BELSANO – Construction officially started on Monday of a recreational trail spur that will connect Duman Lake County Park to the C&I Extension of the Ghost Town Trail.

Cambria County elected officials, conservation and recreation leaders and other stakeholders said during a groundbreaking ceremony that the new spur is expected to ease access to the county-owned Barr Township park and thereby increase the number of people who use it.

“This is a way to get more camping out here at the park,” said Cliff Kitner, executive director of the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority. “One of the things we get asked all the time as an organization is, ‘Where can I camp? Where can I stay?’ … Once we get this trail built, Duman Lake is connected to Ebensburg. It’s connected to (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) through the Hoodlebug Trail. You can get on a bike and ride in so many different directions.”

“Hikers, cyclists, runners and walkers will be connected to Duman Lake County Park,” added Cambria County President Commissioner Tom Chernisky. “Trail users can camp here at Duman Park and enjoy all its recreational amenities. … Connecting both these community assets benefits Cambria County and our region.”

Duman Lake County Park is located along Duman Road (Route 271) about four miles north of Belsano. The 71-acre park has campsites, picnic pavilions, horseshoe courts, volleyball courts, a basketball court, a ball field, an exercise trail and restrooms. It adjoins Duman Lake, a 19-acre stocked lake that is owned by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

The 12-mile-long C&I Extension splits off from the Ghost Town Trail’s Blairsville-to-Ebensburg main stem at Vintondale and runs generally north and east, crossing U.S. Route 422 and Duman Road before turning south again and terminating at North Street in Cardiff.

Employees of Latrobe-based Robindale Energy will build a section of the new spur at no cost to the county, according to Kitner and Jim Panaro, executive vice president of Robindale Energy. In all, the extension will be a little less than two miles long; the section built by Robindale employees, the first 1.3 to 1.5 miles from Duman Lake, will have a flat crushed-gravel surface, and the last few tenths of a mile will be a single-track trail.

Robindale is also working in South Fork to reclaim a waste coal pile associated with the former Stineman Mine and to build a two-mile-long extension of the Path of the Flood Trail through the pile’s site to the breast of the dam at Johnstown Flood National Memorial.

“Through the years, we’ve done a lot of projects with the rec authority,” Panaro said. “We’ve done several waste coal reclamation projects with them. … We’ve been trying to partner with them as we can to work on sections like this that have a recreational use, like the Stineman trail, this trail.”

Mark Pesto is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkPesto.

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