Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced the Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail has been named Pennsylvania’s 2023 Trail of the Year. “I am extremely excited to announce that the Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail has been selected as Pennsylvania’s top trail for 2023,” Dunn said. “Trails play an important role in supporting communities across the commonwealth by connecting people to nature, recreation opportunities, communities and the surrounding history, new businesses and so much more. Congratulations to the Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail Club for this honor and special thanks for the hard work to support and uplift this trail.”
The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee designates the Trail of the Year to help build enthusiasm and support for trails across the state, and to raise public awareness about the value of the Pennsylvania’s land and water trail network. Pennsylvania continues its tradition of being a leader in trail development by providing its citizens and visitors with more than 12,000 miles of trails.
In an effort to close the gaps in this network and bring trails to close everyone, DCNR has established a goal to have a trail within 10 minutes of all Pennsylvanians.
The Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail is a 7.8-mile-long section of the larger Knox and Kane Rail Trail in McKean County. The former rail line now provides a level trail for walking, jogging, biking, and horseback riding. In winter months, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are also popular. The Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail Club, the award recipient, works in partnership with the Knox and Kane Rail Trail and Kinzua Bridge State Park. The state park uses the Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail’s section of trail for nature walks and naturalist events throughout the year. The trail highlights the environmental and historical aspects of the area in a series of interpretive signs placed along the 7.8 miles. The trail offers amenities, such as pavilions, focused artwork, railroad trestles, and dining options within close proximity of the rail trail. The Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail is also important to the community, which has used the trail for events like senior citizen rides, special hikes, bike races, and marathons.
Carolyn Stroup, Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail Club President, says, “We are very grateful to receive this prestigious award. This is an honor and a tribute to how well our trail club members work as a team. We are excited and look forward to collaborating with DCNR and WeConservePA to provide education that will increase community involvement on the Knox and Kane Rail Trail, and promote trails in the Pennsylvania Wilds.”
The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee is charged with implementing the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Trails Strategic Plan to develop a statewide land and water trail network to facilitate recreation, transportation, and healthy lifestyles for all. The 20-member DCNR-appointed committee represents both motorized and non-motorized trail users and advises the commonwealth on use of state and federal trail funding.