Trail Town October Updates

West Newton Walking Tour The West Newton walking tour is nearly finished. This month a new map was created for the brochure. This new map design will make the tour route clearer and more user friendly. Once a final round of edits is completed, the brochure will be ready for printing. Reassessment The Trail Town Program reassessment of West Newton took place on October 4. A reassessment is a chance for people to walk around and envision the town through the eyes of a cyclist coming off the trail. Participation in this event included stakeholders from all sectors of West Newton including the borough, small businesses, the local trail group, etc…. These assessments are an interactive way to determine what projects have been successful, and where the Trail Town Outreach Corps should be focusing our efforts in the future. As in all of the trail towns, signage was found to be one future project in West Newton. Garden Planting On October 2 the Trail Town Outreach Corps planted a native wildflower garden along the Great Allegheny Passage by the West Newton visitors center. This area tends to have water buildup following any rain, so we planted flowers that should help to mitigate this issue. Tilling the area for this garden would have been difficult, because there is old railroad ballast just below the grass surface. Instead, we used a no-till method of placing newspaper down to kill the grass and prevent weed growth. We covered the newspaper with layers of soil, and once we put the plants in, put some mulch on top. I am looking forward to the flowers blooming in the spring. ~Cara Madden Connellsville Connellsville recently had it’s second town assessment. Community stakeholders got together to assess the town and trail from a trail user perspective. The group came up with many recommendations including better directional signage to amenities in town and filling vacant buildings where the trail comes into town. ~Joe Crumbley In October, I participated in “Connecting Connellsville”, a workshop dedicated to creating an economic development plan for the town. During the workshop, we discussed ways to revitalize the downtown and rebuild the community. Groups were given large printed maps of Connellsville and asked to highlight parks, businesses, tourist hotspots, and potential areas that could be incorporated into new economic development. The Great Allegheny Passage, the new train display and coffee shop, Yough River Park and the Amtrak station were all talked about as good ways to encourage people to come into town where they could enjoy Connellsville’s historic downtown and small businesses. The Appalachian Regional Commission provided technical assistance and encouraged community members to create actions plans. These are steps that could be taken right away to improve businesses, neighborhoods, and tourism. ~Michelle Rapp Ohiopyle Bioswale program This month we successfully registered a number of Ohiopyle businesses for the Adopt-A-Bioswale program. Currently, 13 out of 28 bioswales have been adopted by businesses. The sign holders were made, and now we’re starting to finally see some headway. We had a Bioswlae clean-up day and hope to see further progress before we hand this project over to the Parks Department. Once the signs have been installed in the bioswales it will be fun to see the physical progress of this ongoing project. October trail cleanup On Saturday, October 6, Joe and I participated in the monthly Friends of Ohiopyle Trail Cleanup. We hiked the 3-mile Meadow Run loop trail in Ohiopyle with some volunteers and a DCNR naturalist. During the event we clipped some overhanging branches, and removed any logs which had fallen onto the path. ~Cara Madden and Joe Crumbley Confluence PumpkinFest was a lot of fun! It was the first weekend of October. At PumpkinFest, I helped people sign up for the Ducky Race - it’s an annual race using rubber ducks down the Casselman River. They scoop them up as the ducks pass one of the bridges. There are four winners: first, second, third and last! I also helped with Light up Night. All day at the Confluence Creative Arts Center, families had been carving pumpkins. As darkness started to fall, we arranged the pumpkins and placed candles in all of the Jack O’Lanterns. The lit up pumpkins looked really awesome in front of the Creative Arts Center – a converted church that serves as a community center. On October 17th, Confluence had its Trail Town community re-assessment. Community members and the Trail Town Outreach Corps walked around Confluence to see how the town functioned for both visitors and locals. The assessment covered things like accessibility, signage and services. Since the Confluence is one of the trail towns along the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail, it was important to check on directional signage as well as ease of biking around town. Confluence rates high on the attractive town square and overall welcoming feeling. Everyone agreed that the signage had been improved recently with the new Great Allegheny Passage signposts and kiosks places along the trail. The assessments in each of the trail towns will help determine the work for next year’s Trail Town Outreach Corps. Each of the trail towns have made significant improvements in the last few years and the new re-assessments can help the towns decide in what other ways they could increase sustainable economic development. ~Michelle Rapp Rockwood - TTOC planted 2 new flower beds in Rockwood! We worked hard and within one work day, managed to plant a few dozen of tulip bulbs, along with New York aster and daisies. The one flower bed is behind the monument/mural in town and the other is around the gazebo. The gazebo already had a few shrubs planted, along with lava rock, so we removed the lava rock, added some soil, plants, and mulch; voila! - A bike loop is underway for Rockwood! The bike loop was recently proposed to Rockwood’s Borough Council and was approved. Work is now being done on signage design and ironing out other important specifics. Connellsville is the only other trail town to have a bike loop, so this is big news for TTOC! ~Rachael Christie Meyersdale - TTOC had a trash cleanup mid-October on both the north and south trailhead in Meyersdale. We started at the train station and worked our way, one mile each way along the GAP trail. There was not an excessive amount of garbage, but we still managed to pick up some litter along the trailside. - Plans and a final planting date have been set for the trailhead improvement at the south entrance of the GAP trail. TTOC, along with partners and volunteers will be helping plant maple trees the weekend of November 17-18. This project has been a long time coming, and we are finally meeting our goal of planting the trees before winter is in full throttle! ~Rachael Christie