Jim Mayer Riverswalk trail

A walker using the Jim Meyer Riverswalk trail on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, passes an area that was sprayed with herbicides to kill weeds near Penelec transmission lines.

A nationally known trail running nonprofit put its spotlight on Johnstown as a must-see “Trail Town” this month.

The American Trail Running Association, a Colorado-based nonprofit, highlighted the city as a “bucket list” stop for trail running enthusiasts, citing its scenic mix of wooded and urban pathways, including the Ghost Town Trail, Path of the Flood Trail, Jim Mayer Riverswalk and Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, among others.

“The trail community throughout Cambria County is enthusiastic, passionate and eager,” trail writer Richard Bolt wrote in a story posted on the association’s Trailrunner.com website.

And within the community itself, “Outdoor recreation has become a major focus in the area, and visitors are traveling from near and far to enjoy the (region’s) lakes, rivers and trails,” he wrote. “Revitalization efforts are in full swing as residents, local organizations and non-profits are working to make Johnstown a top destination to live, work and play.”

The article recognized the 32-mile Ghost Town Trail, and its 14 miles of branches, as one of the top 10 hiking trails in the nation, and noted that both the Riverswalk, the Ghost Town and Path of the Flood, which follows the 1889 flood route, are designated as National Recreation Trails by the non-profit American Trails.

It also cites picturesque paths such as Powell Stackhouse Park and the hillside Inclined Plane Trails, which wind their way alongside the “World’s Steepest Vehicular Incline.”

Montpelier, Vermont and Boise, Idaho were featured in previous “Trail Town” stories on https://trailrunner.com.

To Nicole Waligora, the article is well-earned recognition for the Johnstown area residents who’ve worked hard to turn the region into an outdoor destination.

“This is just another great positive promotion for our community and our trails,” said Waligora, the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s sports travel program coordinator. 

For trail runners, she said, it’s an opportunity to see what Johnstown has to offer.

The American Trail Running Association’s article also highlights hot spots to grab a coffee, dine and drink, citing restaurants such as Tap 814 and Asiago’s Tuscan Italian and Flood City Cafe, among others.

It also promotes the annual path of the Flood Historic Races and the Ghost Town Trail Challenge for runners looking to for competition when they visit the area.

“Trail runners are people who want to explore – visit new places and try new things,” Waligora said. “We’re hoping this will encourage more of them to consider Cambria County.”

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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