“Armstrong Trails will protect and convert railroad corridors into trails for public use, thereby providing opportunities for commuters and outdoor recreational activities. Our projects will maintain the integrity of these corridors for future transportation use while acting as an economic stimulus for the area communities.”
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In the beginning, there were trails… For centuries before Europeans came to the Allegheny Valley, native Americans used the rivers and streams, as well as footpaths beside them, for travel and transportation. Following the American Revolution, the Allegheny River Valley quickly became a primary supply route for Pittsburgh and points west.
Then there were rails. . . Native walking paths along the banks of the Allegheny River were eventually developed for use by the railroads to haul merchandise. The first railroad line along the banks of the Allegheny River was authorized in 1837 & eventually was named the Allegheny Valley Rail Road Co.(AVRR). The railroad began hauling iron ore, coal, lumber, and farm products, and providing passenger service in 1885. By 1870 AVRR was transporting petroleum from the Oil Creek region. The Pennsylvania Railroad purchased the bankrupt Allegheny Valley Railroad in the early 1900s.
The rail-trail idea began in the 1960s. . . Primarily in the Midwest, people began to advocate converting unused railroad lines to recreational trails. In 1983, Section 8(d) of the National Trail Systems Act was amended by Congress to allow unused rail corridors to be used for recreational trails and to be preserved for future railroad use under a provision called railbanking. This legislation was challenged, but on december 17, 1990, the Court upheld the railbanking legislation.
The Allegheny Valley Land Trust was founded in 1991 with the goal that it “will protect and convert railroad corridors into trails for public use, thereby providing opportunities for commuters and outdoor recreational activities. Our projects will maintain the integrity of these corridors for future transportation use while acting as an economic stimulus for the area communities.”
And the Armstrong Rails to Trails Association… Incorporated as a nonprofit membership organization on February 19, 1993 the ARTA’s goals were to promote the conversion, maintenance, and management of the right-of-way into the Armstrong Trail for recreational use. ARTA organized trail maintenance, rides, fundraisers, and clean ups.
In January of 2020, Allegheny Valley Land Trust (AVLT) and Armstrong Rails to Trails Association merged to form Armstrong Trails. The new organization changed the trail name from Armstrong Trail to Armstrong Trails.
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TRAIL WORK DAYS
. PURCHASE A MEMORIAL BENCH
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Friends of Armstrong Trails
2020 is a brand-new slate…the opportunity to write a new chapter in your book and ours. We have many things to look forward to, groundbreaking for Mahoning Bridge Project, ribbon cutting for Crooked Creek Bridge, ribbon cutting for Phase I Construction/Design for the Brady Tunnel, groundbreaking for Phase II Brady Tunnel, groundbreaking for Templeton/Rimer, ribbon cutting for Templeton/Rimer, a land acquisition, branding with a new name comes a new logo, new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/614886112364737/?ref=bookmarks , re-tooled website, www.armstrongtrails.org and new Friends. We want to celebrate the successes with all of you …BIG and small. Keep an eye on the website and Facebook page, we would want all to come and celebrate.
So, the question becomes…how can you help? A donation of your time (boots on the ground) and/or monetarily. Thirty-six miles is a long way to keep free of trash, mowed, pruned, painted and spritzed for trail users let alone all of the improvements on deck each year. Operating costs for Armstrong Trails comes from a campground that we own, the yearly fees keep the doors open. Any projects or needs above our budget has to be from other funding sources such as: Friends of group and fundraisers.
An example of funding for specific projects…grants are great but it is not all free money. Most grants require matching funds. Some grant matches are all cash, some are time and cash.
I will use an easy example: say we would like to rehabilitate a bridge, cost for the rehab is $100,000 (total grant request) of that $100,000, $50,000 needs to be match funds and in scenario 1- let’s say it is all cash…so we need to raise $50,000 either through a Friends of campaign or a fundraiser. In scenario 2-it is $25,000 cash and $25,000 worth of volunteer services, in-kind professional services and/or in-kind donations. Nonetheless, you at the very least still need $25,000 in cash. AND all of your cash needs to be secured…like the money is in the bank…secured.
A Friends of campaign is active right now, donations may be sent to Armstrong Trails, PO Box 777, Kittanning, PA 16201, you can download a Friends of form below. With your donation you will receive a discount on Armstrong Trails events, local businesses and a quarterly newsletter (via email).
Stay tuned, planning has started for the 2020 Annual Fundraiser…details still in progress. If you would like to volunteer, donate or have general questions, please contact me at 724-822-7176 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Throughout the year, work days are scheduled to improve designated portions of the trail. Work days are scheduled as needed.
Volunteers are always welcome. Please CLICK HERE and leave your name & email address to receive email notifications of work days or check the Armstrong Trails facebook page.
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Armstrong Trails currently has about 34 miles of Trail to maintain. To increase responsible use and enjoyment, we need people to pick up litter, remove debris, help be the eyes and ears of the trail and help us maintain the trail. Maintenance only needs to be done a few times each year, and it makes a great neighborhood or community project. Please consider adopting a section of Trail near your home or adopt a section that you enjoy!
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Honor a loved one with a memorial bench for a donation of $250. The bench will be placed along the trail where it will be seen and enjoyed by trail users for years to come.
Armstrong Trails will make every effort to place your memorial bench in the location of your choice. Currently we have several locations where benches are needed.
MEMORIAL PICNIC TABLES
Honor a loved one with a memorial picnic table for a donation of $2500.00. The covered picnic table will be placed along the trail where it will be seen and enjoyed by trail users for years to come.
The Armstrong Trails is a 501(c)(3) organizations so all donations are tax deductible and a receipt will be provided for any donation over $25.00.
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Monetary donations in any amount are always welcome and will be used to support the Armstrong Trails mission and Armstrong Trails. If you would like your donation to support a specific project please indicate this when making a donation. Donations can be sent to: Armstrong Trails, PO Box 777, Kittanning, PA 16201
HISTORICAL RESTORATION PROJECTS
Armstrong Trails is rich in Railroad history. Reminders of the railroad era which still exist along the trail include the Turntable at Phillipston, the Brady Tunnel, and the Coaling Tower at Red Bank. Projects are currently underway at the Turntable and Brady Tunnel to help preserve this area for everyone to enjoy. To donate to these projects and other historical projects indicate HISTORICAL RESTORATION PROJECTS.
PORT -A – POTTIES
Armstrong Trails currently provides port-a-potties at Lock & Dam 8, Rimer, and Phillipston, for use by trail users. To help support this project indicate port-a-potties on your donation.
EAGLE SCOUT PROJECTS
Armstrong Trails has been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with area Boy Scouts who are working toward becoming an Eagle Scout and many have completed projects along the trail. To help pay for materials necessary for these projects, please donate to EAGLE SCOUT PROJECTS.
BRIDGE REPAIR PROJECT
Armstrong Trails is currently working on projects which would make improvements on the bridges along Armstrong Trails. To help with this project donate to the BRIDGE REPAIR PROJECT.
TRAIL AMENITIES, BENCHES, PICNIC TABLES, PAVILIONS
To support the placement of mile markers, trail head kiosks, signs, benches, picnic tables, picnic pavilions and other amenities along the trail, please donate to TRAIL AMENITIES.
THANKS TO ALL OUR VOLUNTEERS!!
FRIENDS OF THE ARMSTRONG TRAIL
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