Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.


Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 16, 2009

Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative

Mountain bikers and road bikers alike will find interesting information in this posting.

Brad Clemenson, of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), contacted the Ligonier Valley Trail group to discuss overlaps in our projects. After discussion and reading their report, we hope to coordinate with PEC, as our goals nicely match theirs.
Old Lincoln Highway west of Ligonier
Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative

The Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative is increasing recreational opportunities and linking the area's beautiful landscapes with communities.
Below an excerpt from the Laurel Ridge Trails Assessment, which was completed in March 2009. This is the section of the report that mentions the potential for a trail (mostly on-road) linking Ligonier to Linn Run State Park and mountain-bike trails higher on Laurel Ridge.
The Ridgeback Trail mentioned here is a proposed mountain-bike trail from Ohiopyle to near Johnstown that would run parallel to the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
4. Ligonier, Jones Mills and Resort Spurs
Connecting the Ridgeback Trail network to Ligonier in a way that makes sense to a certain group of users could be a simple task utilizing paved roads and signage into Linn Run State Park, then on to Forbes State Forest dirt roads and trails via Linn Run Road.

From Ligonier, this route would utilize the paved roads of Old Lincoln Highway for 1.8 miles, US Route 30 for 0.07 miles (Speedgoat Bicycle Shop is one mile east of this intersection on US Route 30), PA Route 381 for 2.9 miles, and Linn Run Road approximately seven miles to the top of the mountain. Mountain bikers and hybrid bikers could get on the PW&S trail network a third of the way up the mountain near the border of Linn Run State Park and Forbes State Forest.

Cross bikes or hybrid bikes, which are growing in popularity, could utilize this variety route from Ligonier to the top of the mountain for an enjoyable and challenging experience through the valley roads and mountain trails. Elevation change from Ligonier to the top of the ridge is approximately 1,500 feet.

Laurel Ridge

Road bikes could use this connection as it is a very scenic ride, though road bikes would obviously have to stop short of trails in Forbes State Forest. Mountain bikers can drive this route and start riding at one of several trailheads in Forbes State Forest, but would not likely ride on paved roads from Ligonier. See map #6 in Appendix b and poster maps accompanying this document.

The Ridgeback Trail can also be linked to Jones Mills, a community with a hotel (Log Cabin Motel) and Bed and Breakfast (Friendship Inn), as well as other visitor services located at the intersection of Routes 31 and 381, about two miles from the Donegal Turnpike Interchange. This connection has been mapped in the Mountain Watershed Association feasibility study for the Indian Creek Valley Trail, which then also will link to the communities of Champion and Indian Head along Route 381.



To read more about this project and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, see the references and links below.


The entire Laurel Ridge Trails Assessment report can be downloaded from www.pecpa.org/Laurel_Highlands.


Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC)


Pennsylvania Environmental Council's vision: Pennsylvania will be a model for collaborative solutions to environmental protection and restoration built through partners that recognize the inextricable links between the environment, the economy and our quality of life.

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