Heritage Rail Trail In York County Is PA’s 2015 Trail Of The Year

Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday announced the Heritage Rail Trail in York County is the 2015 Trail of the Year in Pennsylvania.

“I’m excited that a trail in York County has received this special designation,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “It highlights how trails provide our citizens with nearby opportunities for affordable outdoor exercise, and play an important role in the economic vitality of nearby communities attracting visitors who stay, eat and shop.”

This designation is coordinated by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee to elevate public awareness of the thousands of miles of trails available for public enjoyment in Pennsylvania.

“Twenty-one fantastic trails were nominated during the second year for this designation,” DCNR Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.  “The Heritage Rail Trail stood out because of its importance to the health and fitness of residents in nearby communities; it’s connection to the history of the surrounding area; and as a rare example in Pennsylvania of a rail trail with nearby active rails.”

The 21.5-mile Heritage Rail Trail runs from the City of York to the Maryland border and includes seven railroad structures on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as an operating tourism train along 10-miles of track.  The trail has been the catalyst for the formation of local history organizations and community festivals along its length.

The Heritage Rail Trail connects to Maryland’s Torrey C. Brown Trail to create more than 43-miles of rail trail. Trail visitation in 2013 exceeded 311,000.

The trail corridor is maintained as a county park by the York County Department of Parks and Recreation.

Carl Knoch, chairman of the York County Rail Trail Authority, developer of the Heritage Rail Trail said, “The Heritage Rail Trail County Park has become one of the County’s most cherished assets. It provides a safe venue for thousands or residents and visitors to get out of doors and participate in healthy exercise.  It has proven to be an economic engine that has spawned new business formations and business revitalization from New Freedom, through Glen Rock to Seven Valleys and the City of York.”

Tammy Klunk, director of York County Department of Parks and Recreation and manager of the Heritage Rail Trail said, “It’s truly an honor for the Heritage Rail Trail to be awarded DCNR’s Trail of the Year.  We have amazing trails all across Pennsylvania, and to be recognized this year as the best is a great honor.”

To honor the Trail of the Year, the advisory committee and DCNR will create a commemorative poster for statewide distribution. Plans also are underway for a grand opening for a second phase of the trail’s northern extension with an educational event on Earth Day, April 22.

The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee includes different types of trail users, builders and advocates, and people with disabilities.

The committee’s responsibilities are to advise DCNR on the use of trail funding in Pennsylvania; review and rank trail project applications; and present an annual report to the secretary on trail activities.

For more information about the Heritage Rail Trail visit York County Parks or the county or the York County Rail Trail Authority websites.

For more information about the designation visit the Explore PA Trails website and choose the 2015 Trail of the Year slide. Featured on the site are 497 trails covering more than 11,000 miles in Pennsylvania.


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