Pennsylvania’s top conservation and recreation official announced on Monday the Ghost Town Trail has been named Pennsylvania’s 2020 Trail of the Year.
“Rich with the history of railroading and former coal mining towns along its 46-mile route, the Ghost Town Trail, like so many trails in Pennsylvania, captures the spirit of an industrial past and the promise of a recreational future,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said in a press release announcing the honor.
The trail is cooperatively managed by the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority and Indiana County Parks & Trails. Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority Executive Director Cliff Kitner said in a press release that the staffs of the two organizations “work very hard to make the Ghost Town Trail a premier trail destination, and this recognition shows how hard work pays off.”
“The trail’s establishment and development over the past 25 years is a testament to the shared effort and vision of many partners who have contributed to the trail’s success and popularity,” Indiana County Parks & Trails Director Ed Patterson said in the same press release.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee names a Trail of the Year each year in order to “help build enthusiasm and support for both large and small trails” and to “raise public awareness about the value of Pennsylvania’s trail network.” Pennsylvania has a total of more than 12,000 miles of trails, according to the department.
The Ghost Town Trail was created in 1994 as a 12-mile trail segment connecting the sites of several former coal mining towns. Over the years, the system has been expanded and now consists of 46 miles of trail, a 32-mile main stem from Blairsville to Ebensburg and a 14-mile extension, according to Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority officials.
It was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2003.
Cambria County President Commissioner Thomas C. Chernisky in Monday’s press release called the Ghost Town Trail “a destination that attracts visitors from across the country, state, region and locally” and said it “contributes to the health, economy and recreation of the citizens of Cambria County.”
“This is exciting news,” Chernisky said, “and this honor did not happen by accident. For many years, the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority and Indiana County Parks & Trails have worked together to acquire, construct and maintain our trails.”