And pretty much died.

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