If you haven't had the pleasure of bicycling or walking along the scenic Armstrong Trail that parallels the Allegheny River, you can do one or both Sept. 29 at an inaugural family-friendly event.
Bicyclists will start at 10 a.m. in Kittanning from the Church of God parking lot at 629 Woodward Ave.; walkers will step out at 10 a.m. from the Nautical Mile Campground at 530 Stone Ave. in Templeton.
The cyclists will pedal 9 miles along a crushed limestone trail to Templeton, enjoy a ribs and barbecue chicken lunch from Bonello's restaurant at noon in the campground pavilion and continue 6 more miles to Rimer or return to Kittanning for an 18- or 30-mile round trip.
Walkers will head to Grays Eddy, which has a short share-the-road section, and return to the campground, a 4-mile round trip. They also will have lunch in the pavilion.
Although the trail extends 35 miles from Rosston, a mile downstream of Ford City, to a point 7 miles above East Brady, the organizers wanted to highlight two popular segments of the trail for the rain-or-shine event.
"It will give riders and walkers a preview of what's to come as we continue to improve the trail," said Toni Henry of East Brady, president of the Armstrong Rails to Trails Association. The association and the Allegheny Valley Land Trust, which owns the trail, are hosting the fundraising event.
"We want people to have a good experience, enjoy the beautiful scenery and historic sites and come back again and again," Henry said.
Bicyclists will ride by Lock & Dam No. 7, the Cowanshannock Trail that leads to Buttermilk Falls, the Monticello Iron Furnace, the Mosgrove Trestle, the Pine Creek Underground Winery, Lock & Dam No. 8 and the Ore Hill Iron Furnace on their trip to Templeton.
Riders are asked to respect the property and privacy of residents who live along or near the trail, including the owners of mobile homes and recreational vehicles that overlook the river. They also are urged to be careful when passing horseback riders on designated sections of the trail.
Walkers will pass by the Armstrong Generating Station at Reesedale, Mahoning Creek and the Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad Bridge en route to Grays Eddy.
Henry said fruit, water and a coupon for ice cream will be available at both starting locations.
Henry encouraged everyone, especially first-time visitors, to "come out and meet your fellow trail enthusiasts, support the trail association and have some fun." The association is a member of the Pittsburgh to Erie Trail Alliance.
The fees are $25 for adults and $15 for children ages 12-18. All proceeds will be used for trail development. The registration deadline is Sept. 14. Bicyclists must wear a helmet and both groups should bring water.
The ride/walk, which the association hopes will become an annual event, is sponsored by Rosebud Mining Company, Snyder Associated Companies, Bradigan's Inc. and Sheetz.
Connellsville will have its first Sustainability Festival in Yough River Park from noon-8 p.m. Sept. 8 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 9.
Rachael Christie of the Trail Town Outreach Corps said the free event will include live music, a tour of Connellsville's first green building, renewable energy exhibits, sustainable living workshops, a farmers' market, funding opportunities and "much, much more."
Christie said support for the festival is provided in part by the West Penn Sustainable Energy Fund. Festival visitors should keep an eye out for That Dam Ride cyclists who will pedaling by both days.
Larry Walsh writes about recreational bicycling for the Post-Gazette.