I’m sure you’ve seen the signs while driving around the county – “Future Route of the Ohio River Trail.” But what does it mean and how far in the future should we be expecting this trail?
The Ohio River Greenway Trail is part of a major greenway corridor throughout our great state and serves as an important section to a national system of trails existing in the five states of Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
This corridor will begin at the PA/OH/WV state lines, where it will connect to the Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway Trail (a 110-mile stretch that connects Lake Erie to the Ohio River in East Liverpool, OH). The trail will parallel Rt 68 to Bridgwater before crossing the Fallston and Veterans Memorial bridges to New Brighton and Beaver Falls. The trail will also include a planned extension to Bradys Run Park.
One could then next walk, bike, or run across the Bridgewater-Rochester Bridge to go through Rochester and across the Rochester-Monaca Bridge. The trail will then parallel Rt. 51 to the Aliquippa-Ambridge Bridge and through more river towns of Beaver County before crossing the Sewickley-Moon Bridge to head towards Coraopolis to meet the Montour Trail and Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
When completed, the Montour Trail (connecting Coraopolis and Clairton) will be a part of the Great Allegheny Passage, which connects Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD. This trail traverses through the Allegheny region of the Appalachian Mountains and covers 150 miles of trail, including scenic rides through Ohiopyle State Park. In Cumberland, the trail connects with the C&O Canal Towpath and continues for another 184 miles to Washington, DC.
Get your legs ready because once all the connecting trails are completed, it will form a mega-trail system that connects the Great Lakes region to the east coast. That’s quite a bit of biking or hiking!
While the exact date of completion for the Ohio River Greenway Trail is unknown, the sooner funds are obtained the sooner area residents can hop on their bike or lace up their hiking shoes.
The entire Ohio River Trail project is being funded by local, state and federal grants as well as foundations. The National Park Service River Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program is partnering with the Ohio River Trail Council in providing assistance to create this expansive trail.
The Ohio River Trail Council is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization, which is constantly seeking new volunteers. Visit their website – ohiorivertrail.org – to sign up. Vincent Troia, President of the Ohio River Trail Council, said the biggest need at the moment are volunteer grant writers and people who are able to host fundraisers.
One easy way to learn more about this exciting venture to is attend the Ohio River Trail Council’s annual Fall Festival on October 15 at Bradys Run Park – Gear and Cheer Music Festival. There will be live music, races (including a 5k/10K/run/walk series), tournaments (corn hole and horse shoe), gear demonstrations, lake activities, wine and beer tasting, activities for the kids, and so much more. Some events require registration and tickets can be obtained via the Ohio River Trail website or at the park the day of the event.
Visit the Ohio River Trail Council’s website – ohiorivertrail.org – for more information regarding the trail, updated maps and plans, volunteer opportunities and so much more.