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Montour Trail volunteers pushing for pennies in Bethel Park, Jefferson Hills

| Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Members of the Friends of the Montour Trail Group are hoping it rains Oct. 14.

Pennies, that is.

On that day, volunteers will be on the trail asking walkers if they care to donate to the upkeep of the trail that connects McDonald, Pa. to the Panhandle Trail that stretches 29 miles between Collier and Weirton and encompasses the South Hills communities of Jefferson Hills Borough, Clairton, Bethel Park, South Park and Peters townships.

Peter Kohnke, a board member of Friends of the Montour Trail and Bethel Park resident, said money from the event will go toward trail maintenance and the purchase of supplies such as fuel for mowers, paint, rakes, fencing, trail signs, limestone and other supplies.

“Better to light one candle and not curse the darkness,” said Kohnke of the group's fundraiser, which brings in an average of $6,000.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 12:30 p.m. on the Bethel Park portion of the trail, volunteers will be collecting coins, or any other type of monetary donation at collection spots along the trail. If it rains, then donations in Bethel Park will be accepted by volunteers at the Irishtown trail head, the Limestone trailhead and the access road to Washington School off Clifton Road.

And from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., volunteers will be along portions of Montour Trail that run through Peters and South Park, Jefferson Hills and Clairton collecting monetary donations. In Peters, donations can also be dropped off at the Brush Run Road trailhead, behind the Simple Greek restaurant, or behind the St. Petersburg center. Residents of South Park, Jefferson Hills, or Clairton can drop their donations at the Brownsville extension parking area on Gill Road and at the Clairton Trailhead.

The trail, which used to be the Montour Railroad, is part of a 204-mile rails to trails project that connects Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md. It is also part of the Great Allegheny Passage, a 400-mile trail system between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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