Cambria County Commissioners

The Cambria County commissioners on Thursday presented certificates of recognition to the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority and Indiana County Parks & Trails in honor of the Ghost Town Trail’s selection as Pennsylvania’s 2020 Trail of the Year. Pictured (left to right) are Commissioner Scott W. Hunt, President Commissioner Thomas C. Chernisky, CCCRA Program Coordinator Caytlin Lusk, CCCRA Executive Director Cliff Kitner, ICPT Director Ed Patterson and Commissioner B.J. Smith.

EBENSBURG – The Cambria County commissioners presented certificates of recognition on Thursday to the two county recreation authorities responsible for the development and maintenance of the Ghost Town Trail, Pennsylvania’s 2020 Trail of the Year.

Cliff Kitner and Caytlin Lusk, executive director and program coordinator, respectively, of the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority, and Ed Patterson, director of Indiana County Parks & Trails, accepted the certificates for their organizations.

Patterson said that the creation and expansion of the 46-mile-long trail system has always been a multi-county effort.

“When we started in 1991,” he said, “when we first acquired some property, we decided that we were going to not worry about county lines – lines that somebody drew on a map a long time ago – and we were going to try to make it a regional project. That’s what’s happened.”

Kitner discussed various extensions of the trail that are in the works, including a 1.5-mile-long spur set to be built this year that will link the trail’s C&I Extension to Duman Lake County Park near Belsano. He said that 5.5 miles of trail in Cambria Township need to be completed to make the Ghost Town Trail the first continuously looping rail-trail in the eastern United States.

“Our foot’s on the gas,” he said.

“We’re trying to make it bigger and better. … It’s going to be a 32-mile loop with a lot of smaller loops. For example, we’re working with Pristine Resources, getting an easement through a piece of their property so we can create a little 4-mile loop in Revloc. We would have 4-mile loops, we would have 15-mile loops, and so on and so forth. The goal is to create as many different loops as possible once we get the whole thing completed.”

Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said when the 2020 Trail of the Year award was announced on Jan. 13 that the Ghost Town Trail “captures the spirit of an industrial past and the promise of a recreational future.” DCNR’s Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee names a Trail of the Year each year in order to raise awareness of the state’s trail network.

Both Patterson and Kitner saluted Lusk on Thursday for the work she did in submitting the Ghost Town Trail for consideration for the Trail of the Year honor.

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

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