French Creek Recreational Trails is giving the public a chance to provide personal care on the five-mile pathway in Crawford County known as Ernst Trail.
Directors of the Ernst Trail have developed the Adopt-The-Trail program, which gives individuals, businesses and organizations the opportunity to perform light duty maintenance tasks on designated portions of the Ernst Trail.
The program defines volunteer tasks, responsibilities and safety guidelines. Under the Adopt-The-Trail program, volunteers will pick up litter, prune overgrown brush and tree branches and trim back weeds to help keep the trail in top condition for recreational use by local people and to those visiting the northwest Pennsylvania region.
Those interested have the opportunity to adopt a half-mile segment of the Ernst Trail for a period of two years. Upon volunteers’ adoption, French Creek Recreational Trails will provide signage indicating the group or individuals adopting the designated portion.
Recently, Greener Pastures Veterinary Service of Saegertown volunteered to maintain the pet stations at the Bean, Mercer Pike and Krider Road Trailheads.
Several community volunteers groom the covered bridge landscaping, install the bridge memorial plaques, maintain the Stein Memorial Gazebo, cut down trees, mow the five miles of trail and remove snow as needed.
Soon, the 1.9 mile extension to Bailey Road will be complete and the board of directors looks for more volunteers to help maintain the region’s recreational asset.
Ernst Trail, which is open dawn to dusk, passes through the lush bottom lands of French Creek Valley. From the creek to the end of the trail’s completed portion, the landscape includes varied environments of meadow and marsh, hardwood stands and hemlock thickets. The proposed segment from Route 19 to Conneaut Lake parallels Conneaut Marsh, an ancient river valley infield with glacial debris, and home to nesting bald eagles and migrating waterfowl. The paved trail is located from the Park Avenue Plaza in Meadville to Route 19.
n More information or to adopt a section of the trail: Visit ernsttrail.org, email the French Creek Recreational Trails directors at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (814) 853-8572.
Did you know?
The Meadville-Linesville Railroad was built from 1880 to 1892 by a group of Meadville entrepreneurs to gain access to the Pennsylvania Railroad at Linesville. Despite the involvement of some of Meadville’s best-known citizens, the railroad did not flourish. In 1891, the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad Co. leased the right-of-way and for a time it’s most profitable use was as a passenger line, transporting visitors to Exposition Park (renamed Conneaut Lake Park in 1920). With the rise of the automobile, passenger service declined, and in 1934, rail service to the park was discontinued. This led to the Bessemer abandoning the line in 1976. In 1996, Calvin Ernst, the right-of-way’s owner, donated the property to French Creek Recreational Trails. Thus, the Ernst Bike Trail was born.