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Connector links rail trail to Canoe Creek State Park

A new connector will allow Lower Trail users to travel safely under Route 22 to reach Canoe Creek State Park. Mirror photo by Rachel Foor

FRANKSTOWN TOWNSHIP — Lower Trail users can cross under heavily traveled Route 22 to access Canoe Creek State Park thanks to a trail connector project celebrated Friday.

Officials from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Penn­DOT and Rails to Trails came together at the park to dedicate the site of the connector that includes a half mile of new construction, three-fifths of a mile of trail and two trail bridge replacements.

The completed project will close one of what DCNR and PennDOT officials called Pennsylvania’s top 10 trail gaps, according to a news release.

Safe passage to the

17.5-mile Lower Trail from the park’s day use area was a top concern for officials and trail users alike.

“I think over the last year and a half, we’ve realized how important our outdoor spaces and our trails are to us,” said Joseph Basil, Canoe Creek State Park manager.

DCNR works with local trail managers to achieve its goal of providing a trail within 10 minutes of every Pennsylvania resident. To do this, they connect existing trail sections that are typically less than five miles long and are officially recognized in a local trail plan, according to the release.

“Projects like this don’t just happen by just saying it,” said Thomas Prestash, PennDOT regional manager. “It really takes the heart and soul of the community.”

“Reflecting on this trail project, and all trail projects in Pennsylvania State Parks … it reinforces for me the significance of the important trail infrastructure in our system,” Bureau of State Parks Director John Hallas said. “It immediately has the power to connect us to each other, our neighbors, our friends, to anyone in these special places.”

Others who were instrumental in the Lower Trail project include Blair County Commissioners, Frankstown Township Commissioners and Friends of Canoe Creek.

Mirror Staff Writer Rachel Foor is at 814-946-7458.

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