Biking: Bike trip to benefit Boston trailhead

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Gravity works.

A homeowner was pointedly reminded of that fact last week while trying to extend his backyard by repeatedly dumping fill without making sure it would stay where it was dumped.

The resulting landslide, perhaps aided and abetted by all the rain we've had in the past month, dumped trees, debris and a variety of uprooted vegetation on a 150-foot-long section of the Great Allegheny Passage near Milepost 23. The "dump site" isn't too far from the Dravo Cemetery

The Mon Yough Trail Council, the stewards of that section of the passage, has removed the trees and large debris, but the trail is a mess.

"The trail is passable but very muddy," said council member Judy Marshall. "We are working on it with professional contractors and we've notified the [state] Department of Environmental Protection."

The Regional Trail Corporation, which owns the segment of the trail damaged by the slide, is reviewing the legal aspects of the landslide.

Some trail users participating in the Mon Yough Trail Council's 20th Annual Yough and Roll Aug. 3 will get their first look at the slide area as they pedal up from the Boston trailhead. A 40-mile roundtrip ride will depart at 8 a.m. A 20-mile roundtrip will start at 9 a.m.

"Walk-ins are welcome," Marshall said. "Rest stops will be provided with yummy food, and lunch will be served after the event at the Boston trailhead."

The registration fee for each ride is $20. "All the proceeds will go to maintain our wonderful trail," Marshall said.

In addition to the Yough and Roll rides, the council will hold its annual Membership Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Boston trailhead. New members are welcome.

There will be free hot dogs, snacks and refreshments. Council members will be on hand to answer questions about the trail and discuss the organization's latest activities and events. T-shirts, ballcaps, guidebooks and general information will be available at the Boston Visitor Center.

The trailhead and its parking lot are under the Boston bridge, just off Route 48 in Elizabeth Township.

Information: www.gaptrail.org, 1-888-282-2453.

Turntable makeover

Armstrong Trail president Toni Henry reports that the train turntable along the trail near Phillipston is receiving "a much needed makeover."

Henry, Sarah Heppenstall, David Gibson and Marty Henry cleared the turntable pit of debris and dirt July 20. "Although the job was daunting and dirty, a great sense of satisfaction was gained from completing another necessary task," she said.

Henry said members Angie and Darwin Burtner began clearing the area around the turntable in the fall of 2011. "The vegetation had hidden this old railroad gem for decades," she said. "Vegetation was professionally treated this past spring to eliminate the new growth of weeds and saplings."

She said trail member Val Dzwonczyk, a retired engineer, is completing a feasibility study and cost estimate to re-deck the turntable track, add handrails, spread stone around the perimeter and place benches and an historic sign at the site.

Henry said members Al and Anita Smith have started clearing the site of the coaling tower near Redbank Creek, less than 2 miles downstream.

Trail improvements are underway from Lock and Dam 9 to Phillipston. A segment of the trail is being shifted to bring riders and walkers closer to the turntable site.

The Armstrong Rails to Trails Association is seeking funds to complete the turntable and coaling tower projects. Donations in any amount can be sent to the association at Box 777, Kittanning, PA, 16201.

Information: www.armstrongrailtrail@yahoo.com, 412-363-5140.

mobilehome - outdoors

Larry Walsh writes about recreational bicycling for the Post-Gazette.


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