I’m pleased to announce the next round of North Branch Canal Trail work days scheduled for early October. As most of you know, we’ve taken some time off from the North Branch Canal Trail to focus our efforts on the new mountain bike trail network at the Hopewell Park/Danville Borough Farm site. I’d like to extend a sincere thanks to all our volunteers who worked so very hard to get those trails ready and open before the River Towns Cycling Classic event on September 6th and 7th. The new trails are an exceptional addition to our regional trail network and a great new asset for our community. To learn more about the Hopewell Park/Danville Borough Farm Trails, please visit http://montourrec.com/marc/?page_id=5858. The page is a work in progress, but it will give you some idea of the scope of work which has been accomplished.
I’m also happy to report work has continued on the North Branch Canal Trail during the last few weeks, though in a slightly different manner. MARC has secured the necessary approvals to continue with our vegetation clearing near the Montour County/Columbia County line. We have also worked with an Eagle Scout candidate and his family and friends to grade, seed and cover with straw the first 0.6 miles of trail in Montour Township, Columbia County, extending from PA-42 beside the Catawissa Boat Club nearly to the Rohrbachs’ barn where we have been meeting on past work days. An updated chart of our progress is copied below for your reference.
As the growing season rapidly draws to a close, we are going to make one last push to finish some additional trail in Mahoning Township, Montour County. The plan is to begin grading and seeding at the point where we left off earlier this year and work eastward as far as possible until either time or conditions dictate. Please mark your calendars now for the week of October 6th – 9th at the following times:
· Monday, October 6th, from 8:30am to 2:15pm
· Tuesday, October 7th, from 11:00am to 2:15pm
· Wednesday, October 8th, from 8:30am to 2:15pm
· Thursday, October 9th, from 8:30am to 2:15pm
We will be parking at the temporary trailhead along River Drive in Mahoning Township, roughly one mile east of the Danville Soccer Park, immediately before the North Shore Railroad crossing. I will plan to be on site with my tractor, chainsaw and other supplies during those times, weather permitting. Because we will be moving dirt, in the event of hard rains, we will have to postpone or cancel the work.
Volunteers are asked to bring the following items if possible:
· Garden rakes
· Pry bars
· Pruning shears
Our work will be a three-step process this time, involving:
1. Clearing of briars, woody debris and any other items which may still exist along the trail corridor
2. Grading of the trail surface to the extent possible with my tractor
3. Hand-tool fine grading of the final trail surface, followed by seeding and straw covering
All volunteers should wear sturdy work boots, long (briar resistant) pants and work gloves. Poison ivy is terribly abundant along this portion of the trail corridor, so please prepare accordingly. As before, only MARC staff and veteran trail crew volunteers will be permitted to operate chainsaws or other power equipment. All volunteers will be required to sign liability waivers before beginning any work. Because trail conditions are still very rough, we ask that children not attend this session. Additionally, because of the legal agreement governing trail construction and access, please understand volunteers may only be on site during the times listed above, in the presence of MARC representatives. The trail corridor remains closed to public access until further notice.
This will be our final trail grading work of the year. The growing season is rapidly coming to an end and hunting seasons will be opening in coming days, so we want to respect the adjacent landowners and the requirements of our work permits. Additional trail work days will be scheduled in coming weeks and months to continue the vegetation clearing work near the county line and perhaps begin the installation of some of the required culverts, but all work will be scheduled on either weekday mornings or Sunday afternoons to minimize hunting-related conflicts. Trail grading work is expected to resume next spring as weather conditions allow.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please call me at (570) 336-2060 or email me at MontrRec@ptd.net. On behalf of MARC and our many project partners, thank you again to all those who have donated more than 500 volunteer hours so far to make the North Branch Canal Trail a reality. We have made fantastic progress so far and I’m very much looking forward to opening sections of the trail in the not too distant future. We’ll hope to see some of you out on the trail on October 6th – 9th.
Bob Stoudt | Director, Montour Area Recreation Commission / River Towns Race Series | PO Box 456, Danville, PA 17821
(570) 336-2060 | MontrRec@ptd.net | http://www.MontourRec.com