Great time on the Pine Creek Rail Trail

To the editor:

We are writing this letter to tell readers about our recent trip to bike on the Pine Creek Rail Trail in northern Pennsylvania.

Since it is a “destination trail,” we traveled about seven hours from our home in Long Lake to get there. It is 60 miles long, and since we bike about 20 miles a day and did “out and back” trips from the trailheads, we were in the area for six days. The trail parallels Pine Creek and travels through state forests and private property following the route of the former Pine Creek railroad bed. Even though there were high mountains surrounding us, the trail itself has no more than a 2 percent grade at any point. The surface is fine stone dust, and even though there had been a hard rain, there was no mud. It was well maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, with blowdown promptly cut. Solar-powered, composting, handicapped-accessible, clean restrooms were provided along the trail as well as parking facilities, resting benches and bike stands. At road crossings there were gates and stop signs. There were also picnic tables and camping areas. Along part of the trail there was a parallel bridle path.

These are some of the things we saw along the trail: lots of bikers of all ages and riding all types of bicycles, walkers, runners, joggers, parents pushing strollers, handicapped people in motorized wheelchairs, canoeists, kayakers, fishermen, horseback riders, horse-drawn cart tours, lots of birds, wildlife and wildflowers. Highlights were some large turtles laying eggs in the sand next to the trail and a large timber rattler sunning on the stone dust. There were signs along the trail to keep 3 feet away from the snakes and stating that they would not be aggressive if left alone. Needless to say, we went by fast! We also met a retired English teacher who had become a Pine Creek Trail advocate. He took our picture and said he was, with our permission, going to post it on Facebook as octogenarians riding the trail on a tandem recumbent trike. He told us that there were people in the area who were against establishing the trail until they saw the economic boost that it brought.

Our hope is that this kind of trail might become a reality in the Adirondacks. Maybe not in our lifetime, but sometime!

John and Jackie Mallery

Long Lake