October 11, 2014 12:00 AM
By Larry Walsh/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. — The destinations for the September 11th National Memorial Trail are well-known, but the proposed routes to connect each one are a work in progress.
A group of trail supporters that attended an evening workshop Oct. 21 in the YMCA in this Blair County community focused on potential routes from the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County to the September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
Should it go by way of Johnstown and Hollidaysburg and utilize all or part of existing and perhaps new trails as it heads toward Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton and into New Jersey and New York?
Or should it head due east, pick up a segment of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail that leads to Harrisburg and then use the Conewago Recreation Trail and the Schuylkill River Trail en route to New Jersey and New York?
Or should it go farther east to Gettysburg and then head north on BicyclePA Route J for a road ride into Harrisburg and then use the Conewago and Schuylkill trails into New Jersey and New York?
A color map of Pennsylvania and its neighboring states showed a proposed route from the Flight 93 site in Shanksville directly to Harrisburg. Some of the 27 workshop participants wondered if that’s the route that has been selected.
Not so, said David Brickley, president and chief executive officer of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance.
He said the map was only for discussion purposes.
Also discussed was a proposed 25-mile trail from Shanksville to Rockwood in Somerset County. It would give the September 11th National Memorial Trail a direct link to the Great Allegheny Passage, the C&O Canal Tow Path in Cumberland, Md., and the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va.
Because trails have proven to be sustained economic engines for the communities through which they pass, Brickley expects intensive lobbying by residents, business leaders and politicians whose districts include segments of the proposed trail between Shanksville and New York.
Their verbal arm-twisting will “be appreciated and admired,” he said.