Groundbreaking ceremony launches Foxburg to Emlenton trail

(From left) Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Executive Director John Straitiff; Clarion County Commissioner Ed Heasley; Melanie Bailey, representing the Venango County commissioners; a legislative aide (name not provided); state Rep. Donna Oberlander and state Sen. Scott Hutchinson were part of the groundbreaking ceremony held April 24 in Foxburg, opening the Allegheny River Trail in Clarion County’s Foxburg to Emlenton hiking and biking trail.

FOXBURG - It still needs some work volunteers and monetary donations are welcome but the Foxburg-Emlenton bicycle and walking trail hosted a ground-breaking ceremony April 24 in Foxburg.

Robert L. Jennings Jr., spoke on behalf of the Allegheny River Trail in Clarion County (ARTinCC) board of directors under sunny skies in downtown Foxburg.

About 50 people attended the groundbreaking and informational informal meeting.

Jennings said the groundbreaking marked the realization of a plan started about 15 to 18 years ago.

According to its website, ARTinCC was "created to acquire land rights then design, develop, promote and manage the non-motorized bike trail along the Allegheny River first from Emlenton to Foxburg, and then eventually from the Parker Bridge south to the Armstrong Trail near Upper Hillville, all within Clarion County."

The ARTinCC website states losing these gaps will result in a continuous trail along the entirety of the Allegheny River in Clarion County.

ARTinCC's mission includes developing any necessary or beneficial connections to neighboring trails, and other recreational activities such as hiking, camping, boating, fishing, etc.

"Our mission includes traditional activities related to such nonprofit trails, such as fundraising, posting educational, historical, natural history and science displays, and engaging in efforts to expand public understanding and use of recreational opportunities presented by the trail," reads information on the website.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held where a small park is planned.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Department of Community and Economic Development have awarded several grants to the project which will enable repair of the Richey Run Bridge connecting Emlenton and the purchase of two acres along the river on the north edge of Foxburg.

The land will be the trailhead traveling northward with abundant parking, and the remainder of the land will support a small public park, including such things as a boat launch, fishing, possibly a gazebo, and other ideas.

The park should become a launching point for bikers, hikers, runners, kayakers, canoers, cross country skiers, and other recreational activities.

Local elected leaders were able to attend the groundbreaking, including state Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-63), state Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-21), and Clarion County Commissioner Ed Heasley (D).

Others invited but were unable to attend, including elected officials from Venango County.

More information about the trail, the history of obtaining the lane and right or ways, and how you can help can be found on the organization's website at: http://www.artincc.org or its Facebook page.

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