Bicycle Enthusiasts Pumped About Greenway Sojourn
28 December 2013
By Joe Napsha, Staff Reporter
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Greenway Sojourn will be going
along the Youghiogheny River through Westmoreland and Fayette
counties in June 2014, the third consecutive year that the
long-distance bike trek will pass through region on the Great
The Greenway Sojourn will break new ground by traversing parts of
three states — West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland — on a
trip that will begin June 22 at the Panhandle Trail in Weirton,
W.Va., and conclude 225 miles later on June 27 in Cumberland, Md.,
said Thomas Sexton, director of the recreational conservancy's
Northeast regional office in Camp Hill.
Riders will travel the Panhandle Trail in Weirton, connect with
the newly expanded Montour Trail at Carnegie and then link up with
the Great Allegheny Passage at McKeesport. The bikers will go
through West Newton, Cedar Creek Park in Rostraver, Dawson,
Connellsville, Confluence and on to Cumberland.
The sojourn is designed to allow participants the opportunity to
stop and explore the communities and attractions along the way.
Riders can travel at their own pace, and there are frequent
opportunities to stop, rest and enjoy the surroundings, the
The conservancy has estimated the costs at $700, depending on
final arrangements involving meals and camping sites. Registration
will open in January, and participation will be limited to 300
The sojourn is popular enough that it attracted 292 riders for the
June 2013 event, which was a boost to trail town businesses,
according to statistics from the conservancy.
The Rails-to-Trails conservancy estimated there was $117,000 in
positive economic impact to communities along the 150-mile sojourn
route from Pittsburgh to Cumberland. The average rider spent $700
on the trip, including $224 in Pennsylvania on bike supplies,
clothing, sleeping bags and other camping equipment for the trip,
the conservancy said. Riders spent an average of $29 a day for
water, snacks and sandwiches and $47 per person on main meals. The
riders also spent an average of $132 on accommodations in
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is
behind the event. It gave the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy with
$85,000 to produce the 2014 bicycle trek. It recently announced
that the conservancy will get another $85,000 to organize the
sojourn in 2015 along a route that has not yet been determined,
Sexton said. In 2012, the state gave the conservancy a $115,000
grant to help pay for the 2013 Greenway Sojourn in June.
The 2015 grant, which was funneled through the Environmental
Stewardship Fund, was part of a $38 million pool of Community
Conservation Partnership Program grants that went to 201
conservation and recreation projects, including 36 trail projects.
Sexton praised the state's financial support of for the
rails-to-trails projects, saying Pennsylvania has pumped about $2
million into those biking and hiking trails over many years.
“This is very, very unusual for state-generated money” to be used
for rails-to-trails projects, Sexton said. “Pennsylvania is far in
advance of any other state in their trails support.”
The conservancy plans to allocate about $15,000 of its 2015 grant
to complete a statewide comprehensive trail user survey, Sexton
About $30,000 to $40,000 of the grant will be used to coordinate a
mini trail-town assistance program that will offer grants ranging
from $5,000 to $10,000 for small trail projects, Sexton said. That
money typically goes to nonprofit organizations involved in
developing municipal trails and county trails, Sexton said.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be
reached at email@example.com or 724-836-5252.
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/washington/5251349-74/conservancy-sojourn-trails#ixzz2oqmcoNZO