New section added to Coal and Coke Trail
By Marilyn Forbes
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Coal and Coke Trail, which runs from Mt. Pleasant to Scottdale, has a new section.
Bikers and hikers can enjoy a leg of trail that runs behind Henderson Auto off Mt. Pleasant Road in Scottdale.
“We bought the property when we first started the trail, but we ran out of money,” said Robert Keeler, Coal and Coke Trail secretary. He said a grant from Levin Furniture and other grants made the new link possible.
“We had to dig a ditch and have it cleared and excavated,” he said.
Prior to the new section, trail users had to bike or walk along the Mt. Pleasant Road from the Kendi Park extension in Scottdale to the wooded area off the street, a distance of about a quarter mile. Now most of that will be on a more scenic and safer route.
“It really was a matter of safety,” Keeler said. “This now gets people off the road and on to the trail.”
The Coal and Coke Trail has experienced a tough year. The summer rains caused three washouts on the trail in different sections.
“I think that we did more work and had more expense this year than all the other years put together,” Keeler said. “This year was really, really rough for us.”
Because of the washout in the section of the trail right off Willows Park in Mt. Pleasant, the trail group is looking into paving that section of the trail. Members are studying the possibility of clearing trees and other obstacles in Shupe Run that are contributors to the flooding that causes the washouts.
Issues with vandalism have been addressed. Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson, who is in charge of trail maintenance and safety, said efforts to make the route safer seem to be working.
“We have a safe trail,” Hutchinson said. “We were having some problems with quads and motorcycles, but we pretty much have that all under control now.”
Hutchinson said he personally takes time to sit along areas of the trail that have posed problems in the past, keeping a watch while offering reassurance to those who use the route.
“I have different areas that I sit back off the trail a little and just keep an eye out,” Hutchinson said. “Some of the regulars now look for me and wave when they see me. I think it makes them feel better to know I am there. They feel safer.”
The Coal and Coke group is pleased with the progress of the trail work and the recent addition of the trail head on the Mt. Pleasant end has added convenience and usage, but members feel they still need to get word out on the route while seeking help in upkeep.
“What we need is public awareness so more people really know about the trail and can help,” Keeler said. “A lot of people still don't know all the details of the trail. We invite the public to our meetings that are held at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at the Village Restaurant, and we encourage people to come.”
“What we would like to get is more feedback from the people that use the trail on a regular basis,” Hutchinson said. “We need the people who use the trail a lot to be a presence. We need to hear their input. We need to spread the word a little more.”
The group is completing the additional signage that must be placed, rerouting the trail traffic to the new section.
“I think it's great,” said Bill Potoka from Mt. Pleasant, while bicycling on the trail's new section. “It will be safer now for everyone to use.”
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.
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