Park, trail along Allegheny River opens
About 30 people walked and biked there to celebrate the opening of the township park and 2 &*#189; mile trail.
Victoria Mikus, 42, pedaled past rolling river vistas with her daughter, Micalla.
'It is so tranquil, it makes you feel like you're someplace else because it's so wooded and you can hear the birds,' Mikus said. 'I think it's a great opportunity for families to walk with their kids.'
Three years ago, former River Forest Country Club owner Wynn Tredway Sr. donated the trail and 4 acres of woodlands to the Westmoreland County township.
The township is using $240,000 in state grants to establish the recreational greenspace, supervisor John Framel said. He sees the trail as a natural resources conservation effort.
Work will continue this summer to build an overlook, a children's fishing dock, parking lots and picnic tables.
The trail was formerly a railroad track and has been smoothed with railroad bed ballast, Framel said. Crews will also put a limestone surface on the trail this summer as cleanup of debris continues.
In the past, some people used the land as a dump, Framel said. Burned-out cars and junked trailers had to be removed by the township public works department.
Some spots along river have also had the reputation of being party hangouts for teen-agers or adults, but Framel said that's not a problem since the township began locking the gates to the trail a year ago. Also, township Police will be patrolling the trail regularly by bicycle and by sport-utility vehicle, Framel said.
The trail may someday be part of a larger network of Pennsylvania and interstate trails.
The Alle-Kiski Revitalization Corp. is trying to acquire the remainder of the abandoned railroad track, which includes four miles starting from the River Forest Country Club to the confluence of the Kiskiminetas and Allegheny rivers.
If acquired, that trail would connect to the Wynn and Clara Tredway trail. Those two could then connect with the Millennium Trail, which goes to Harrisburg, and with other trails that go to Erie and Washington, D.C., Framel said.
Jonathan Szish is a reporter for the Valley News Dispatch in Tarentum.