CLARION, Pennsylvania (EYT) – Piney Rail Riders continue their journey to acquire the rights to one of the few remaining rail beds in Clarion County that has not yet been purchased and designated as a pedestrian/bicycle only lane excluding motorized transportation.
(Image above: Jim Laird of Laird Landscape Architecture, PLLC, presented the feasibility study.)
The local group met at the Clarion Eagles last week to review the progress of a feasibility study to purchase the track bed and the necessary improvements that need to be made.
Jim Laird of Laird Landscape Architecture, PLLC, presented the feasibility study and assured the crowd that it would be completed by the end of the year. It has been noted that there are expansion projects such as the acquisition of adjacent land for ‘play areas’. All of these initiatives will be on PTR’s to-do list for years to come. Some are planned as needed, others are more of an opportunistic project as land becomes available.
The study shows membership increasing every year and PRR has funded some of their own projects and great volunteering. Going forward, PRR will wait to hear from the two grants submitted this fall and plan accordingly from there.
The multi-use trail is leased from PRR and is 23.7 miles long spanning 7 small bridges. PRR has been non-profit since 2017 and continues to grow every year.
(Pictured above: PRR’s audience included, from left to right, Vice President Kenny Schaffer, Bernie Daly, Julia Schimp, and Maintenance Chairman Bob Guthrie.)
Laird said that outdoor recreation is one of Pennsylvania’s growing industries and he believes mechanized vehicles are part of that growth and that due to the economic growth potential and viewing the activity as a family-oriented economic growth potential, more opportunities will be developed for recreational vehicles such as ATVs and the consideration of motorized recreational vehicles as a family-oriented activity.
“Other PA areas seeing developments mentioned that outdoor recreation now ranks second in the state when it comes to revenue. Hopefully if the club stays the course we’ll see that income come to our area,” Laird said.
DCNR is beginning to take notice and recently announced efforts to create the Catawissa Recreation Area in both Schuylkill and Luzerne Counties. DCNR purchased the land near Hazleton from Butler Enterprises using funds from the 2022-23 state budget.
“With this property, we will enhance motorized recreation and Pennsylvania will manage these forest resources and other resources on the property,” said Ellen Shultzabarger, the state’s forest warden. There are also bogs and wetlands, rocky outcrops and ancient hemlocks.
The land was previously open to off-roading from Paragon Adventure Park, which closed nearly 10 years ago.
Many Pennsylvanians are also willing to travel to other states for motorized RVs.
The Hatfield-McCoy Trails consist of over 1,000 miles of hiking trails and are located in the mountains of southern West Virginia. One of the largest trail systems for off-highway vehicles in the world, the Hatfield-McCoy Trails are open 365 days a year and offer something for every ability level. Fall is an especially exciting time to hit the trails as temperatures are mild and it’s a unique opportunity to browse for leaves in the Mountain State.
“A few months ago I was surprised to see people coming here from West Virginia,” Laird said. “I’m not saying they’re sick of Hatfield, but they want to come to Pennsylvania.
“We have stuff they don’t have down there. We have history, we have culture, we have trees. We have great cities; We have great places.
“We want to use that to bring them here. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I’m just trying to tell you that good things are happening here.”
For more information on Piney Rail Riders visit https://www.pineyrailriders.org/
Club officers are:
Cinnamon (Marie) Vosburg (President)
Kenny Shaffer (Vice President)
Melissa Kemmer-Daugherty (Treasurer)
Gerald Fetterman (Secretary)
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