Abandoned rail corridor to be recreational trail

From staff reports

The Piney RailRiders is working on developing 24 miles of abandoned rail corridor between the Clarion River trestle and Brookville for the purpose of opening a public ATV and snowmobile trail.

In addition, the trail would permit the riding of horses as well as other activities, including hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

In 2019, the PRR was awarded a $66,000 grant by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to study the feasibility of establishing the Piney Rail Corridor (PRC) as a public multiuse trail. The study was recently completed and approved by the DCNR.

The nonprofit PRR is now preparing a grant request for funding toward purchase of the land. About $1.2 million will be needed to purchase the 24.7-mile-long 600 acres, which includes costs for appraisal, closing and legal fees. The PRR also is conducting a fund drive among membership.

The PRR has a yearly lease agreement that permits use and maintenance of the trail.

According to Bryan Huwar, grant coordinator for the Economic Development Corporation, the 24 miles of abandoned rail corridor travels through five townships in Clarion and Jefferson counties. Four of the townships the PRC crosses have open ATV riding. These four townships connect with at least a dozen other townships.

“Owing to the 24-mile PRC and the open road townships it passes through, and 12 or so other contiguous townships with open roads, ATV riders can legally ride a couple of hundred of miles,” he said.

Anyone interested in helping to bring the rail corridor into the public domain may send pledges, contributions and membership application requests to Piney RailRiders, President Cinnamon Vosburg, 63 Vosburg Lane, Strattanville, PA 16258.