Letter to the editor: Proud of West Newton’s GAP efforts
The Trib’s “Staycations” feature about the Great Allegheny Passage hike and bike trail that stretches 148 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. (“West Newton to Ohiopyle on the Great Allegheny Passage,” Oct. 27, TribLIVE) used West Newton as a starting place. And for good reason.
While two hiking trail sections were already in place, it was the work done by the folks in West Newton that got the total project started.
Under the auspices of the community development organization Downtown West Newton, work got under way to revamp the old, unused rail bed of the C&O that ran along the Youghiogheny River through town into a useable facility for hiking and biking. Many hours of work by volunteers for the town and the surrounding area as well as groups which formed along the right-of-way pitched in. Along with some grants and some help from Westmoreland County, what began as a far-off dream when started in the late 1980s came to fruition as the Yough River Trail in the mid-1990s.
What was a far-in-the-future possibility caught the imagination of folks all along the route. Other clubs of volunteers formed. Community development organizations, municipalities, counties all pitched in, including the City of Pittsburgh. We now not only have a fun place for our own town to enjoy but also a whole 150 miles of outdoor relaxation and continuing economic growth.
You can be mighty proud that your hard work and dedication got the Great Allegheny Passage started, West Newton!