4 Southwestern Pa. trails could be part of coast-to-coast bike route | TribLIVE.com

4 Southwestern Pa. trails could be part of coast-to-coast bike route

Jacob Tierney
A biker makes his way along the Great Allegheny Passage in West Newton, on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.

Four Southwestern Pennsylvania bike paths eventually could be part of a coast-to-coast mega-trail.

The Great American Rail-Trail, proposed by the nonprofit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, would link Seattle to Washington D.C. with 3,700 miles spanning 12 states.

The conservancy has announced its preferred route for the trail, which would link up dozens of existing trails — including four in Pennsylvania.

The Panhandle Trail connects Weirton, W.Va., to McDonald, Washington County.

The Montour trail continues from McDonald to Coraopolis.

There’s a gap from Coraopolis to Pittsburgh, where the Three Rivers Heritage Trail connects riders to the Great Allegheny Passage — which runs from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md.

“Washington County is seeing a direct return in its vibrant tourism industry, and our trail systems provide a unique opportunity to capitalize on trail tourism and its impact on small business growth,” Larry Maggi, Washington County commissioner chairman, said in a statement.

Thanks to the many existing bike paths on the route, the Great American Rail-Trail is more than half-complete. Finishing the full coast-to-coast route, however, will require building 1,700 miles of new trails to fill in the gaps.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has been working on the project since the late 1980s, and finishing will likely take several more decades, the organization said.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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