Trails are increasingly an important part of the Cambria-Somerset landscape, providing attractions for visitors and places for locals to exercise and experience the great outdoors.
Two new trail projects were celebrated this past week, adding to the many miles of pathways that you can enjoy on foot or by bike.
The grand opening of the Quemahoning Trail on Wednesday and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a two-mile extension of the Ghost Town Trail on Thursday brought two significant moments in the movement to provide more places for outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
“We think trails make better communities and connect people in ways that are both literal and figurative, so we are delighted to be able to support this trail,” Community Foundation for the Alleghenies’ President and Executive Director Mike Kane said at the Que event.
The Community Foundation was among organizations supporting the project financially.
Organizers said the Que trail was funded by 27 grants and donations totaling $132,175.
Phase one, now open, is a 17-mile bicycle track that circles the Que reservoir.
Brad Clemenson, project manager for the Stonycreek-Quemahoning Initiative, said the new pathway is the fifth in the region designated for mountain biking.
Phase two of the Quemahoning Trail, designed by Clark Fisher of FisherWorks Consulting, is in the works. Phase two will bring secondary loop trails off the main line.
Clemenson said the Que trail will provide a great place for local riders while attracting folks “from multiple states around here.”
He said: “It’s just a great asset for the community that people are going to enjoy. You can walk it, you can run it, you can bike it, you can cross-country ski it, you can snowshoe it.”
Lisa Rager, executive director of the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention & Visitors Bureau, noted that there are now 14 biking destinations within an hour and a half of Johnstown – which is becoming “a real hub for people to have a tremendous variety of experiences on their bicycle, and even just doing the other things like camping and picnicking.”
Ann Nemanic, executive director for the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, predicted that “this exceptional Quemahoning Trail will quickly become a signature experience for spring, summer and fall riders.”
The popular Ghost Town Trail meanders over more than 30 miles, from Black Lick in eastern Indiana County to Ebensburg – connecting with various other trails in a national system.
Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a two-mile extension of the trail near Revloc.
The $141,000 project, being completed by Ray I. Winters & Sons, involved numerous partner agencies, including the Community Foundation, Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission and Cambria County government.
“We really worked collaboratively to get this done and provide something positive for the community,” said Cliff Kitner, conservation authority executive director.
“Trails are helping build a better future,” President Cambria County Commissioner Tom Chernisky said.
“It’s important we never take these experiences for granted.”
Kane, whose foundation has provided more than $250,000 for local trails in recent years, agreed.
“We’re becoming a trail town,” Kane said. “We’re becoming a trail community.”
We offer a big tip of the cap to the many providing vision and dollars to expand and improve our region’s trails.
And we urge our readers to get out there and experience these important local assets for yourselves.