The completion of Phase II of the Westmoreland Heritage Trail, a scenic, 3.7-mile crushed limestone extension from Slickville to Delmont, will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Oct. 5 at the Slickville Lions Club ballfield.
The extension connects with a 5-mile segment that links Saltsburg to Slickville and will offer bicyclists a round-trip ride of 17.4 miles. The trail was built on the old right-of-way of the Turtle Creek Branch of the Penn Central Railroad, formerly the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The rain-or-shine ceremony will include a dedication, ribbon-cutting and a special run/bike/walk event.
In addition to the Slickville Lions Club ballfield, parking for the new segment is available at the John G. Rangos and James Peretto Family Trail trailhead along Athena Drive just east of Delmont.
Malcolm Sias, director of the Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation Department, said the project began in 2002 with a feasibility study to evaluate the possibility of building a 22-mile multipurpose trail from Saltsburg on the Indiana County border to Trafford on the Allegheny County border.
He said the first 5 miles were completed in 2008 and have been "heavily used" by bicyclists, walkers, joggers, runners, bird-watchers, cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
Sias said the overall project was made possible by "a significant land donation" from the Rangos and Peretto families to the Regional Trail Corporation (RTC). Trail easements were granted by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, Perry and Carole Miller and Lawrence and Marlene Kestner.
He said the new segment was a team effort by the Westmoreland Heritage Trail Chapter, the RTC, PennDOT District 12, the townships of Salem, Penn and Loyalhanna, and the boroughs and municipalities of Delmont, Murrysville, Monroeville, Trafford and Export.
Trail planning, construction and inspection were handled, respectively, by GAI Consultants, Plum Contracting and SAI Consulting Engineers.
Information: www.co.westmoreland.pa.us/parks; 724-830-3950.
Volunteer riders needed
Bicyclists are needed Oct. 5 to pedal lightweight and glass-free food donations "at a leisurely pace suitable for beginners" 12.5 miles from the Carnegie Science Center to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne.
As part of National Hunger Action Month, the center is accepting nonperishable food items during regular business hours through Friday at 1 Allegheny Ave. on the North Side. Those who donate today will receive a $2 discount off general admission.
Recommended items include high-fiber cereal, canned beans, canned tuna and salmon in water, canned vegetables, diapers and toilet tissue.
Volunteer cyclists will load their bikes next Saturday, ride to the food bank and return to the Science Center. All volunteers will receive a free admission voucher to the center to see the BIKES: Science on Two Wheels exhibit.
The ride is sponsored by the science center, WYEP-FM (91.3), the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Bike to Feed Families and Dollar Bank.
Queen City Trail
The Queen City Trail, a 1.7-mile trail in downtown Titusville, has received 20 new blue/green/white signs that indicate its inclusion in what is envisioned to be a more than 170-mile system of multiuse trail segments connecting Pittsburgh to Presque Isle on Lake Erie.
The production and installation costs were covered by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Oil Region Alliance, the National Park Service and the Oil Region National Heritage Area.
A similar combination grant provided identical signage along a 4-mile segment of the new McClintock Trail linking Oil City to the Rynd Farm in Oil Creek State Park. The segment includes a share-the-road section on Waitz Road and a paved section that parallels the former Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad.
Information: www.oilregion.org; 1-800-483-6264.
Larry Walsh writes about recreational bicycling for the Post-Gazette.