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2 trails planned to converge in Mifflin County, Lewistown

The trails, the Main Line Canal Greenway and Sept. 11 Memorial trail are both proposed trails that could find their way into Mifflin County, converging in Lewistown.

Robert Thomas, AIA and partner at Campbell Thomas & Company, gave two presentations Thursday afternoon. They were at the Mifflin County Planning Commission meeting and the second was a workshop meeting for stakeholders who could be interested in the completion of the trails.

“We are here to let you know what we are thinking, and to get your input on places we may have missed in our planning process,” he said.

The first trail he spoke about was the Main Line Canal Greenway trail. This trail would follow the path of the old canal which went through Huntingdon and Mifflin counties. In fact, the canal actually extends from Pittsburgh all the way to Harrisburg.

Thomas said the canal operated fully until about 1857.

“That is when the Pennsylvania Railroad built the Horseshoe Curve,” he explained. “This made moving goods through the mountains of Pennsylvania easier and faster.”He did say that portions of the canal operated after the opening of the Curve.

The idea behind the trail completion is to bring people back to the area and to connect areas in different ways, using both existing trails and roads.

He said the 10-year-plan is coming to a head and making progress.

Now, Thomas is also helping with the Sept. 11 Memorial Trail, which would connect three Sept. 11 memorials. The memorials include the National September 11 Memorial, Flight 93 Memorial and the Pentagon Memorial.

The idea would have it travel through many towns between all of the sights.

In Lewistown, these trails would become one trail, however, there are some differences. The Main Line Canal Greenway Trail would be a walking and bicycling trail, staying close to the Juniata River. The Sept. 11 Memorial Trail would be a trail that not only encompasses walking and bicycling, but also driving and public transportation.

“Basically we want this trail to be accessible to everyone who wants to have access to it,” Thomas explained.

He said there are some areas that have other types of recreational trail uses, like horseback riding, that are also interesting.

During the stakeholders meeting those in attendance were able to look at a map of Mifflin County and give their thoughts on where the trails should go.

“We want to hear from you,” Thomas said. “We know there are some areas where landowners have already said no to trails in the past.”

Thomas was pleased with some of the ideas given during the stakeholders meeting.

He said the next step is to continue going through the areas and identifying possible trail locations. Afterward, several meetings will be held to present various options to the public for input.

“Then we will decide on a final trail plan,” he said.

Residents can find more information on the Sept. 11 National Memorial Trail at www.911trail.org.

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