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Knox-Kane Rails to Trails Project

Written by Holly Komonczi

MT. JEWETT –  The ribbon cutting officially opening the Knox-Kane Rails to Trails Project

Mt. Jewett to the Kinzua Bridge State Park – Friday afternoon officially caps years-long efforts and opens this historic almost four-mile stretch that provides opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding and snowmobile riding, as well as  increased tourism and economic development.

Participating in the ribbon cutting off Center Street in Mt. Jewett, were Carolyn Stroup, president, Mt. Jewett to Kinzua Trail Club; Mt. Jewett Borough Councilman Brett Morgan; Hamlin Township Supervisors’ Chairman Jim Trussell; McKean County Commissioner Carol Duffy; Cindy Dunn, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and Tom Zurat, assistant district executive, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, District 2.

Janie French, executive director of the Headwaters Charitable Trust, explained this project was a group effort that began with the McKean County Commissioners  who took charge of the feasibility study. Kudos also went to  Dunn and DCNR who engaged other state agencies and helped secure project funding. introduced the guest speakers. “But, without local support,” French said, “this trail could not have been developed.”

French also introduced the guest speakers.

“It’s not often that a small community gets $1 million for a project, and it’s exciting to see what trails can be to a community,” Morgan said. “And thank you, Headwaters Charitable Trust for acquiring this corridor, and county commissioners for your roles in this project.”

Jim Trussell, chairman of the Hamlin Township Supervisors, and a former employee of the Knox and Kane Railroad for 13 years, said, “This is a fantastic project. I’m really glad to see the area developed and used.”

Next was Carolyn Stroup, a Hamlin township resident, who organized the MJ2KB Trail Club in early 2015 and has worked tirelessly for this day.

She is also a member of the Kinzua Valley Trail Club

“On behalf of the MJ2KB Trail Club, we want to see this rail trail used not only by the community that encompasses this trail,” she said. “As stewards of this trail, our trail club plans to maintain it, ensuring that it remains a safe environment so all trail users will have an enjoyable outdoor experience.”

Stroup noted that the MJ2KB Trail Club volunteers are now developing more of the Knox-Kane Rail Trail heading west from Mt. Jewett toward Lantz Corners. “We have united with other trail clubs to provide the public with prestigious rail trails in McKean County, the PA Wilds and across the state.”

Meanwhile, according to French, trail groups in Forest and Clarion counties are proceeding with developing their own trails.

McKean County received a $1 million grant, which could not be used for acquiring land.

French introduced McKean County Planning Director Jeremy Morey, who administered the grant. Morey said, “We administered this TAP grant on PennDOTs ECMS System and coordinated with the contractor, PennDOT, county commissioners and Headwaters Charitable Trust to make sure all phases were completed.”

Credit Bradford Era Photo credit Bradford Era