Trail Season Winding Down - TTOC November project updates

As trail season is coming to a close, so are Cara and Joe’s term of service with the SCA. We say farewell to them in early December as they head back to their respective homes. Sustainable Trail Guide The Sustainable Trail Guide is making progress, with alternatives to pesticides, herbicides and native and invasive species all included in the information. ~Michelle and Joe Outreach Earlier in the month, the Trail Town Outreach Corps presented to Allegheny Trail Alliance about our projects over the last several months. We talked about all the events and beautification efforts in all of the towns as well as projects like the Trail Town Ice Cream and the Trail Counts on the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail. ~TTOC Trail Counters It’s Been a Good Year -The year is winding down, and so too have most trail-related activities. Trail counts are now finished for the year! Over the span of six months, TTOC spent a total of 78 hours collecting data. Throughout the trail season, we ran into some obstacles that inhibited us from having accurate data, moisture being the main culprit. However, Spiders and the occasional black bear weren’t able to deter us from working on this valuable project! It will interesting to see the results of the end of the year trail use report, considering that a lot of our trail counter data in very inaccurate. Hopefully we can figure out how to make the trail counters work better so that this is something that we are able to combat next year. ~Rachael Christie Bike Shop List -An ongoing project that I recently began working on is a bike shop directory. I have been collecting data into a spreadsheet, of bike shops in PA, as well as other surrounding states. The idea of this list is to contact all bike shops, regionally, to provide information about the GAP. Although most avid bikers in this region most likely know about the GAP, it is still important to advertise because it’s a great recreational resource! ~Rachael Christie Blogging -Another ongoing project that I recently began is the GAP SBN and Trail Town Program (TTP) blogs. I am happy to report that these blogs are up and running again, and will be released more frequently; GAP SBN once a month and TTP twice a month. ~Rachael Christie GAP SBN What do you get when you combine sustainability, small businesses, and the Great Allegheny Passage trail? The Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network, of course! What makes this network so special is that it focuses on sustainable solutions for small businesses. To celebrate a year of success with the GAP SBN, the Trail Town Outreach Corps (TTOC) held a networking event for members on November 7, at the Connellsville B&B. The event featured a presentation from Jim and Patty Bell, residential solar power consumers. Their presentation discussed solar energy, covering the mechanics behind solar photovoltaic, as well as providing examples of the benefits that solar panels provide. Many details about solar panels were covered, including purchasing costs, installation costs, electric bill costs vs. solar costs, grants, and tax incentive programs for solar power. In general, green energy can be both a controversial and unchartered realm for many residential and business owners, but the Bell’s presentation was accepted by all, opening up positive discussion for all attendees. The GAP SBN has had many successes in 2012, ranging from business reassessments to the construction of a sustainable supplier guide. Topping the season off with the networking event allowed member businesses to appreciate this year’s achievements while also providing an arena to discuss and swap sustainable practices between individual businesses. Here’s to 2012! -Rachael Christie 2012 has been wonderful and we are looking forward to a productive winter Rachael and I will be staying with the Trail Town Outreach Corps until April. Projects we will be working on include the Sustainable Trail Guide, the Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network blog, and the Rockwood bike loop. The year is winding down for the Trail Town Outreach Corps as the holidays become closer. ~Michelle Rapp