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Proposal moves trail deeper into Indiana Township's natural setting

Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Robin Nicholson walks along the Rachel Carson Trail in Indiana Township.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Each year before the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, race organizers ask Indiana Township supervisors to mark potential hazards with signs.

The 34-mile endurance hike follows the trail from North Park to Harrison Hills, and in portions of Indiana Township it crosses heavily traveled roads.

The signs go up each year, but municipal Manager Dan Anderson said supervisors support an effort to relocate four miles of the trail away from traffic.

“There's a location where participants cross Saxonburg Boulevard that they feel is dangerous,” Anderson said. “They ask us every year to put up markers and we do. But we support their larger effort to put the trail back into nature.”

Members of the Rachel Carson Trail Conservancy, a volunteer group aimed at developing and promoting the walking trail, propose taking a stretch close to public roads and moving it deeper into the township's natural setting.

Conservancy member Steve Mentzer said the section targeted is between Emmerling Park and Hartwood Acres, but any work is still some time away.

Easements are needed from landowners, and initial contact has been made.

The Rachel Carson Trail, completed in 1975, extends 35.7 miles from Harrison Hills to North Park.

It crosses county parks and creeks, meanders around residential plans and passes steep bluffs. At times, walkers find themselves on paved roads and at others on rugged paths.

In all, 8.5 miles of the trail wind through Indiana Township.

“We're looking at the relocation as a way to more directly connect the trail to Hartwood,” Mentzer said.

The park connects now through a spur path, which is workable, Mentzer said. But trail officials would like the trail to be “off the road” in terms of scenery, and more wooded, he said.

“It seems they've had positive input from residents,” Anderson said of the trail conservancy. “Work would be between the conservancy and the property owners, but we encourage it.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at

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