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Ohio River Trail Receives Second Award

December 8, 2011
Ohio Valley Outdoors

MONACA, PA - The National Park Service has approved the Ohio River Trail Council's application for a second year of technical assistance from the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

The National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (NPS RTCA) works with community groups, nonprofit organizations, tribes or tribal governments, and local, state, and federal government agencies to achieve locally-defined goals for natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation. RTCA projects include natural area preservation, rivers conservation and the development of recreational trails and greenways. RTCA carries out the natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation mission of the National Park Service. A network of planning professionals delivers the RTCA Program nationwide, helping communities to help themselves achieve on-the ground successes. The RTCA assist the local partners to make their rivers, trails, greenways and open spaces a vital, life-enhancing part of their communities levering its resources, and with well under one percent of the National Park Service budget. Each year, on average, the National Park Service and their partners across the country create over 1,400 miles of trails, conserve more than 63,700 acres of open space, and protect more than 700 miles of waterways.

In the first year of assistance, RTCA assisted the Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC) with the development of the Ohio River Water Trail and the Ohio River Land Trail Feasibility Studies. In addition, the RTCA helped coordinate the March 29, 2011 Tri-state Trail Alliance meeting of about 80 trail advocates, and the October 13, 2011 regional trails meeting hosted by the Power of 32, to support the vision of linking a system of trails in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In 2012, the NPS Rivers & Trails staff will focus on identifying an on-the-ground section of the Ohio River Land/Water Trail to develop, and continue the oversight for the Tri-State Trail Initiative, a multi-state effort which includes eighteen counties in three states. The Pennsylvania counties include Beaver, Crawford, Erie, Greene, Lawrence, Mercer and Washington.

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"The Ohio River Trail Council is an active group of people, diligently working on making trail connections and raising community awareness about trails and the variety of opportunities that they provide," said Peggy Pings, Outdoor Recreation Planner with NPS-Rivers & Trails Program.

"I am delighted that the ORTC - NPS relationship will continue for a second year. The collaboration is facilitating Ohio River Trail Council's vision for the Ohio River Trail partner communities and the tri-state region. I am looking forward to working with the NPS staff, especially Peggy Pings, to initiate on-the-ground multi-use trail development, improve river access for canoeing and kayaking and enhance public awareness stated Dr. Vincent Troia, Executive Chairman & CEO of the ORTC. "The Ohio River Trail Project will ultimately foster further recreation and cultural-based economic development through the expansion of the recreation and parks system in the Ohio River Valley.

The Ohio River Trail (ORT) is a project spearheaded by the Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC), a non-profit volunteer-led corporation that is dedicated to bring individuals, groups, councils, organizations, schools, conservancies, communities, companies, corporations, recreational users and all levels of government together to promote and protect a continuous corridor of natural and cultural resources along the Ohio River and its tributaries. The ORTC is serving as a unification tool by providing a resource and a forum for our local citizens, decision makers, and project managers to share knowledge in order to guarantee a bright future for our rivers, forests, and towns.

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Dr. Vincent Troia, Executive Chairman & CEO of the ORTC (left) with Ohioville Borough Mayor John Szatkiewicz during annual Ohioville Community Day, summer of 2011.

The Ohio River Trail Council is in support of a progressing state and national movement to develop greenways, especially since 1987 when President Reagan's Commission on "American Outdoors" recommended establishing a national greenways network. Greenways are often accomplished and managed through partnerships between municipalities, counties, and non-profit organizations. Pennsylvania's statewide greenways program was established by Governor Tom Ridge in 2001 to promote and support the greenway efforts occurring in all sixty-seven counties. "The vision is to create a network of trails throughout the Commonwealth, with a greenway in every community by 2020." The ORTC's goal is to honor our past and build our future by providing recreation opportunities, environmental stewardship, heritage development, safe transportation networks and economic stimulus to our community.

The Ohio River Trail Council is currently planning & developing a forty-one (41) mile multi-use land & water trail system along the Ohio River and its tributaries, known as the Ohio River Trail. The corridor runs from Coraopolis, PA to Ohioville, PA at the U.S. Public Land Survey "Point of Beginning", a National Historic Landmark located near the three-way intersection of Ohio, Pennsylvania and the northern tip of West Virginia. The Ohio River Trail is part of the "Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area", "Lewis & Clark Trail" and is being considered for part of the U.S Bicycle Route 50 and a portion of the Underground Railroad Trail, Pittsburgh spur. The Ohio River Trail will also follow sections of the "Great Path" and the "Lincoln Highway". Furthermore, the ORTC proposes the broad vision of a tri-state greenway system between Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The ORT will serve to complete a key segment in a nationally-significant trail. The proposed Ohio River Trail will unite the "Great Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway" in Columbiana County, Ohio to the "Great Allegheny Passage" in Allegheny, County Pennsylvania forming a mega-trail from the great lakes region to our nation's capitol.

For additional information regarding the NPS - RTCA Program and the mission of the ORTC please visit www.ohiorivertrail.org.

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The Ohio River Trail (ORT) is a project spearheaded by the Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC), a non-profit volunteer-led corporation that is dedicated to bring individuals, groups, councils, organizations, schools, conservancies, communities, companies, corporations, recreational users and all levels of government together to promote and protect a continuous corridor of natural and cultural resources along the Ohio River and its tributaries.

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