Grant allows completion of Marsh Trail

Extra funds will enable additional KBB project

After a $5,000 grant enabled Keep Blair Beautiful to buy materials for an extension of the boardwalk for the Marsh Trail at Canoe Creek State Park last year, the organization had no firm expectations of more money where that came from.

“We knew there was the potential for more,” said Katrina Pope, education and enforcement coordinator for the Intermunicipal Relations Committee, which provides staffing for Keep Blair Beautiful.

But Pope was thinking along the lines of $500 — or at most a repeat of the initial $5,000 grant.

Instead, based on a national online poll to guide distribution of extra money in the grant fund, a poll in which the Marsh Creek project outshone all the others that had been funded last year, the local group received $18,000.

Before the award announcement, there was talk of recipients getting $1,800, so when Pope got word it was $18,000, she checked to be sure there wasn’t an inadvertent extra zero.

The generous amount will enable KBB to buy enough wood and screws to complete the 250 feet or so of boardwalk, along with a teaching platform at the end, Pope said.

The cost of that material will take about $3,000.

A trip to the Keep America Beautiful national conference this year, as recommended by the parent organization, will take another $2,000.

That will leave $13,000 to put in the bank to await some still-undetermined KBB initiative, Pope said.

The final section of the approximately 1,000-foot Marsh Trail boardwalk will be the fourth.

The park staff and the Friends of Canoe Creek built the first two, Pope said.

Last year, woodshop students from Hollidaysburg Area High School added approximately 300 feet, bringing the length of the trail to 700 feet.

This year’s woodshop crew, under supervision of biology teacher Kevin McCloskey and woodshop teacher Joe Krupka, will install the boardwalk Tuesday and Wednesday, May 15 and 16.

They’ll precut the lumber and pre-build the framework prior to installation.

The 0.4-mile Marsh Trail begins near Canoe Creek Road within the park, past the parking lots near the beach, just past the creek bridge, according to an online map of the park.

For most of its length, the trail parallels the lake shore.

The framework “floats” on the marshy ground, which — without the boardwalk, would be inaccessible to the disabled and to almost anyone in wet weather, according to Pope.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.