Emerging trail will link NYC, DC, Shanksville
By David Pierce
Pocono Record Writer
Posted Sep. 10, 2015 at 9:28 PM
Updated Sep 10, 2015 at 9:34 PM
Inauguration of the September 11th National Memorial Trail — a work in progress — was launched Thursday with a bicycle ride that will include a ceremony Sept. 19 in Delaware Water Gap.
The 1,300-mile commemorative trail links the three sites where nearly 3,000 people died in terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The trail network stretches from the National September 11 Memorial in New York, to the Pentagon Memorial near Washington, D.C., to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville.
The trail is envisioned as a multiuse corridor for hiking and bicycling, accompanied by a parallel back-road vehicle route.
Five bicyclists who launched the inaugural ride from western Pennsylvania were scheduled to stop Friday at the Flight 93 Memorial, where a hijacked airliner was deliberately crashed by terrorists as crew and passengers tried to storm the cockpit. Other riders will join the bicyclists throughout their journey, which includes stops in Harrisburg on Sept. 15 and in Wind Gap and Delaware Water Gap on Saturday, Sept. 19.
“The trail serves as a symbol of the resiliency and character of the communities in which the victims and their families lived and worked,” September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance President David Brickley said. “It also has been designed to link historic points of interest along the route where these fundamental traits of American character have shone throughout our history.”
The tour will make stops Sept. 18 in Slatington and Allentown.
On Sept. 19, bicyclists will stop at the Gap Theater, 47 South Broadway in Wind Gap, at 12:30 p.m. From there, they will continue on to the Fellowship House at the Presbyterian Church of the Mountain, Main Street, Delaware Water Gap.
From Wind Gap, bicyclists will travel along Cherry Valley Road before arriving at Church of the Mountain for speeches at 6 p.m.
“Anybody who wants to join a section and ride can certainly join a section,” said Susan Cooper of Delaware Water Gap, president of the Liberty-Water Gap Trail Extension.
Bicyclists will spend the night in Water Gap before riding Sunday morning on Route 611 south to Portland. They will have breakfast in Portland before crossing into Columbia, New Jersey, via the pedestrian bridge over the Delaware River. There they will connect with the 150-mile Liberty-Water Gap Trail across New Jersey to Liberty State Park.
Various trail sections in Pennsylvania and Maryland are being built locally using volunteers and a variety of local, state, federal and private funds. There is no definitive completion date for the entire trail, Cooper said.
“But now we believe it will snowball and continue to move ahead,” she said.
She noted the Liberty-Water Gap Trail Extension will connect to the Appalachian Trail and other local trails in Delaware Water Gap, as well as completing the September 11th National Memorial Trail.
“The interconnectivity of trails is what makes this so exciting,” Cooper said.
The Delaware Water Gap-Portland section is planned as an extension of the New Jersey trail, Cooper said. A study calls for building a dedicated pathway parallel to Route 611, connecting the two boroughs.
When the entire Sept. 11 bicycle and hiking trail is in place, motorists will be able to drive alongside.
“If you can’t hike, it’s OK,” Cooper said. “You can still make this journey of remembrance.”
source – http://www.poconorecord.com/article/20150910/NEWS/150919928