Work to convert the long abandoned Northern Electric Trolley corridor in northeast Pennsylvania into a recreational trail is receiving a boost. The Conservation Fund and Countryside Conservancy announced the protection of an 18-acre property in Dalton that is one of the final remaining sections needed to connect and close the gap between Dalton and La Plume.
The land was recently donated to the Conservancy thanks to funding from Williams. The property will be used to expand the existing Trolley Trail, a potential 14-mile path for non-motorized recreation along the Northern Electric Trolley corridor. Officially opened in 2014, the Trolley Trail aims to eventually connect the borough of Clarks Summit to Lake Winola, near Scranton, Pennsylvania. Countryside Conservancy notes the freshly conserved 18 acres brings the project within one landowner of linking together approximately 8 miles of the Trolley Trail.
“Countryside Conservancy is thrilled to be the recipient of this generous donation from The Conservation Fund, made possible by Williams,” said Bill Kern, the Conservancy’s executive director. “The potential economic and public health benefits for expanding the Trolley Trail will positively impact the local towns and residents for decades to come, and this property will hopefully play a pivotal role in that expansion.”
A popular option for hiking, biking, walking and running, the Trolley Trail is a demonstration of how Countryside Conservancy is protecting and connecting greenspace in and near the Tunkhannock Creek watershed. One segment of the trail already open connects Clarks Summit to Dalton and allows users access to the Ackerly Little League Fields; another segment from La Plume to Factoryville winds through the Keystone College campus. Now that this 18-acre property has been secured, Countryside Conservancy has a tremendous opportunity to secure the remaining adjacent parcel necessary to move forward with planning and construction.
The 18-acre property was donated and conserved with funding from Williams. The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating land and water protection strategies that balance environmental stewardship with economic vitality, facilitated the purchase of the property and is working collectively with Williams along with private and public partners to achieve solutions with the highest conservation value in the Scranton area.
“This project brings communities together through a trail system, creating new opportunities for people to get out and enjoy the outdoors right in their own backyards,” said Kyle Shenk, the Fund’s northeast regional director and Pennsylvania state director. “We are thrilled to facilitate the purchase of this property for the Conservancy that will play a pivotal role in the completion of the Trolley Trail. Support from companies such as Williams is incredibly important to protecting priority natural lands and enhancing recreation opportunities here in Pennsylvania and throughout the country.”
“As responsible stewards in the communities where we live and work, Williams is committed to positively affecting the lives of those who live near our operations. Partnering with The Conservation Fund to complete the Trolley Trails project is a meaningful way to provide recreational opportunities, while also preserving resources for future generations,” said Mike Atchie, director of community and project outreach at Williams.
Repurposing the abandoned Northern Electric Trolley corridor into a public trail is an ongoing project for Countryside Conservancy. According to the Conservancy, the Northern Electric Street Railway operated an interurban trolley line between Scranton, Lake Winola and Montrose from 1908 to 1932. The Countryside Conservancy is working to turn the right-of-way into a recreational trail that connect Clarks Summit, Glenburn, Dalton, La Plume, Factoryville and, eventually, Lake Winola.
Learn more about the trail at countrysideconservancy.org/trolley-trail.