Lock Haven, PA — Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined local and state officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of Falcon Bridge on the Bald Eagle Valley Trail in Clinton County.
“Today’s announcement helps close a critical trail gap and expand recreation opportunities for a region rich with beautiful natural landscapes,” Dunn said. “We at DCNR are pleased to support Clinton County’s ambitious efforts to increase access to trails and create greenways for fun, safe travel in such beautiful natural spaces.”
The new bridge will help connect two sections of the Bald Eagle Valley Trail that had been divided by the Susquehanna River. DCNR awarded $334,700 in funding for development of the Falcon Bridge and other rehabilitation work related to the bridge on the west branch of the Susquehanna River. The project includes improvements to make the rail trail ADA accessible.
“Getting the 11.5-mile trail across the West Branch of the Susquehanna was the greatest hurdle toward making the connection between Lock Haven and the Borough of Jersey Shore, where our trail will connect with the 62-mile Pine Creek Rail Trail,” said Clinton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Miles Kessinger. “We commissioners recognized early on that a county without a major bike-ped facility is losing a huge opportunity to attract visitors and improve the quality of life for its residents. We’ve worked hard on this for a long time, but it never could have happened without federal and state funding support and technical assistance, and tremendous local support.”
DCNR is also supporting development of a 3.3-mile addition to the trail that will connect it to Lycoming Creek as a part of the Clinton County Greenways and Open Space Plan. Under the administration of Governor Tom Wolf, DCNR has awarded more than $343 million in grants to 1,965 projects across the commonwealth.
DCNR provides grants to myriad projects across the commonwealth annually, including a $70 million investment during the 2021-22 fiscal year. Its Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants can fund:
- Planning, acquisition, and development of public parks and recreation areas
- Motorized and non-motorized trails
- River conservation and access
- Heritage areas and facilities
- Conservation of critical habitat, natural areas and open space
Eligible applicants for these grants include counties, municipalities, municipal agencies, nonprofit organizations, state heritage areas, prequalified land trusts, and for-profit enterprises (for some grant types).
Grant funding for the program comes from a variety of state funding sources including Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, Environmental Stewardship Fund, ATV and Snowmobile Management Restricted Accounts, Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program and federal sources including the Recreational Trails Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. DCNR selects the most appropriate funding source based on the applicant and proposed project.
The Bald Eagle Valley Trail sits within the Pennsylvania Wilds, which includes 2.1 million acres of public lands, 29 state parks, eight state forests and the Allegheny National Forest.